C215 portrait at 5 Rue Clément Perrot, Vitry-sur-Seine
If you like the work of French artist C215, aka Christian Guemy, you will LOVE Vitry-sur-Seine, a suburb 5 miles south of Paris. The artist started an initiative in 2009 to brighten the streets of this semi-industrial 'commune', painting hundreds of stencils and inviting artists to join him.
With a population of 82,000 and a 26.5% rate of unemployment (national average 10%), Vitry-sur-Seine has both artistic and musical influence, contributing to the development of Hip Hop in France, giving birth to rappers such as Rohff,Doudou Masta, and the group 113.
'Wurst Chaos' by Austrian artist HNRX, 2017. I've enjoyed his art in London, about which he says,
'I founded the "Save the Sausage" campaign in 2012. It's an icon, a way to put up my art quickly all over the world. I like to paint food on the street, out of context. It's a lot of fun, the way my stuff works in a system full of profound things. That's the reason I do it.' - HNRX
Belgian artist ROA, June 2016, overlooking a park at 127 Avenue Paul Vaillant Couturier
As he says,
'Graffiti is one of the most free art expressions of the world; you don’t do it for money nor for an institution. It’s free expression and liberates yourself creatively from a lot of restrictions.' - ROA
'Street art has become an escape valve from my work as an illustrator. I approached the world of street art initially through posters taking my ‘comics’ in the streets: naughty girls, strong women, curious, independent. Then I met the stencil artist C215, who taught me a stencil technique that is fast to work with and which lets me leave a trace of the free hand work I could not do in a short time.' - Alice Pasquini, Street Art United States, 2013
Fun building by Bebar, who painted in Freeman Alley recently. Located at 5 Rue de la Somme
'Vitry’n Urbaine and myself built a long term project (two and a half years from beginning to end!) to paint an unusual spot in the city centre. The wall is particularly interesting as it it cylindrical. After finally obtaining permission from both the landlord and the town hall… I sprayed the hell out of it! The artwork represents a couple kissing, with both characters spread across the surface. It’s meant to be a soft, beautiful image celebrating love for all.'- Zabou
'One Love' represents the humanity of people and the warmth of people. We can’t be one race, we can’t be one species but we can be one love… the more you embrace love, the stronger we can be as a planet' - Louis Masai
'The path to painting Asian women started with the Vitry murals… both of which are women. The piece on the door was of a very young girl whose photo I found on Flickr. I loved her look and wanted to continue to work with her after painting her that first time.
That was the genesis of the idea… the mask came a couple of years later and I guess you could say was the final piece in the puzzle. I never tell anyone its meaning though, as that would spoil the mystery.' - Fin DAC, Street Art 360
C215 (said to be named after a prison cell he was once held in), often paints the overlooked: the homeless, refugees, elderly, and ordinary locals. As you walk along this street you'll see many, as well as work by Seny (Le Corbusier) Bebar and Indigo.
8: Lastly, if you're like me, you go to Vitry for C215's cats:
C215 paints cats around the world with incredible depth (especially for stencils), and emotion. If he uses the same stencil, he'll use different colors so each is unique.