International Street Art settles in the birthplace of the Impressionists in Chatou France !22 June 2021
Street Art in Chatou and moreover on the Impressionist Island; I would not have believed it a few months ago! But that was without counting on a very nice project developed by the city of Chatou in partnership with Street Art for Mankind, an American NGO fighting against child trafficking and slavery. Six international artists went to each of the city’s neighbourhoods to display their styles and techniques, with themes in keeping with the history and DNA of the area.
Renoir, Degas, Manet, Monet and Sisley set up their easels to immortalise the banks of the Seine and the lively guinguettes of the Belle Époque. This June 2021, Emmanuel Jarus, Vesod, Victor Ash, Vinie Graffiti, Carlos Alberto GH and Lula Goce have set up their easels to create frescoes, often monumental, using spray paint, brushes or rollers. A journey that I rushed to discover, the paint was still fresh and I enjoyed it. It is therefore with great pleasure that I am going to share with you these brand new works which are just a stone’s throw from Paris and which will, I have no doubt, make you want to take a trip to the island of Chatou and its surroundings.
Emmanuel Jarus’ vibrant tribute to Claude Monet on the Island of the Impressionists.
If you follow the blog, you will not fail to make a connection between this work and that of Eduardo Kobra in Boulogne-sur-mer. There is no similarity in terms of technique, but the work serving as inspiration is none other than Claude Monet‘s Woman with a Parasol! A judicious choice to interpret the theme chosen for this strategic location on the island of Chatou, a major meeting place for the Impressionists.
Emmanuel Jarus, whose pseudonym Youngjarus evokes his young age, is a Canadian artist who does not come from the world of graffiti. In a purely narrative style, he chooses to interpret everyday characters in their places of life. A large-scale portraitist, he handles the brush with great dexterity and offers us a very figurative style full of humanism. Whatever the subject, the faces of his characters always reflect a beautiful wave of softness.
With Vesod, crossing the Seine leads to the Étoile
Vesod, an artist from Turin, certainly offers the most complex Street Art work to decipher in this town of Chatou. The subject matter seems simple, since it is located just a stone’s throw from the bridge that crosses the Seine towards Paris, and one quickly concludes that this extremely structured ensemble leads us directly to the Place de l’Étoile. But with Vesod nothing is simple; the heritage of his father – a surrealist painter – combined with his love for arithmetic make his works disconcertingly enigmatic figures where space-time is either crushed or distorted.
This artist, who uses the roller as the finest brush, offers us geometric games, bluffing mirror effects, destructuring reality and time, and very often places a serene, sometimes sleeping woman in a purely figurative style at the centre of his work. He offers us a futuristic vision of the present, perhaps a chaotic vision of the future, always with a touch of esotericism that could disturb. An artist with a complex universe who offers breathtaking works in front of which one could stay for hours.
Victor Ash celebrates culture at the doors of the Chatou media library
Worthy representative of the world of Parisian Graffiti of the 80s in this selection of Street Art in Chatou, Victor Ash was one of the first to put his Blaze in the wastelands of Northern Paris in Stalingrad or even in La Chapelle. He signed his name Ash2 alongside his compatriots JonOne, Jay1, Mode2, La Force Alphabétick,… and his first graffs can be found in the collector’s book Spraycan Art by Henry Chalfant. I must admit that I had lost track of him until 2007 when his huge cosmonaut levitated on a Berlin wall!
His style is difficult to recognise at first glance; constantly evolving, this artist likes to play with contrasts, to awaken the eye of the passer-by and is very attached to the democratic side of street art. Each of his works is directly linked to the place where it is created. This is the case in Chatou, where two of his works can be seen at the entrance to the Hal Singer cultural space. The most direct is a bluish jazz-style portrait of the famous saxophonist of the same name. The other is a child with arms full of books, on the edges of which the face of Guy de Maupassant can be seen in the watermark… I fell in love with this work because, as we all know, culture is the best weapon of all!
