All posts tagged: Christian Guémy

Stencil Street Artist C215 Explores Haiti in Full Color

Stencil Street Artist C215 Explores Haiti in Full Color

Parisian Street Artist C215 has been traveling again, this time to Port Au Prince in Haiti, where he drew many curious audiences during the week-long visit to watch him create his evocative stencil portraits on columns, in doorways, along narrow walkways, on rooftops, and in streets.

“It was a very strong experience for me personally.  I found it to be kind of a mix between the favelas of São Paulo and the suburbs of Dakar,” says the artist known for casting a light on homeless or otherwise disadvantaged citizens in cities around the world with his very personal stencil portraits.

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © C215)

While in Haiti meeting new people and learning as much as he could about the culture on the streets, he also was learning about a small new urban art organization that has goals of one day throwing their own festival with invited international artists. “Aude Hulot of the Kasav organization is guiding me in this anarchic city,” he reports as he carries bags full of aerosol paint through a back alley.

Only a few years ago C215 made his name in the Street Art world with one or two colors, white and black. Often he did his work using only white. With some sort of empathy at hand, he developed an uncanny ability to convey part of the essence of the people he depicted simply through a quickly sprayed stencil on a doorway, or on a dumpster. That sort of honesty in depiction, not shrouded by edifice, made his spare figures almost jump from the mottled and rusted surfaces they appeared on. Since he first began there have been many who have observed that his work inspired a number of new Street Artist – each trying their hand at cutting and spraying portraits. It’s not a bad legacy to tell the truth, but you can sometimes guess that the imitation isn’t always interpreted as flattery.

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © Viktor Gjengaar)

These days C215 is making some wildly varicolored departures from the single hue  stencil that was once his signature. As he tells us in the interview below, a severe illness a few years ago caused his stark and haunting monochromatic images to suddenly become flooded with life, and without warning they became ebullient, even fantastic, in their audacious color combinations.  Looking at the wide range of people he has just created on these walls in Haiti, you know that C215 is again setting a standard with his ability to communicate personality, emotion, ease, rage, fear, and a true humanity on the street.

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © C215)

Brooklyn Street Art: How has your experience been in Haiti and what brought you here?
C215: A young woman living in Haiti, Aude Hulot, came to visit me in my studio one day in Paris and during her visit she asked me to come to Haiti to paint portraits in the streets of Port au Prince. She said she was part of a local arts association, Kasav and their goal is to promote urban art in the city – perhaps eventually to create a festival that attracts street artists to their city.

I was interested in experiencing and learning about the dramatic living situation of people in Port au Prince, and to see what has happened in the three years since the earthquake. Because I did not know if I would find a potentially dangerous environment or not, my good friend Viktor Gjengaar from Norway came along – he also helped to document the trip properly with photos and video.

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © C215)

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you talk about how you prepared for the trip with your art materials.
C215: I came with a whole collection of Caribbean portraits, a few hummingbirds and tropical flowers, so that the local people could appreciate my art with local subjects. They all understood that way that what I was painting was a clear tribute to their culture, and not simply a Western marking on their walls.

Brooklyn Street Art: When you are selecting individuals for their portrait, what qualities are you looking for?
C215: I simply need to get inspired. I’m not looking for famous people; Instead I look for anonymous ones who anyone can identify with. I learned that it was important in Haiti that no portrait could be understood as a political or a religious message – to avoid possible arguments or controversy.  Local citizens were also paying attention to my work to insure that none of the persons whom I painted was dead, because of a concern about the ghost’s spirits. This is part of a prevalent belief in Voodooism that is very strong there.

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © Viktor Gjengaar)

Brooklyn Street Art: You could simply reprise one of your earlier stencils from other cities on the street here. Why do you make new ones for new locations?
C215: I mixed up old and new ones, but all them were fitting with the island spirit. I did cut two new portraits based on anthropological studies from the very early nineteenth century; the portraits were of a couple to be precise. As a way to evoke the slavery period I painted them next to bars. Haitian culture has deep memories of slavery and I wanted to pay a tribute to this sad memory.

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © C215)

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you talk about the portrait of the kid with the gun in his hand?
C215: This portrait is based on an image by the famous photographer, Steve McCurry. I painted it in one of the wealthiest districts of Port au Prince as a way to evoke the economical and physical violence on the island. I hope it might also draw attention to the reality of street kids who are living in Port au Prince.

