Miniature Street Art in the spotlight with the book Street Art XXS!24 October 2022
Miniature Street Art is for me like an exquisite candy, the cherry on the cake… At the time of monumental frescoes where urban artists accompany cities in their revalorization for tourist or social purposes. Some artists quickly and discreetly put up their works in much more hidden places. And you will need a trained eye to discover them! Of course, the first artist you think of is Invader, who conquered the world with his space invaders… Since then, hundreds of artists using other mediums have invaded our urban spaces.
Every city has its own miniature street art. Many artists remain local while a small handful go international. When I see a work by Fred Le Chevalier in Paris or by Sara Lynne in New York, my heart sinks and I always have the feeling of having discovered a treasure. So when Edith Pauly, author of the book Street Art XXS published by Editions Alternatives, offered to send it to me, my heart went boom! Because yes, I can’t buy all the books related to my passion and making a choice is sometimes difficult! I will therefore try with my words to present you this beautifully made book.
Edith Pauly, an author and journalist with a passion for urban art
After a short telephone conversation with Edith Pauly, I already know that we have one thing in common: wandering and the pleasure of being surprised along our paths. A journalist, she is passionate about art with a capital A and has collaborated with numerous weekly magazines and of course published more than one book. She undertook this Street Art XXS with passion and I imagine that it must not have been easy to make a selection of 50 small format master artists. The choices must have been tough! I did not wish to make her intervene in the article to keep my objectivity and my astonishment for your reading. As each human being has different sensitivities, it is more than normal that her selection does not match the one I would have made. Not to find artists like Invader or C215 in the book seemed to me like a bomb. The reason for this choice is perhaps not only personal. At the same time, it allows her to present artists less known to the French public and to open her selection to the international scene. Because miniature street art is invading public spaces all over the world with discretion.
A surprising and exciting classification of artists
Once again: surprise! Of course I didn’t expect a scholastic classification of the artists; but I had imagined a journey by city, something like that. In fact the artists are organised according to the medium they use to work. A more than ingenious organization of the book that allows the author to come back to these mediums; to the work done beforehand by the artist and to what they induce in terms of involvement, experience in the street and also legality!
Starting with collage was an obvious choice for me; a reference to Ernest Pignon Ernest and also a testimony of our time where many artists are using collage or stickers. This medium avoids damaging the walls but above all it allows the artist to act quickly after having carefully selected the wall he wishes to invest. Some, like Fred Le Chevalier, love damaged walls, while others, like Hearcraft, play with signs or other works of art. A surprising universe, very graphic and often not lacking in humour.
Pixel Art using marble mosaic, glass paste,… is in the air of time. Of course, when we talk about Pixel Art and mosaics, only one artist comes to mind and he does not appear in this book! This leaves room for other ingenious artists who know how to handle these small tiles with dexterity. If I chose a work by Mifamosa to illustrate this chapter of the book, it’s because he plays with the names of the streets where he places his work. And for me, miniature street art is above all a game with urban space that tends to make it more pleasant.
When we talk about urban art, we often forget that installations, sculptures, wall covering in volumes, etc. are an integral part of it. We tend to look at what is flat or stuck on the walls. I am happy to find a chapter in this book that highlights the work of those artists who create miniature installations. Without their presence, the book would have been incomplete! What a joy to find the masters of the genre, Slinkachu and Isaac Cordal, but also Joe Iurato, better known for his murals in Brooklyn than for his installations. If you open Street Art XXS you will understand that these artists work and master several mediums to create and immortalize their fragile works 😉
When I got to the chapter on vandals, aptly named “PURE AND HARD” by the author, I was surprised by the choice of artists. We’re talking about stencil artists and artists who work with spray paint, chalk or felt-tip pens directly on the walls… these artists who take risks and work illegally! I’m not surprised that C215, whom I’ve mentioned several times, isn’t there, since he doesn’t like “inventory” works and has his own publications. But the fact that Miss Tic, the first French woman to have held a bomb in her hands, is not there leaves me a bit surprised. As I said in the preamble of the article, choosing only 50 artists could not have been easy. On this chapter I consoled myself with Eugène Barricade whose work I discovered in Arles and the presence of the excellent Jaune who makes visible the shadowy characters of our daily lives.
The bonus chapter of the book is “Rondes-bosses, bas-reliefs and other volumes”. I must admit that I did not expect to see such a chapter where you can find a multitude of techniques and materials in a jumble! A bonus chapter that made me discover two artists I didn’t know before: Max Zorn and his watermarks on lamp posts and Mihaly Kolodko‘s miniature sculptures. I was also pleased to find my favourite street and style photographer, Backtothestreet 😉
Should you dive into reading Street Art XXS to discover miniature street art?
Street Art XXS is the first existing book on miniature street art; a street art that is not often discussed by the media when they talk about urban art and yet an art form rich in humour, techniques,… a discreet art form that is making a name for itself throughout the world.
No, this is not a novel to be read in one go, the presentation of the artists is a little academic, typical of this type of book. The fascinating testimonies of the artists enlighten us on the whys and wherefores of this presence in the street, of this choice of the minuscule. To appreciate it, all you have to do is pick it up! I told you that Street Art XXS is an exquisite candy, so it is appropriate to do the same with the book!
Of course it generated some frustrations for me and also allowed me to discover some artists. I can imagine how difficult the choice must have been for the author and I sincerely hope that Les Editions Alternatives have planned a volume 2 as this form of urban art is as fascinating as it is discreet. The book is illustrated with countless photos of the works, many of which were taken by the author! This is to say that Edith Pauly is a passionate person, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank her warmly for giving me the opportunity to present her book to you.
Street Art XXS is definitely a must-have book to have in your library if you love street art in all its forms!
« Street Art XXS, 50 artistes maîtres du petit format » is published by Editions Alternatives in French and is available in all good bookshops for the modest sum of 25 euros or on Amazon for those in a hurry.
The photos illustrating this book presentation are from my personal archives that you can find in part on Instagram.
For those of you who love beautiful books, you can find my selection from last year on the website… Of course, I’m preparing a new selection for this Christmas with very nice new books!
See you soon for a new street art discovery in the heart of Paris!