A French graffiti writer since the 90s, a skillful assistant to many of the big street art names on enormous walls since the 00s and 10s, a student and teacher of both genres, Gris Fluo is slowly coming into the light with his voice and thoughtful technique.
He confidently summons a lively scene on his new wall in Square Henri-Karcher for Art Azoi that flows across this pungent bright red sea on an otherwise dull gris day. The brushwork a bit brutish but intentional, the hand tender, the hues cultivated and cleverly combined, glowing. His skeleton characters are wicked, elongated, in motion, and mirthful – perhaps with more adventures in mind.
Art by Gris Fluo Powered by Art Azoï Curated by Elise Herszkowicz et Cristobal Diaz
French visual artist Jeanne Varaldi is more urbanist than artist perhaps, but her new collaborative work with Paris streets and the L’association Art Azoï skillfully incorporates both interests. She says her abstract mural is composed of urban signatures and elements that are inspired directly by the urban surroundings. Literally she is referring to the incorporated map of the area and nearby crosswalk in her new composition.
“These urban elements seem to fragment and decompose and invite us to look at the city as a constantly changing playground,” she tells us on a chilly spring day. “Yellow and orange markings that are inspired by those on construction sites also appear here.”
A crisp new wave ode to 1980s graphic design and dusty pastel templates, Varaldi’s affinity for retro is spiced by the freehand elements of graffiti that keep the work lively. “The mural uses urban markers to invite everyone to better see and appropriate them.”
Speaking in his abstractly modern visual language, artist Clément Laurentin creates this curvilinear winter ode to our permanent state of precariousness. In cooperation with Art Azoï, an important street art association in Paris which manages a number of walls in the city and pairs them with artists, Laurentin tells us that he chose the palette in December to complement the natural elements here on the terrace of “Les Plateaux Sauvages”, a theatrical and artistic center.
The blues hues of hard cold times can still be rewarding despite their nature, and Laurentin says he keeps his mind and spirit in balance when creating – even if a piece like this one alludes to the “fragile mental architecture” we build our lives upon. A gifted painter, he’s equally gifted describing his process and intention.
“I never sketch a wall before starting it,” he says, “I improvise the drawing directly on the wall on the first day. I like the idea that you can’t remove any piece of the composition without making the whole composition collapse. Every part has to be in the right place so that the whole thing can stand.” “In every artwork, I like to bring an oniric /surrealistic atmosphere to the piece; in such a tough and materialistic world, I want my work to be some kind of an inner life window,” he says, “a place where you can escape the time you’re looking at it.”
Photographer: @godownramsey Location: @lesplateauxsauvages Street art association: @art_azoi Artist: @clementlaurentin Artistic crew: @9emeconcept.
The Paris-based graffiti writer and aerosol transformer has been active around the world since the 1980s and has been anamorphosing letters and his home city once again with a scene of industrial destruction/deconstruction caught mid-collapse.
Fresh from his successful exhibition with Aloha, Neok, and Raeone at Garlerie 59 Rivoli, Manyak here takes his brilliant mind outside again to paint with L’association Art Azoï.
It can be a serious challenge to coax some margins of the city alive, but Manyak has the experience and unique ability to create a vibrantly dimensional fantasy scene – even with a pile of broken concrete in a bombed out lot. Here the challenge is to transform this long expanse in Paris – and the length of the piece is difficult to capture well in its totality, so we bring you these details of his new work, courtesy of photographer Michele Garnier.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening: 1. Good Guy Boris – Remote Sensing 2. ZEKY via Art Azoï. Video by Justine Bigot 3. DETOKS & GENOM, “Not Bigger, Not Better, But…More!” Via Montana Colors TV 4. HONET via Art Azoï. Video by Justine Bigot
BSA Special Feature: Good Guy Boris – Remote Sensing
The misadventures continue on the 1 Line in Athens.
