The other day I came across an ABOVE sticker while walking around here in Paris. I really dig ABOVE’s work and philosophies. One of the few who does a good job of marrying the idea of a graf artist and street artist. (Ok, ok, ok… Let the discussions and arguments about that last statement begin.) I was psyched to see he was or had been here, and then I was walkin down my street past the same spot I posted about before and saw this:
‘I was invited to participate with L’association LE MUR (lemur.asso.fr/?) here in Paris. The association invites artists from around the world come and paint this billboard. Each artist is given 2 days to paint on the paper which will then be pasted up on the 24 foot x 9 foot billboard.
Being that I’m in France I felt it would only be normal to paint a french word play that that local parisiennes could appreciate. This french word play “Prendre le taureau par les cornes” (Take the bull by the horns) was a motivational message and extremely fun working with the positioning of the typography.’
And I haven’t seen this one in person here, but I thought it was great.
And well executed.
*To understand this piece better please read the text before watching. If you already watched the video without reading the text, please read the text then watch the video again.
Last year I was traveling for 3-months around Europe and spent 2 weeks in Paris. One day when I was walking around Paris I found this spot but unfortunately I had just 1 day before my flight to Rome. After observing the large concrete frame on the wall, it gave me a lot of inspiration for several ideas on how to creatively interact with the un-used frame and location. One idea was to juxtapose an “art thief” stealing a popular painting like the Mona Lisa from the frame. I felt the idea and site-specific stencil would interact well with the un-used frame and the fact that the Mona Lisa is located just 10 minutes away inside the Louvre museum.
Time always changes things and with that new situations arise. Since last year when I was in Paris I’ve noticed a lot of new topics in street art and more importantly the thievery of art works in the street. I felt it more interesting and relative to have the art thief portrayed in the stencil stealing a piece of art that actually gets stolen quite often. The English artist Banksy is one of the most popular street artists and highly publicized victims of his street artworks being stolen. It’s not by random chance this happens to Banksy’s art as first and foremost he makes great work but also due to the fact that his indoor works have sold for several hundred thousand dollars you can imagine when he paints outside in the street his works are soon sought after by thieves.
It’s an interesting concept and somewhat of an irony as we the artists and the thieves are both working in an illegal manner. One illegal activity inspires another. The artist paints illegally with spray cans on a wall, while the thieves jack hammer and chip off illegally painted walls, illegally. It’s kind of like the pot calling the kettle black to a degree.
I took the initiative to comment and create a situation in this piece that could mimic both illegal acts simultaneously executed here in the painting and in the process.
Many years ago before Banksy’s mass appeal he painted his popular rat image that read, “Because I’m worthless.” Times have changed Banksy is a common household name as well as the increased value of his artworks. I felt like it would be applicable to the current state of affairs to appropriate his previous statement to “Because now I’m worth it” to reflect the past and current thievery of his street artworks.
“A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to”
More of ABOVE’s stuff here.