6 Incredible French Street Artists in 2018

Updated on March 26, 2018
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I have worked as a writer in France for ten years, writing professionally for primarily entertainment and food publications.

Victor Castillo

Victor Castillo’s first forays into drawing involved reproducing cartoons, flirting with a surrealist world from the outset. Although his first shows were in 1993, the turning point of his career came irk 2004, when he moved to Barcelona. There he discovered the work of Goya and began to add classical elements to his works, breaking away from the childish icons that he used as a reference to a contemporary imaginary world. Today, Castillo lives in Paris, where he depicts a desolate world full of terrible children, shown in burlesque situations where the comedy is derived much from the figures themselves as from the anachronisms.

David Gouny

Since the late 2000's, David Gouny has been spreading his “fat virus” around the art world. His work has connections artists such as KAWS or Banksy. The symptoms of this invasion are a distortion of everyday objects, sprouting plastic protuberances which invite a degree of sarcasm. But these objects, although they are used every day, are not harmless. A watch, a Caddy, a remote drip, an enormous ring, a Converse All Star or a Vuitton bag. They are all symbols of humanity’s endless production, a production which has many negative side-effects: famine for some, debasement, dependence on material things and of course obesity for others.

Tomek

Tomek’s work is reflected by that of his crew, PAL. You either love it or hate it, but you can’t remain indifferent. Although its very reminiscent of NYC artist Futura. A cutting-edge artist for some, a cheat for others, Tomek creates a disconcerting effect by making extreme experimentation his leitmotiv. Yet when you learn how to observe him, you understand that although Tomek’s stroke may be impulsive, it is not random. The Parisian has complete mastery of his tag, as his street drawing is also an exercise that forms the basis of his studio work. In 2013, after having exhibited alongside Saeyo at the Galerie Association d’idées, the artist was part of the new État des lieux at the Galerie du Jour, with Saeyo and Moper.

Pantone

Pantone was born in Argentina and grew up in Spain. In his fifteen-year career in graffiti, he has visited some fifty towns and developed a style combining baffling optical illusions with his distorted letters. Since 2012, Pantone has regularly displayed work at group shows in Tokyo, Madrid, Sevilla, Barcelona, Bangkok, Paris and Amsterdam. Often accompanied by his fellow artists Dems333 and Sozyone, Pantone adorns the canvas with all the stylistic evolution that he initially developed and perfected on the wall. Today, all he needs is a solo show to really launch his career. This event is sure to happen in the coming months.

Nychos

Parents who hunted, a childhood marked by seeing animals skinned, recurring nightmares about hordes of rabbits, an aversion to mirrored signs on the road... Nychos’ experiences in his youth meant he needed to find an escape route. Drawing and graffiti helped him to fend off the demons of his past, by inserting them into his graphical world. Now, not only does he control them, he spreads them out on gigantic walls and exhibits them. From Torino to Detroit, via New York, his dismembered animals have travelled around the galleries of the world in 2013, and they’re coming to Paris soon.

Okuda

Apart from their friendship, Okuda also shares a certain penchant for colours and symbolism with Frangais Remed, expressed through a representation of human figures as well as the use of geometric shapes. Okuda does not restrict himself to just one medium, but endlessly experiments with various aspects of creativity: sculpture, installation, “hooded” nude male and female models... The Spanish artist uses all means necessary to discuss his main subject: the way we are blinded by the system, and our faith in an opaque society where leaders are represented as the puppets of power. Behind the apparent joviality of his pieces, Okuda really conveys some very sad messages.

Momo

Momo’s art is a question of balance. Balance between shapes, balance between lines, balance between colours. An advocate of painting as jovial abstraction, Momo is also a keen practitioner of contextual installation. Evidence of this is provided by his many interventions with his friend Eltono in New York, Rio de Janeiro and Besangon.

Momo is a concept in his own right. A geographical adventurer - born in California, he lived in Jamaica for six years and in New York for another six, and is now based in Paris - and a pictorial one. In 1999, Momo was twenty- four when he went to the island of Bob Marley where he co-founded Anti Social Social Club. He was accompanying a Norwegian girlfriend at the time. As he discovered the Jamaican lifestyle and culture, and expressed himself on the walls of the country’s cities, Momo understood that “abstract shapes and their concrete expression have a purpose and are useful to people”. For the artist, these shapes are “like songs without lyrics, without words. So what do the notes mean on their own? For me it all stems from curiosity. I use what I know, what I am familiar with, to see and discover new things. ” Curiosity. This helps us understand how Momo switches so easily from installation to painting, from canvas to wall, from concept to pure aesthetic, from hidden to unmissable. His experiments have obviously led him towards projects that some might call wacky. Like in 2008, when he and Eltono had fun playing with the wind, sea swell and tide to bring movement to wooden installations placed on the banks and pontoons of rivers and lakes in New York (the PLAF Project). Again with Eltono, Momo continued with his contextual research in 2011 in Rio de Janeiro, by creating a modular structure which they carted around and transformed in the Parque du Lage for the Rojo’s Nova festival. Still with Eltono, Momo was invited to Besangon in France, for fifty-two minimalist interventions named “Passive installations". Passive “because they could easily go unnoticed by someone standing in front of them. We made them from salvaged wood and, by making them stand in balance (no nails, no glue), we created small structures in the recesses of the walls that you see see all over the city”. This contextual work, as well as his street paintings, are not unlike those of another Frenchman by the name of OX, whose work Momo is very familiar with and with whom he hopes to collaborate one day. In the meantime, as ever, he travels. In Europe, one of his favourite destinations is Grottaglie, with its renowned Fame Festival and its ubiquitous host Angelo Milano, who is also a great friend of the American. The two men have met regularly since Momo first came to South Italy in 2010. As a sign of this mutual appreciation, in March 2013, Momo invited Angelo to travel with, him in his beloved Jamaica. A road trip that wasn’t just about painting, but also about dialogue with the local people. This dialogue immediately broke through the borders of Cuba’s past. Momo tells GAM, “In Cuba, there is one schedule for tourists and one for the locals who work. There’s no in-between, no leeway. Over there, they’re too stressed to break out of the routine that is imposed on them, and we were very far from the Jamaican state of mind. It made me sad, frustrated even. Not to mention their disgusting food. Even so, it’s a beautiful place.” We’re inclined to believe what this globetrotter says... Upon returning to Italy with Angelo, Momo revealed his first European solo show to the public. For the artist is not just an outdoor animal. Although he indisputably prefers large spaces, he is not averse to exhibiting his studio creations: it’s another way of travelling around the world. So he is invited by galleries and foundations, art centres and museums, like the Museo de Arte Contemporåneo in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he recently took part in Hecho en Oaxaca, alongside How & Nosm, Retna, Vhils and Sten & Lex. In late 2013, on the way back, Momo stopped in New York to try a new experiment: painting a wall whose forms can now be seen on the internet in augmented reality. In early 2014, the artist took advantage of the harsh winter produce new works and put on his first solo show in New Orleans (May Gallery), a city where he stays from time to time, for a change of scene.

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