It actually started in the street. Beside sculpting a little with a pocket knife when I was a kid, I started by drawing graffiti in the street as a teenager during the end of the 80’s and beginning of the 90’s. I started sculpting after living in Greece for two years. I learned the technic of molding back in Paris, intially to reproduce my sculptures, then as a sculture itself from person’s hands reproductions. I added painting to my artistic expression while living in Boston, USA, for almost 3 years in 2003. Back in Paris again, I started combining these media and finally initiated myself to photography, both as an art by itself, and to capture my other creations to display on my website. And everything I do is self taught. In 2007, I went back to the streets of Paris where it all started. But I wanted to express myself in the city by a unique and personal means with multiple meanings, the tongue out having several by itself. Hence, a combination of my artistic skills, resulting in a mold of my face tongue out and painted based on the mood of the day, to take residence in a street of Paris.
I also invest a lot in sharing my concept and art with other artists through the internet, so through the world.
Give us an insight into the themes and influences in your sculpture.
My sculptures were at first influenced by Greek sculptures where I lived for a while. Thus, nudity is a recurrent theme that I particularly enjoy. I also got a lot of inspiration from medieval fantasy themes and Celtic design and culture. As with other media, I always try to imbue a felling to each of my sculptures. 10 years later the everyday life influences my themes : Love one day or society another, pain, anger, engagements, politics, all the moments that leave a strong emotional imprint on me.
What is the significance of the interlocking hand molds?
I’ve done many hand molds of people of all ages, and when doing a couple they naturally tend to hold each others hand. The details are so great that sometime the emotion of the moment is visible in the embrace.
Where did the faces on the walls of Paris concept come from ?
As I mentioned earlier, it is my new form of street art that evolved from drawing graffiti. The first one I put up was my artistic message to the noisy Music School across my apartment in Pigalle District in Paris. Over the past 3 years, I developed the message and started painting the faces scattering them all around Paris.
Is each mask you put up unique?
Each of the faces I’ve put up on the walls of Paris are unique creations. I do however sell a few copies from my website, to support my concept.
You have your tongue out – what does the mold taste like and is it hard to get off your tongue?
It doesn’t taste bad, but I wouldn’t say the same of the street of Paris. Actually what I use to make the mold is similar to what dentist uses in the mouth to take imprints of the teeth. So the tongue came out easy, but the eyelids was a funny story !
What has been the response both locally and internationally?
I’ve put a lot of effort in communicating through the web, and to my delight, I’ve received great critics and a lot of individual supports both in France and internationally. It is amazing to see people interacting with the faces on the walls (see pictures on my website). So many pictures are taken and circulated, there are now even blogs about and short TV appearances of my faces in Paris.
How do you pick your sites for the masks?
I pick up locations that are visible and frequently visited. “To be known, you have to be seen”. It also somewhat insures that the faces won’t be stolen.
Where does the inspiration for the painting come from?
The paintings on the faces either carries a message or reflects my mood of the moment. Recently it has came from collaborations with other artists as well.
What is the situation with the police and the authorities?
Nothing to report yet, but I never put my faces directly on monuments or in a matter that would
degraded the place. I have seen walls where my faces were, that were entirely repainted and the faces were preserved with their unique colors. So I don’t think it is an annoyance to the Parisians.
Can you tell us a bit about the wider Paris street art scene.
In my case, it is a solitary work when wandering the streets of Paris at night. I am a little shy and I feel more comfortable sharing over the web, but I am working on it. Street art in Paris is very present though, even where you’re not supposed to see it, it takes many forms and I often share a piece of wall with another artist.
Where do you see the project going from here ?
I hope this project will travel all the way to the other side of the world. In fact it already has through tourists’ pictures, and I have some of my faces in the USA and New Zealand. In the future, I want to diversify the molds I put in the streets and I want to mix it with my other art skills to integrate canvas and pictures in addition to paint. I want to launch a new street art style, the 3D street art painting.
Anything you want to say to our readers ?
ART CAN’T BE STOPPED ! SO KEEP ON CREATING ! See you at the next corner…