I had the privilege today of talking to Christian Guémy, who goes by the pseudonym C215, a street stencil artist, considered by many to be France’s answer to Banksy. You may have seen his work in your city. Christian has travelled extensively across the globe to instill his work into various cultures, including Istanbul in Turkey, Dakar in Senegal, Brooklyn, Morocco, London and New Delhi.
Originally from Paris, Christian describes museums as ‘dead places‘ with streets being ‘the best art galleries in the world‘. He says there is a ‘unique sensation‘ in doing artwork that is effectively illegal in most places. He doesn’t describe himself as a vandal, however, with his work attracting less and less trouble, as it becomes more accepted in society, particularly through the right placement of his pieces.
For subject matter, most stencils are based on local people; those people that represent the true culture of the locations he visits.
Christian asserts that his technique is very basic with the use of a picture or photo as a reference simply for proportion for his stencils, which involve cutting into cardboard. The stencils are placed over ideal areas in urban locations like bins, peeling walls and other unassuming areas to be painted over. ‘For spray cans my two favourite brands are Montana Gold and Sabotaz‘.
ⓒ Christian Guémy
I asked Christian what his thoughts on Banksy, the UK street artist that I see a lot of in London:
‘Banksy is just the best street artist in the world according to me, not for his style, that I find sometimes weak, or even his messages, but for the perfect attitude of this dude. He’s straight, bold and sincere. His last fake pet shop in New York and the ‘Cans’ festival are both testimonies that he’s a genius’.
Next for Christian is a street art festival in Casablanca, Morocco, where he headlines, thanks to raised awareness through his work in the south of the country in 2008.
Thanks C215, and best of luck for the future.