I’m back in LA and catching my breath from a very busy but amazing trip to Paris. After my “Earth Crisis” installation at the Eiffel Tower during the COP 21 last November, Galerie Itinerrance and I discussed a follow-up art show and murals to build on the concept and aesthetics of the “Earth Crisis” installation. I worked hard in the ensuing months to create new pieces of environmentally-themed art as well as creating new versions of some older works in the aqua and blue colorway that I used for the Earth Crisis globe. The brand new Galerie Itinerrance space is large and beautiful, so I made some larger scale works to anchor the new body of work.
The trip started off a little bit rocky when two of the nine art crates shipped from LA didn’t arrive in Paris. Of course, they were the two crates containing the supplies I needed to begin my three new murals planned for Paris. On top of that, the weather forecast called for rain basically every day for the duration of the trip. The crew and I used our forced downtime to visit the Louvre, which I had never done on any of my many previous trips to Paris. Street artist JR had a great installation on the glass pyramid in front of the Louvre, which seemed to me to be as big a coup as my installation at the Eiffel Tower. I guess the lunatics have been given run of a least a few corners of the asylum! Of course the inside of the Louvre is stunningly ornate and beautiful, and the paintings are too much to absorb in a day. Even though my taste in art is much more contemporary than classical, the collection in the Louvre is nothing short of awe-inspiring and extremely humbling. I’m very glad I went.
Our materials finally arrived, and we caught some rain-free windows to jump on the murals. I realized that all the hours the crew and I have been putting into walls have made us faster, and we finished everything on time, even with the rain delays. From what I was told, this summer has been the rainiest summer on record in Paris since the time measuring rain was invented. Though it was a big inconvenience, if the consistent rain serves as concrete evidence of climate change, then I guess it was an appropriate accompaniment to my art. I was incredibly moved by the response of the Parisians who gathered daily, rain or shine, to watch us work on the murals. When we finished the “Delicate Balance” mural, the assembled crowd cheered and clapped for a couple of minutes. I’m used to being chased, yelled at, questioned, and sometimes arrested for doing public art, so to be cheered was pretty emotional.
It is very important for me to have an outdoor, free public art component to my art shows, and I was happy I was able to paint an Earth Crisis mural outside the gallery and to have the Earth Crisis globe installed in the courtyard on the night of the opening. On top of that, under the globe, Slimkid from the Pharcyde and Z-Trip DJ’ed and moved the crowd. The turnout to the opening was huge, and the crowd was so supportive, and bonus – it didn’t rain! The indoor/outdoor art and music combination was incredible and couldn’t have happened without a dedicated effort on behalf of the gallery crew specifically – Mehdi and Baimba; and my crew – Dan Flores, Nic Bowers, Rob Zagula, and photographer Jon Furlong; and DJ’s Slimkid and Z-Trip as well as Lorrie Boula and Kevin Abrantes. Thanks y’all!
There are really too many people to thank, but I have to express my gratitude to so many Parisians for their enthusiastic support of my work. Many of the French I encountered apologized for not speaking English well, which seemed a bit absurd to me considering the cliché that French people hate anyone who doesn’t speak French! On the contrary, I’m a bit ashamed that I’m not multi-lingual. Regardless, I think the art spoke a universal language that communicated the idea that we are one people on one planet! Let’s not forget that whatever language we speak or whatever country we reside in, we are in this all together.