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © C215)

Brooklyn Street Art: You have spoken before about your concept of your work in the street as community service. Do you feel that you have been providing a service to part of the community here?
C215: I participated in a fundraiser for Haiti in 2010 with Brooklynite gallery but I thought that going to paint by myself in the slums of Port au Prince was rather a social, if not political act. As time has passed I sadly see that nowadays street art is less and less dedicated to the “street people” and it is more often created for the possible collectors.

There are no street art collectors in Haiti, so I think that even though my work is represented by the wealthy Opera Gallery I would like to go paint in one of the 10 poorest countries of the world, and in some way this is a kind of a Community Service. Everybody around me was speaking, before my departure and during my stay, about the risks I was taking by going to paint in a city unfortunately famous for tourist’s kidnappings and murders.

I experienced the city as a street painter and nothing else: I stayed there one week, painting in almost all districts and especially the “red zone”, and I can say that nothing happened and that I felt no threat. So without offering too quick of a conclusion about the island, if Haitians are absolutely poor, I can personally say they like art and respect artists. I felt everywhere I was welcome and my art got a very good reception.

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © C215)

Brooklyn Street Art: For many people, one mark of a successful street artist is when they pick the right location for their piece, and the context it appears in. What helps you decide where a piece should be?
C215: Instinct, experience, and the vision I have of the final result before beginning to paint. It is somewhere very technical. I am not looking for the best place to advertise, moreover that I usually paint very small portraits to stay discrete. I am looking for the best result.

Brooklyn Street Art: Your color palette has become so vibrant and full of color in the last couple of years. How has the experience been to using so much color?
C215: Colors became very strong in my works in 2009 after I caught meningitis in Morocco. I lied in complete darkness for one month and when dreaming I had the vision of portraits painted exclusively with very bright colors. I discovered the way to create the images in my dreams and this new palette has had an impact in the streets, making my portraits very eye-catching to people. Using all this color also means I’m taking a greater risk of getting caught that, since it takes longer to paint with many colors than a quick stencil in black or white. I enjoy adrenaline. It was a very good way to turn my works more singular. Now I go painting outside with several cans, but also acrylics, inks and varnishes.

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © Viktor Gjengaar)

Also I am using color because I get very quickly bored of repeating the same process, the same technique … I know that many artists on the street like to repeat the same kind of work all their life long but this process could not fit with my personality. I have no idea what I will be painting in the next five years, or even if I will be continuing to paint.

Brooklyn Street Art: Has your line become more relaxed in recent years?  It looks like it has a little more fluidity, perhaps more of a feeling of motion.
C215: It is a natural evolution. I pay a little less attention to realistic details and a little more to style. Colors helped me to go into subtle lining since my work is now less based on contrast and sketch effects. Many stencil artists work now in white or black and white in the style I had from 2007 to 2009, working on the same kind of subjects like old people, homeless or sad kids – from Portugal to Iran. So I am happy that this new colored style has helped me to create a distance from what is now a kind of “stencil school” or a global movement. Maybe one day I will come back to white stencils: I like to contradict myself.

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © C215)

Brooklyn Street Art: When we think of the artist Gaugin and the impact that the colors of Tahiti had on his painting, do you think the climate and culture of Haiti influenced your choices of colors?
C215: When I was looking at pictures of the city during my research I was impressed by the vivid palette that Haitians use to decorate shops and buses; Art is almost everywhere in the city. I decided to blend in with the scene by using the same colors that I found in the city. Gauguin was looking for the “good savages” in the Pacific islands, but my research is different: I perfectly know that there are no “savages” anymore in this world, only human beings who are equal to me, but from different cultures.

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © C215)

Brooklyn Street Art: You had an audience for many of these pieces while you were putting them up.  Is it difficult to do the work while people are watching and joking and conferring and talking?
C215: I painted more than fifteen pieces in seven days and every piece took me approximately 30 or 40 minutes to complete. Every time a little crowd gathered to watch what I was painting and I tried to stay focused on my job. When finished, I would speak with one of the people watching so that the others could  get an explanation regarding my activity.

Luckily for me Aude Hulot from Kasav always helped to explain to people in their own languages what was the meaning of my work in Port au Prince. I encourage artists who are interested in going to paint there to contact the Kasav association and I am sure they will find them to be a very great help. (

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © C215)

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © C215)

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © Viktor Gjengaar)

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © C215)

C215. Port Au Prince, Haiti. April 2013. (photo © C215)



Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!


