Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday ProFile: Gabri le Cabri

Many people discover street art on their own. Through books, videos, or their own observations, they mess with the techniques and pick up skills along the way. Parisian artist Gabri le Cabri had the good fortune to learn stenciling techniques at school. “I started doing stencils thanks to my art teacher in high school, when I was 15 or 16,” she explains. “In the late ‘80s, stencils were one of the only forms of expression besides hand-style tags and graffiti pieces one could see in the streets. I lived in the east of Paris where many stencil artists were active. I also felt more attracted to stencil because it was commonly used in punk imagery, which was the music I used to listen at. So when our teacher taught us how to cut out our own stencils, I chose a picture of The Clash for my first try. She later introduced me to another schoolmate who already bombed in the streets, under the name of TNT, and he asked me to go with him, which I did very soon afterwards.”

Born and bred in the city of Paris, Gabri knows her way around the City of Lights. While she drew on walls as a small child, she never outgrew the habit. “I always wondered why my hands could not realistically draw the perfect representation I imagined in my head,” she insists.
Back in the ‘80s, Gabri was active all the time, covering the streets of Paris with her work. Then she took a ten-year break before diving back into photography, collages, and stencils. “I think my style has evolved in its content because I am now a more complex person than I was when I was a teenager,” she reflects. “I explore more themes than I used to. According to the media, I can express things that would not fit in other contexts, either because of the size of the media, or of the technique. The technique used by other stencil artists also encouraged me to do more challenging stencils.”
Since last year, Gabri has worked with other members of S/75 (Paris sous les sticks). The group dynamic transformed the way she approaches projects. “I think it is a rich experience,” she confesses, “since it is based on a sense of friendship between the members and we can all benefit from the others' experiences, influences and help. For the moment, I am happy to be part of a crew whose members also act independently.”
Whether she’s working with stickers or stencils, Gabri represents her views. “I prefer to promote ‘equality between genders’ or even better, ‘equality between all human beings’ than just ‘girl power.’” Gabri believes that it’s important for women to participate in street art. “Like in all the other domains,” she argues, “I think women bring a different point of view, but I like to imagine it as a complementary point of view, not as an opposition or a struggle. I'm not very attracted to what I would call ‘girlie’ street art. To me, it is a reflection of the separation between genders and even sometimes a tendency to show girls as sexual objects that are supposed to be pretty and attractive or as people who can only create ‘cute’ things.”
In 2010, expect to see more themes of peace, respect, curiosity, and multicultural acceptance in Gabri’s work. “I would love to have more time to spend on my ‘non-commercial’ activities to develop my technical skills and to be able to produce more,” she wishes. “But right now I have no real plans except a few projects for new stickers and stencils in mind.” No matter the style, Gabri says, street expression is all about “interaction with the city, questioning anonymous citizens, and putting a little sunshine in everyday life.”

Merci, Gabri! For more photos, visit her Flickr. That's all for now. If you're in CT, definitely head down to New London for the Hygienic "Salon des Independants" opening. Hopefully, I'll make it down there next week. Until then, there's nothing but work and meets in my future! Rest up this weekend and I'll see you on Monday.


  1. Wow, thanks, just on time as a birthday present! And with some of the latest pics!

  2. Yay, I'm glad you liked them, Gabri! Thanks so much!