Tuesday, December 22, 2009

November 2009: Nekotwo in Toulouse

Toulouse-based artist Nekotwo experienced a lot of change in the past year. Between moving from Paris to the south of France and getting married (congrats!), the guy has a lot going on. Fortunately, he always makes time for art. He loves experimenting with mediums (see his "light painting" down below) and taking those works to the streets. Today, he tells us a bit about what drives him to create. He writes:

"I first started to doing graffiti when I was 11 years old with a bunch of friends from Trappes in the suburbs of Paris. As the years passed, we became the 190 crew (aka OGI). At this time, we had only one thing in mind: graffiti. People who knew me at this time surely just remember a kid with ink and paint all over his clothes. In 2000/2001, I started to notice new forms of graffiti in Paris (Zevs's clouds, Space Invader's mosaics, stickers everywhere on the gutters...) and it blew me away as I started to became tired by traditionnal graffiti. I started to do some stickers and wheatpaste and I found a freedom in it: the freedom to express myself in the streets without being harrassed by the cops and the freedom to express my own style without being restricted to the same old graffiti gimmicks."

"I like to go out and paint with other artists but most of the time time I prefer to paint alone. Last year, I moved from Paris to Toulouse, in the south of France, and unfortunatley I don't know any street artists in the area. Since then I've pasted alone but I'm not complaining; street art is my secret garden. Most of the people I know here will be surprised to know that I'm a street artist and I have to admit I enjoy this privacy. I'm feelin' like a superhero with a secret identity only known by my closest friends."

"I've never been in any art school. I learned to draw all by myself. To be honest, I don't know if I have a style of my own. I just draw and let things happen. Most of the time I paint my posters in the comfort of my flat, but I can paint anywhere really. I'm used to working with few tools and space. Just give me a wall, a brush and some paper and I can paint. My favorites spots to paste my posters are the abandonned walls or shops in the city, places nobody cares about."

"Every time you go out to do art in the city is a new story. When you work with wheatpaste you can paste during daylight and you always meet new people, from the old angry lady waiting until you've finished to ripped your work apart to the youngters asking you thousands of questions. As I'm a positive person, I will not tell stories about angry shopkeepers wanting to punch me or sadistic cops. One day as I was pasting a big poster, an old Arab woman saw me from her balcony and came down with a plate full of delicious Moroccan pastries and a cup of mint tea. She stayed there the whole time I was working on the wall and she showed me drawings her granddaughter had made. I stayed and talked with her for about two hours. This type of encounter is a strong motivation to keep working outside."

"Right now, I'm not working on anything in particular, just a bunch of canvases wainting to be finished and a new series of printed stickers. Winter is coming and I will try to paint as many posters as I can to be ready to hit the streets as soon the spring comes! I also have few ideas to make new short stop-motion animations."

Brilliant, Nekotwo! I love the story of the woman who brought you mint tea. That's what it's all about! Tomorrow's my last posting day of the year. Thanks so much for making 2010 a great one!

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