This article also appears on the Huffington Post

Read more

Fun Friday 06.08.12

Hey!  It’s Friday!!!  What’s for breakfast? Oatmeal and Hamlet!  IF you are brave enough to go all the way down the stairs, that is.

1. “City of Fire” Sparkles in Beverly Hills (CA)
2. Stencil Bastards (Zurich)
3. “20:12” in London
4. Figment 2012 (NYC)
5. 2012 London Gymnast by #CodeFC (VDEO)
6. Voice of Art with Enik One. Los Angeles and the crackdown on murals (VDEO)
7. Conor Harrington Will “Meat” You on the Street and in the Studio (VIDEO)
8. YO! It’s ND’A Up on a Roof in Bushwick, BK Baby! (VIDEO)

“City of Fire” Sparkles in Beverly Hills (CA)

“City of Fire” is a group exhibition that includes some of your favorite Street Artists skewing decidedly uptown and curated by Arrested Motion.

Artists include: Cyrcle, Thomas Doyle, Ron English, James Jean, Kid Zoom, Dave Kinsey, Mars-1, Patrick Martinez, Pedro Matos, REVOK, Rostarr, SABER, Andrew Schoultz, Jeff Soto, Judith Supine, TrustoCorp, Mark Dean Veca, Nick Walker, and Adam Wallacavage. You can look forward to rockin’ art and cool rocks.

Judith Supine on the streets of Williamsburg (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here.

Stencil Bastards (Zurich)

Christian Guemy curates “Stencil Bastards”, a group exhibition that showcases a select group of artists who work with stencils. Opening tonight at the Starkart Exhibitions Gallery in Zürich, Switzerland, these are some of Europe’s best at the moment.

Artists included in the show are: Epsylon Point (FR), C215 (FR), Eime (PT), Btoy (ES), Orticanoodles (IT), Kris Trappeniers (BE), Leckomio (DE) and Snik (UK).

C215 on the streets of Baltimore. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here.

“20:12” in London

The show “20:12” at The Curious Duke Gallery in London, UK is now open in time for the Olympics with a solo show by #codefc. The artist has been creating stencil art as a commentary on the imminent games to be inaugurated momentarily in London, using his signature image of a camera to play with traditional images of athletes shown performing various sport disciplines. Check out the multimedia video near the end of the posting.

#codefc “Cyclist” (photo © #codefc)

For further information regarding this show click here.

Figment 2012 (NYC)

It’s back!  Take the boat to Governor’s island this weekend and play in the grass and the trees and see art, installations, and performances. Figment 2012 in New York City opens this Saturday at 10:00 AM – A multidisciplinary art festival that welcomes all regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation and body fat index.

If you would like to spend two full days (no nights) on a beautiful Island on the East River taking in all sorts of art and experiences and meet the artists who make it first hand then this is the event of your dreams. Go! You’ll have fun.

Deborah-Yoon “Hive Mind” Figment 2009 (photo © Michael-Dolan)

For further information regarding this event click here.

2012 London Gymnast by #CodeFC (VIDEO)

Watch the Street Artist create a stencil and watch 50 other graphic elements fly, flicker, and shimmer across the screen at the same time.  It’s the Gymnastic Minority Report!

Voice of Art with Enik One. Los Angeles and the crackdown on murals. (VIDEO)

It’s weird how they disguised his voice and face on this, like he’s an international extraterrestrial terrorist of some sort. Dude, he’s smacking up some wheatpastes. Calm yourself.

Conor Harrington Will “Meat” You on the Street and in the Studio (VIDEO)

Giving us the lowdown on his formative graff years and his subsequent transition into fine art and his continuing love for both games – a promo from his show at Lazerides.

YO! It’s ND’A Up on a Roof in Bushwick, BK Baby! (VIDEO)

Dan Gingold and Andrew Morton shot and produced this very atmospheric time-lapse video of ND’A just off the train tracks of the JMZ – a ghostlike shimmer on a rooftop. Well done.

On a side note, we hear that the primary goal of this video is to bring fame to the participants, which hopefully will result in a yacht filled with whiskey and strippers.  If you are invited I would wear my life preserver the entire time just in case. Nothing else, just the life preserver.