Vinie Graffiti celebrates diversity in the heart of the Marolles district
There was no better choice than Vinie Graffiti‘s fetish character to illustrate diversity in the working-class neighbourhood of Chatou. His long fetish woman, mixed like society, at the same time sweet, pin-up, with a manga look and definitely with a hip-hop look, perfectly embodies diversity. Her Affro hairstyle is styled with bubble letters from the artist’s past. We can decipher words such as Diversity, Religions, Different, Equality, Strength, Respect, Unity… Like messages sent from a cloud of sweetness.
Vinie Graffiti, as you may have gathered, comes straight from the world of graffiti; over time her fetish character has become recurrent and her hairstyle expresses values, humanist ideas or is adorned with abundant vegetation. Vinie Graffiti is not just a modern-day French muralist woman, as she poetically declines her universe in sculpture, as she did in 2016 in a magical installation at the Malakoff reserve with her colleague Rea One. As my little blog didn’t exist at the time, I’m going to digress for a moment, far from Chatou, to show you this work which was my favourite of the exhibition!
An ultra-coloured trompe l’oeil by Carlos Alberto GH on the Auguste Renoir school
Sustainable development and the preservation of nature are themes dear to the city of Chatou. In an ultra-coloured fresco, the Mexican artist Carlos Alberto GH invites us to understand that the future of the fauna and flora is in our hands. This magnificent anamorphic -including 3D- realization jumps to the eyes with its strong colours and its deep contrast.
This artist from Guadalajara is a great specialist in 3D. He is a nature lover and mainly represents animals with the characteristic of Mexican artists, which is the extremely advanced use of colours. Once his work is finished, he likes to stage himself with it, creating surreal scenes.
Lula Goce celebrates the city’s gardens with great delicacy
Lula Goce was born in Galicia, but it was in the sheds and on the walls of Barcelona in working-class neighbourhoods such as Poblenou that she made her mark. She is passionate about classical painting, with a soft spot for Velazquez, Goya and Caravaggio, and also about engraving, with the representations of monsters and gargoyles that can be found in her work. The most important thing for her is the contact with nature, a reminder of Galicia, a region where nature is more than preserved and sometimes still wild.
In this portrait of a woman in Chatou, there is, as in her other portraits, something very dark and very sweet at the same time. A Latin “je ne sais quoi” in her piercing look and a very red “Santa Sangre” on her lips. The colour palette of her floral composition also takes us back to Spain with its warm orange-reds. A very beautiful work, full of softness and poetry, which perfectly illustrates the theme of the garden, all in delicacy.
Is Street Art in Chatou in the land of the Impressionists worth the diversions?
Sincerely, Chatou is only a few steps away from Paris and for cyclists who love the banks of the Seine, it would be a shame to miss it! It is quite rare to see so many works by international artists of this level blooming in 8 days. For those who know how to appreciate giant frescoes, it is pure happiness 😉 What’s more, the town of Chatou has put everything you need online to find your way around.
Note that this is the first realization in France of the Street Art For Mankind Association which fights and collects funds to stop the ignominy of child trafficking and slavery! This American association works directly with the UN and the Kailash Satyathi Foundation, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2014. I had already mentioned this one in my interview with the duo PichiAvo; because there are 80 Street Artists from all over the world who collaborate with it in order to move the lines! A really good reason to go there and make the buzz!
If you have been particularly sensitive to these works, you should love the project that has been carried out in Versailles in homage to the botanist Bernard de Jussieu. An opportunity to discover other artists and a whole world of sweetness. And for those who wonder about the relationship between classical painting and street art, I strongly recommend reading Cyrille Gouyette’s brilliantly written book “Sous le Street Art, Le Louvre”; my favourite book!
I wish you a nice Street Art walk in Chatou and I’m putting my sneakers back on and going to new adventures that I’ll share very soon. If you liked it, share it ! It always makes me immensely happy 😉
Take good care of yourself!