Interview: C215

Christian Guémy Aka C215, is a stencil artist based in Vitry-Sur-Sein, a commune in the southeastern suburbs of Paris, France. He began spray painting in 2005 and since then he traveled the world painting the streets with his intricate portraits, and colorful and distinctive style.

Street Art United States (SAUS) was lucky enough to score a few answers from this up and coming and down to earth artist.

First let me start by saying that you are by far one of my favorite street artists, and I am beyond psyched to be speaking with you. How are you?
I am very well thank you. Certainly the most beautiful period of my life.

Could you tell us more about yourself? Where are you from? And how or when did you start doing street art? Do you have a formal education?
I am 39. living in Vitry, near Paris. Happy father of a fantastic ten years old daughter : Nina.
Never been in art school, but in University to study history and languages.

Who are your favorite classic artists and from what era and why?
My favourite artists are painters from the Renaissance period, because of their skills and because of their humanist ideology.

What inspire you these days?
My daughter, as always. Love, in general.

In a video clip you said once: “I never go somewhere to paint but I paint wherever I go, it’s completely different!” Could you elaborate on that and why is it completely different?
You go somewhere to paint when you think “advertising” while graffiti is just a mark left behind you.

Is there a message in your art?
Not that sure, if not a call for more art in the streets and more freedom in peoples life.

What are your views on human rights, racism and injustice?
I am 40 so my societal illusions are slowly fading away. The new struggle is to keep hope.

I am from Boston, and recently we had unfortunate events that shook the whole nation. What is your takeabout this situation?
In the streets as in society, just one or a few stupids can damage very quick a whole society. Doing that they give more power to the dark forces of fear. Fear is the real enemy.

I understand that street art is considered vandalism, my question is, did you ever have a run-in with the law? And how did you resolve it?
Been relaxed last year in Barcelona. The year before in Paris. What I paint and the way I paint it are helping. I am not a vandal at all.

I interviewed Alice Pasquini last month, and she said that she painted with you before she went on her own. She also said that you taught her stencil techniques. How was it working with her?
No idea about what to say about her.

How was your trip to Haiti? Since you don’t go somewhere to paint, may I ask what was the purpose of your trip?
Discover Haiti, see the situation here and meet Haitians artists. You should google Jerry. He’s incredible.

How can I persuade you to come to Boston not to paint?
By recalling me how US laws are intolerant with graffiti is enough to keep me away. Though, I painting a lot in Brooklyn in the past.

What is the best advice you’ve ever how about how to be creative?
Stay yourself and don’t learn from one single artist. Learn from as many as you can.