Read more

Starkart Art Exhibitions Present: “Stencil Bastards” Curated By Christian Guemy. (Zürich, Switzerland)

Stencil Bastards

C215, Epsylon Point, Eime, Btoy, Orticanoodles, Kris Trappeniers Leckomio und Snik

Eine Gruppenschau mit 9 Künstlern aus dem Umfeld der Street-Art Urban-Art, die Schablonen als ihr Stilmittel gewählt haben. Sie sind aus halb Europa, was heisst diese Ausstellung ist eine gute Gelegenheit für Leute die speziell interessiert sind an dieser Art von Graffiti Kultur, um sich einen Überblick zu verschaffen was da so abgeht.
Christian Guemy kuratiert.

Alle der Insgesamt neun Künstler aus dem Umfeld der Street Art, Urban Art und Graffiti Kultur, werden ihre Werke erstmals in der Schweiz zeigen.
Epsylon Point (FR), C215 (FR), Eime (PT), Btoy (ES), Orticanoodles (IT), Kris Trappeniers (BE), Leckomio (DE) und Snik (UK), sind sogenannte Stencil Artists und gehören
mit zu den bekanntesten in Europa. Sie nutzen überwiegend den öffentlichen Raum als ihr Medium und Schablonen als ihr Werkzeug.

Einer der berühmtesten unter ihnen ist sicherlich Christian Guemy aus Paris, auch bekannt unter seinem Künstlernamen C215.
Sein farbenfroher Stil, sein Talent, Mut, und seine unglaubliche Schaffenskraft sind ein wichtiger Teil der Stencil-Art Bewegung, die immer mehr Fans rund um den Globus findet.
Er hat schon an zahlreichen Ausstellungen teilgenommen, wird in zahllosen Publikationen erwähnt und kürzlich ein eigenes Buch “Community Service” veröffentlicht. Seine Werke findet man von Oslo über London, Paris, Moscow, Rom, Barcelona, Berlin und in vielen anderen Städten, über ganz Europa verstreut, bis hin nach Casablanca, Brooklyn, Sao Paolo und Neu-Dehli.

Erstmals in der Schweiz widmet sich eine Ausstellung exklusiv der Stencil-Art, dieser eigenständigen Richtung innerhalb der Graffiti Kultur.

Vernissage 8 Juni ab 18 Uhr, die SKA Band “Pueblo Criminal” aus Zürich (9 Leute) spielt auch an diesem Abend und DJ: “Musical Warfare”, er legt Early Reggae, Rock Steady and Ska auf…

Stencil History X Feature über die Ausstellung:
Stencil Bastards at Starkart Gallery Zurich

“Stencil Bastards”
Kuratiert von Christian Guemy
8. Juni – 8. July 2012
Vernissage: 8 Juni 18 – 24 Uhr
Öffnungszeiten: Do/Fr 17 – 20 Uhr, Sa 14 – 19 Uhr
Starkart Exhibitions, Brauerstrasse 126, 8004 Zürich

Read more

ArTicks Gallery and Starkart Art Exhibitions Present: BLADE The King of Graffiti. (Zürich, Switzerland)


A Solo Show at Starkart Exhibitions June 23rd through July 8th, 2012.

Vernissage June 23 18:00 – 21:00

BLADE The King of GraffitiStarkart Exhibitions of Zurich in partnership with ArTicks Gallery of Amsterdam are proud to present a solo show by legendary graffiti artist Steven BLADE Ogburn, who will be making a rare personal appearance at the opening.

Starkart Exhibitions opened tree years ago, putting the emphasis on exploring and developing new concepts, for presenting, perceiving and curating art. This evolved into a cutting-edge urban art space, showing various styles of contemporary art, laying the focus on: graffiti, street-art, and urban interventions. Since then, various projects, resulted in a series of highly successful exhibitions with local and and international artists. Focusing on providing a supportive environment for the arts and their role in the community, Starkart Exhibitions draws an increasingly large and diverse crowd.

Owner Roman Lew who is into Graffiti since more than 20 years himself, is personally curating the upcoming BLADE show, which will feature a selection of his oldschool full train canvases as well as more recent abstract works in a style which the man now known as The King Of Graffiti has referred to as abstragraff. Using the name BLADE, Steven began writing graffiti in the early 1970s, during the infancy of what would grow to be a worldwide art movement. Prior to 1972 he mainly produced ‘single hits’ on walls and the inside of trains. These simple tags evolved into more elaborate early pieces, but it was when he began painting the outsides of trains that BLADE found his medium. Over 5000 trains bore his name between 1972 and 1984, earning him the title ‘King of Trains’ among his friends and contemporaries.