“Athens now has that feeling of being wild and unpredictable – a little exciting or dangerous in some parts.”
And the voice…. it sounds so familiar.
ZEKY via Art Azoï. Video by Justine Bigot
DETOKS & GENOM, “Not Bigger, Not Better, But…More!” Via Montana Colors TV
Silvers! Rollers! Color Pieces! Oh my! Barcelona’s Detoks and Genom are on the loose around big highway spots and metro stops. They say they are not bragging, but they get around.
“The revolution will be the flowering of humanity as love is the flowering of the heart” Louise Michel, revolutionary, activist, and significant figure of the Paris Commune.
Montmartre, Belleville, and all those poor neighborhoods in the 11th, 18th, 19th and 20th arrondissements all shake with the memory of the Paris Commune as we mark the 150th anniversary this spring of the short-lived self-governance ended by a “Bloody Week.”
To mark those events and the thousands killed when the rich fled, we share with you new public works from artists of the TWE Crew in collaboration with the Black Lines movement – and in association with Art Azoi in the heart of the 20th arrondissement of Paris. A combination of street art, graffiti, mural art, and illustration influences all join forces in black and the bloody red that stood as their flag. Figures depicted may be contemporary or of the period, but their universal plight appears devastatingly on-point.
“Working men’s Paris, with its Commune, will be forever celebrated as the glorious harbinger of a new society. Its martyrs are enshrined in the great heart of the working class,” said Karl Marx. Professor John Merriman speaks in his book “Massacre” of that eclectic revolutionary government that held power in Paris across eight weeks between 18 March and 28 May 1871 and says that the crushing of the poor who were unable to escape the city sadly anticipated the horror shows that would follow in the 20th Century.
In other words, they were killed because they were too poor to get out.
Conversely, in many ways, the Commune created a template as well for social and political justice movements that would come – proposing in their city council such things as economic laws, workers rights, separation of church and state, abolishing the death penalty and mandatory conscription, and labor’s self-management. From these brutal times and events, you may wish to salvage many of those radical ideas – the only spoils of victory, if you will.
But even today, a century and a half later, conversations about how to remember the Commune are divisive.
“It was a populist movement. And in the current state of France and the world – when in Paris we have the yellow vests and in Washington they’re storming the Capitol – I do not think we should be celebrating people who burned down our city hall.”
Participating artists are @lasktwecrew, @kwim__t.w.e, @kracotwecrew and @al_zoyer of the @blacklinescommunity
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening: 1. Sofles / Kawaii. The artist paints a piece for his daughter Violet. 2. ACBR and ZONE take Rick and Morty Underground 3. Honet x Art Azoi in Paris
BSA Special Feature: Sofles / Kawaii. The artist paints a piece for his daughter Violet.
Remember when Nirvana did that concert without electric guitars? You can call this one “Sofles Unplugged.” He has no soundtrack revving up your adrenaline or accentuating his skills. He’s just pure skillz.
Sofles / Kawaii. The artist paints a piece for his daughter Violet.
ACBR and ZONE take Rick and Morty Underground.
Ahhh, here we go! Vandals, surreptitious underground graffiti pieces, knives, mad scientists, syncopated dance numbers, and a ripping soundtrack. Back to what we all expected from our graff videos.
Honet x Art Azoi in Paris
A creation by HONET on the wall of the Pavillon Carré de Baudouin (Paris 20th district).
Barcelona-based KENOR has traveled around the world and worked with brands creating his own take on kinetic graffiti, whether on walls, on canvas, or as sculpture. Blowing air into his pieces of colorful geometric confetti, the painter catches the chaos of the city and paints it.
It’s a mismatched style that recalls the Memphis movement of the 80s, complete with a poppy palette and occasional patterning. Here with Art Azoi on a lower wall of Parc de Bellville in Paris, you can see how his emphasis on movement drives his creative choices at Place Alphonse Allais.
