For more extensive artist's bio, articles and list of exhibitions, visit artist(s) website(s). Many of the images displayed on this site are copyrighted, and are used here only for purposes of education or critical review. All rights are reserved by the artists who created the works referenced herein.

Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

C215














C215's Biography :

"I try to interact with context, so I place in the streets elements and characters that belong especially to the streets. I like to show things and people that society aims at keeping hidden: homeless people, smokers, street kids for example"

Christian Guémy, also known as C215 is a Parisian street artist focused on stencil graffiti. Born in 1973, C215 started spray painting in 2005 and is today one of the finest, and most productive stencil artists on the street art scene.

His striking portraits of local people, children and especially his daughter Nina are expressive and distinctive in style. With his subjects always portrayed as proud and dignified, his images communicate on an universal level and draw attention to those that society has forgotten about. Although C215 has been writing and publishing poetry separately, the artist never adds text to his stencils, in order to give the viewer the full possibility of the interpretation. In his choice of backgrounds, layers of random, yet well selected found objects speak of passing time, with an outcome that is both, aesthetical and meaningful.

His elaborate stencils- if outside a gallery- appear in the streets of various cities all over the globe, such as New Delhi, London, Istanbul, Fes, Rome, Barcelona, and Paris.
Lighting up the urban spaces they decorate, every stencil has a reason to exist in its specific, well thought of place and all his pieces are hand cut and sprayed originals with a mix of found objects.

C215's favourite topic is portraits, as faces have an universal message that everybody, no matter who, will understand and be moved by. But "In the end, behind the portraits, the question is always freedom and dignity in the face of a capitalist daily life system."



















Critic by Christina Grammatikopoulou

Somewhere between the roads and buildings, invisible for the official maps and postcards, lies the heart of the city.

It’s the dreams and actions of the people who cross it daily. It’s the stranger that passes you by –and maybe someday you’ll get to meet. It’s your friend that waits for you around the corner. It’s all the memories you have from a specific place.

It’s you.

In his stencilled portraits, C215 (Christian Guémy) captures the heart of the city, by paying homage to the people who constitute the city, especially to those who live in its streets, like children and homeless people. Through monumental portraits, they become the icons of the temple of the city; sometimes you can even see a circular line surrounding their faces, like a halo.

Stencil, which is usually a very simple and quick to means propagate ideas by spraying onto a wall over the same matrix, turns into an artistic medium in its own right and C215 manages to break its limits by making the artistic gesture visible within the final work. Behind the lines of the portraits one can see the artist’s hand drawing lines on paper, carving the matrix and applying the colour over it. The multiple lines of the design, that hold the matrix together, become lines of expression, running the faces like roads in a map.

It is right on these fine lines –unreached by the spray can- where the image blends with the background, and the faces become one with the city where they belong.

These faces will not stay on these walls for long; eventually they will succumb to the forces of time, wearing out, aging, like the real faces of the people they portray.

C215 has an immense number of faces in his pictorial vocabulary, some coming from real life observance, whereas others refer to art history. He carefully selects among them the ones that “belong” to each city or each neighbourhood: Caravaggesque images on the walls of Rome, Ancient Goddesses for Athens, poor children on the walls of the favelas.

For his latest works in Barcelona, he has selected a diverse range of faces, that seem to emerge out of explosions of colour. A homeless person in MACBA, right above the corner where the homeless usually stay for the night, a portrait of party girl Edie Sedgwick near the bars of Riera Alta, a street artist in San Antoni, a Botticelli Virgin in Raval (already destroyed by now), children with bright faces, even the artist himself, greet us on our way to work and accompany us through our walks.

They become familiar faces in the crowd, a part of tomorrow’s memories.


C215 “Barcelona”

São os sonhos e as ações das pessoas que se cruzam a cada dia. É o desconhecido que passa ao seu lado e que algum dia, talvez, vocês irão se conhecer. É o amigo que te espera ao virar a esquina. São todas aquelas memórias de um lugar específico.

É você.

Em seus retratos de stencil, C215 (Christian Guémy) captura o coração da cidade, rendendo uma homenagem às pessoas que a constituem, especialmente àqueles que vivem nas ruas, como meninos e indigentes. Através de retratos monumentais, tornam-se ícones do templo da cidade. Às vezes é até possível perceber uma linha circular em volta do rosto, como se fosse uma auréola.

O stencil, que em geral é um meio simples e fácil de propagar as ideas, já que se aplica o spray na parede sobre uma mesma matriz, converte-se em um meio artístico em si mesmo e C215 consegue ultrapassar seus limites, deixando o gesto artístico visível no trabalho. Entre as linhas dos retratos é possível ver a mão do artista desenhando as linhas sobre o papel, talhando a matriz e aplicando a cor. As múltiplas linhas do desenho, que mantém a unidade da matriz, tornam-se linhas de expressão, cruzando o rosto como caminhos de um mapa.

É justamente sobre estas linhas – onde o spray não alcança – que a imagem se funde com o fundo, e os rostos se unem com a cidade a que pertencem.

Estes rostos não ficarão nestas paredes durante muito tempo; eventualmente sucumbirão às forças do tempo, desgastando-se, envelhecendo, como os rostos reais das pessoas que representam.

C215 possui um imenso número de rostos em seu vocabulário pictórico, alguns procedentes da observação da vida real, enquanto outros fazem referência à história da arte. Seleciona cuidadosamente entre elas as que “pertencem” a cada cidade ou a cada bairro: imagens de Caravaggio nas paredes de Roma, antigas deusas em Atenas, meninos de rua nas favelas.

Em seu último trabalho em Barcelona, selecionou uma ampla gama de rostos que parecem surgir de explosões em cor. Um indigente no MACBA em cima das paredes, um retrato de Edie Sedgwick próximo aos bares da Riera Alta, uma artista de Street Art em San Antoni, uma Virgen de Botticelli no Raval (já destruída), meninos com rostos radiantes e inclusive o próprio artista, interceptam nosso caminho ao trabalho e nos acompanham durante nossos passeios.

Se tornam rostos familiares entre a multidão, uma parte da memória do amanhã.

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