Running concurrently with the BLADE solo show is a group show, ‘Stencil Bastards‘, featuring nine international stencil artists and curated by Christian Guemy

“Blade King of Graffiti”
Curated by Roman Leu
23. Juni – 8. July 2012
Opening: 23 Juni 18 – 24 Uhr
Hours: Thu/Fri 17 – 20 h, Sat 14 – 19 h
Starkart Exhibitions, Brauerstrasse 126, 8004 Zürich.


Read more

Fun Friday 12.09.11

1. Last Day to Enter “BSA Holiday Giveaway”
2. “Tokyo Tattoo 1970” Martha Cooper and Aiko in Brooklyn
3.  Robots Will Kill & Friends Tonight in Brooklyn
4.  Photographer Birdman Show tonight in Los Angeles
5.  C215 at Shooting Gallery (SF)
6.  Geoff Hargadon “Dealers Protected” (Boston)
7. GAIA Saturday @ Irvine Contemporary (DC)
8. “Home For The Holidays”  group show at Klughaus Gallery
9. DD$ show “Everything Popular is Wrong” at Lab Art
10. Nick Walker’s Large Mural, “See No Evil”, in Bristol (VIDEO)
11. The Installation of David Byrne’s Giant Globe under the High Line in NYC (VIDEO)

Last Day to Enter “BSA Holiday Giveaway”

Folks today is the last day we are accepting submissions for our Holiday Giveaway Contest “12 Wishes for 2012”. Hurry! The prizes are great plus you can be featured on BSA along some great artists working today on the streets.

“Tokyo Tattoo 1970” Martha Cooper and Aiko in Brooklyn

Tonight at Urban Folk Art Gallery/Brooklyn Tattoo, a dual show of photographer and artist and friends.

Urban Folk Art© Gallery is pleased to present the the art installation and book release celebration for Martha Cooper’s latest book ‘Tokyo Tattoo 1970’ by Dokument Press.

Martha Cooper will be exhibiting photos from her book, and Aiko, internationally renowned stencil artist will be displaying work inspired by Martha’s work directly related to the book.

For Further information regarding this show click here

Robots Will Kill & Friends Tonight in Brooklyn

Mighty Tanaka ‘s new show “ROBOTS WILL KILL & FRIENDS” brings together an eclectic group of artist from different disciplines. The gallery is also celebrating 2 years.

Veng, Chris of RWK shown here with Overunder, (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here

Photographer Birdman Show tonight in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, esteemed photographer and BSA collaborator Bryan Mier AKA Birdman’s show “Wish You Were Here” opens today at Novel Cafe. Wish we were there!

Dabs and Myla in LA (photo © Birdman)

Birdman’s exhibition, “Wish You Were Here,” will feature his adventures in the art world. Including shots on roof tops, night sessions and rare images of artists up close working on murals.

For further information regarding this show click here

C215 at Shooting Gallery (SF)

French Artist C215 new solo show “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” opens on Saturday at the Shooting Gallery in San Francisco.

C215 at his studio (photo © C215)

Christian Guémy, also known as C215, is a Parisian street artist known for his intensely emotive stencil portraits. C215 began painting six years ago, and has since brought his work all over the world, from New Dehli to Istanbul.

For further information regarding this show click here

Geoff Hargadon “Dealers Protected” (Boston)

Geoff Hargadon invites you to the reception of his solo show “Dealers Protected” on Saturday at the Gallery Kayafas in Boston.


Geoff Hargadon. CFYW Miami 2010 (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

For further information regarding this show click here

GAIA Saturday @ Irvine Contemporary (DC)

Gaia’s “Urban Interventions” solo show with the Irvine Contemporary Gallery in Washington, DC opens on December 10.

Gaia (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here

Also Happening this weekend:

“Home For The Holidays” A group show that includes works by Faust, Moody and Katsu among other artists at the Klughaus Gallery in Manhattan. Click here for more details.

DD$ show “Everything Popular is Wrong” at Lab Art in Los Angeles. Click here for more details.

Nick Walker’s Large Mural, “See No Evil”, in Bristol (VIDEO)


The Installation of David Byrne’s Giant Globe under the High Line in NYC (VIDEO)


Mc Fitti – Strap on Traumschiff (VIDEO)

Have no idea what he is rapping about but there are some sick tricks here.

Read more