Parisian OG Lek has been working on the streets for the last three of his five decades, growing up close to the Mecca of European graffiti in the 1980s, Stalingrad. By the 90s he was ready to experiment with abstract and futuristic, with a balancing influence from the rigid uncompromising Bauhaus. Today he easily contemplates the illegal and legal, commissioned and commercial, and his compositions are not always easily categorized as graffiti, street art, or mural.
But he is easily called a pioneer among peers, having been one half of Lek and Sowat, as well as a member of Da Mental Vaporz, French Kiss, LCA, GNS, RAW, and 1984. Here we present a brand new gig he scored with Art Azoï last month in his hometown.
Calligraphist and decorative painter Tarek Benaoum has Algeria, Italy, and French in his blood, but it’s all gold when he writes across walls. A graffiti writer who studied script formally in his early twenties, his hybrid of Arabic and gothic takes him from wall to canvas in both hemispheres.
At the request of the Parisian public housing agency Régie Immobilière de la Ville (RIVP), Art Azoï conjured a solution to rehabilitate this massive structure with a mural that would resonate with the locality and its residents. The Salé-born Benaoum rose to the challenge with a 40 x 15 meter mural in his signature blue and gold on the south gable of this building on the boulevard Mortier in the 20th arrondissement.
Standing at the outer rim of these circular motifs are texts by the Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti from his 1969 book Freedom from the Known (Se libérer du connu), a treatise on the only worthwhile revolution: inner liberation.
Among the famous quotes often remembered from the book is this one, “To be free of all authority, of your own and that of another, is to die to everything of yesterday, so that your mind is always fresh, always young, innocent, full of vigor and passion.”
“This mural contains the shapes of each one overlapped in layers and erasing lines to emphasize color, our great passion,” says Zosen of his new collaboration with artist Mina Hamada. The two have created many color-blocked organic and chaotic visual feasts on walls around the world over the last few years, and this one puts an optimistic face on the new year in Paris.
In fact, the painting pair haven’t been able to do a large scale mural like this since late 2019 in Japan, where Mina hails from. “After more than a year, pandemic and confinement in between, we wanted to do something different and fresh to have fun.”
In coordination with L’association Art Azoï and Les Plateaux Sauvages in the 20th arrondissement, the Barcelona-based pair were bundled up and on cherry pickers in the early January cold weather, tracing out their long-pole lines over the top of one another. “For this mural, we prepared two different designs,” says Mina. “Then we mixed over the lines to make the mural.”
Imagine being forbidden, proscribed by religious law. Haram.
Yemeni artist Ahlam Jarban says that she felt that her very existence as a girl and a woman growing up in her country was forbidden. Now imagine being a female graffiti writer in that war-torn country, eager for your work and your ideas to be seen and considered.
“To be a woman in Yemen is forbidden (haram),” she says. “Street art was my way in Yemen to say ‘I’m not haram; I’m proud of being a woman.’ ”
Her new mural was created in collaboration with the Agency of Artists in Exile (Atelier des Artistes en Exil), where she is an artist in residence. Using aerosol and stencils, she draws attention to this denial of personal agency in the world through patterned calligraphy of “Haram” interrupted by the occasional pair of photorealistic eyes, always watching.
Part of an exhibition along a 50-meter long wall at the Pavillon Carré de Baudouin in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, the artist is actively assessing and critiquing the patriarchal behaviors she witnessed during her youth before arriving here in 2018. She is also making connections between the two cultures.
“I painted eyes because I think that was the only thing that was free on a woman’s body,” she says as she describes the various emotions and intentions that are communicated by people purely with their eyes. Immediately she pivots to the correlation to life in her new European home where everyone is encouraged to wear a mask during the Covid-19 pandemic, and people are learning to rely more on communicating with their eyes, perhaps more than ever before.
“I think this mural can be very interesting for the Arabic French people and for the French people to know more about how it can be to be a female in Yemen,” she says in the video below.