Page 194

incredible. There are a lot of subterranean dimensions to Paris, many of which were built during the revolution as hiding places and we call them the catacombs. So Paris is a kind of Gruyere cheese, peppered with lots of tunnels where the rats live and they come out at night. This image fitted very well with what I was doing because I was also going out during the night to do my painting and a definite comparison could be drawn. And there was something else that was really interesting: the fact that ‘rat’ is an anagram of ‘art’. All of this was very convenient; I loved to play with words. In a way I was living like a kind of rat and also, I loved rat stories. Around that time, there was a lot of rat stories, there was a comic book called Kebra, in which the hero was a rat. Rats were very much part of our world, they are a kind of reflection of the city, they can easily adapt to it and to our way of living. Also, by drawing rats, I wanted to show to the Parisians who are so proud of their city, Paris which is feted as the most beautiful city in the world, I wanted to show them the underbelly of their town, the part they deny.

It was also meant to shock the bourgeois a bit, well it wasn’t very violent, it wasn’t very offensive but it was a way of saying to them: yes, your town is beautiful but underneath...in the shadows... live the rats.

Was there something about the vibe and the rhythms of Paris that made you want to paint it or dictated the way your work or was it simply because it was your hometown ? Because it was my town, I loved Paris for a huge part of my life, but now I hate it. One of the reasons why I chose stencils was that I didn’t want to imitate American graffiti, I had given it a shot but I didn’t have the technique, and after reflecting back on it, I realised it had no relevance to our culture – it was a straight import with none of the context it had in America. It didn’t fit French life or French architecture. A graffiti piece in the US works beautifully because it’s tuned to the environment and the colours of US city. So it’s beautiful there, but imitating an American tag in a town like Paris, Rome or in London has no meaning

Profile for LSD Magazine

LSD Magazine - Issue 9 - Chasing Dragons  

Issue 9 of LSD Magazine is out now. Bursting at the digital seams with sizzling art, searching interviews, slamming music, a dash of politi...

LSD Magazine - Issue 9 - Chasing Dragons  

Issue 9 of LSD Magazine is out now. Bursting at the digital seams with sizzling art, searching interviews, slamming music, a dash of politi...

Advertisement