Up | Side | Down | Town PARIS, The Making Of


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Be under no illusions, this was somewhat collaborative to no end. I was involved in every single dimension of this project along the way; from fund-raising, to cleaning the site, to organising everyone on site and of course every level of the art work; from sketches for our proposal to the City of Paris to selecting colours & co-ordinating with various paint suppliers; as well as liasing with Street Society and the public as to which colours were in agreement with the local community. As late as just a week before beginning the project Centre Pompidou selling works on the street together with the help of Martin, my acting studio manager, and Katja, who was carrying out her internship with my studio and joined us for the Paris adventure for some 4 weeks. It was often far from glamorous and it was really the hearts - and of course hard working hands - of people that pulled this project over the finish line. The first stage was about cleaning the site. I was there, together with Martin & Katja and Alice Poncheaux and Lucile from the Street Society team along with others who came and went scrubbing the site. The City of Paris were late to appear to the site but after some tugging on the bureaucratic side of things they did, long last appear with power jet-washes and more effective cleaning equipment than we had started out with. Then came the marking out the primary pattern. I drew out all the lines and not far behind me friends, volunteers and people from both my studio and Street Society began painting and taping away. I was always there on site. I encouraged people how to paint but of course never exactly pushed on anyone forcibly! Even when tired I didn't become a Gordon Ramsay-like character. The mood was so often buouyant, joyful and intensively energetic. Day after day after day after day we toiled away. Once we had reached around half-way - that is painting all of the first layer of colours and marking out the pattern so people could continue painting the colours - I started drawing. After receiving an enormous order of permanent markers and equipment from Molotow we were set. Micah, who also made a lot of the documentation seen in this section, was there refilling pens and changing the tips. I simply danced around the site endlessly; sometimes mounting the crane to get up high and draw upside down; other times taking the pillars at eye height and moving through with a professional precision; the likes of which I had never exercised before. Some sections I came to use my opposite hand; particularly in sections where shorter lines were necessary. No sketches were made on to the background of painted colours. The buildings were drawn spontaneously and though I had visual aids, the mural grew entirely organically. I had a list of buildings to include; I knew about the stories of these buildings and had heard some of the audio too! Though most is in fact in French. The pictures speak largely for themselves but I wanted to again take this opportunity to thank everyone for their hardwork; the process was endless and people chipped in from all around the world; a list of the names who participated in the project I honoured writing on a spray-painted silver grid on the mural! It was a spectacular achievement for everyone involved, not least for those whom submitted their stories for the world to hear! Merci beaucoup!

City of Paris
City of Paris
The Street Society
The Street Society
Micah Levy, Chris Saunders & iphone documentation
Micah Levy, Chris Saunders & iphone documentation
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