If there’s one street artist that didn’t stop amazing us in 2009, it’s C215 aka Christian Guemy. The Parisian stencil artist with an undeniable unique cutting style has been a busy bee the past year! With many trips, shows, a forced pause by meningitis, collaborations and amazing work after work C215 has grown visibly. And if that wasn’t enough Christian turned the neighborhood he resides in (Vitry-sur-seine) into a real street art gallery, inviting some of his favorite artists to paint the streets along side of him.
Overall 2009 showed amazing works of C215. His style evolved greatly, but he also had a few copycats along the way and even someone stealing one of his pieces right of the streets. Recently we started a series of articles dedicated on the year 2009 of C215. Enough reason to ask the man himself how he experienced 2009 and what he will be up to in 2010!
“my “black and white sketching” period based on reality is now over.”
When we look through your Flickr profile it seems 2009 has been a very productive year for you: great collaborations, great trips and amazing new works. How did you experience 2009?
2009 has been very active indeed. Above all my father relationship with Nina is really the most important thing in life for me. And this side of my life is like a rainbow. I have a 6 years old daughter who became now a very interesting person.
2009 was nevertheless a very complicated year, separated in two parts, before and after my meningitis in July. I have been very lucky by landing in Vitry-sur-Seine one year ago, painting there a lot with a very good feedback from my neighborhood and having endly a studio, so that I developed a more professional work than in 2008. I think I am not a beginner in stencil anymore since this summer disease which was a nightmare, and my “black and white sketching” period based on reality is now over.
Is it hard maintaining that relationship with Nina while you’re abroad quite a lot? And is she as artistic as her father?
The relation with Nina is a part-time one. I don’t believe in education but in example. I am not interrupting my creative process when she is visiting me since she’s a baby, creating stencils and painting them is something she knows really well. I am involved in teaching her classical things, like sketching a lot. She’s now 6 and cutting by herself, and better stencils than Blek could cut already.
How did you got Meningitis? It was during a trip to Morocco right?
I got meningitis in morocco and had to stay lying in full darkness with massive headache and nausea during 3 weeks. It was a good break in the year and time to think about my process.
We heard you are like the ambassador of Vitry-Sur-Seine; can you tell us about that?
I am ambassador of nowhere. I just live in Vitry and try to put art in my district streets as every street artist should do. But most of them prefer to run the famous streets where they are sure to be shot and being put in street art books. I am very “back in the days” and painting my hood.
You say your period based on reality is now over. We might miss that, but what’s next? How will you be evolving yourself in 2010?
You should not miss the reality sketches period, since it will continue: I will sketch my whole life with stencils, but the difference is that I will try not to sell my sketches anymore, and create more pieces fully dedicated to galleries and collectors, made of stencils combinations and not only reflecting a reality picture, and maybe more positive and luminous subjects to escape this sordid and hopeless social reality.
Will we also see a change in cutting style over 2010?
Cutting style is something always evolving. I will develop more complex stuff anyway in the future. I was complaining a lot about copycats in 2009, but they helped me to go forward and explore new fields to leave them behind advertising for me and my past …
Are there already trips planned for 2010?
I plan to focus on Europe this year, because I love my continent, so soft, so quite… Spain, Portugal and Italia are my favorite places here. But I will also fly to Jamaica, Mexico and Thailand. For the pleasure, no special project here, or just personal ones.
To us, you did one of your most amazing collaborations in 2009: The collabo with Logan Hicks. Do you have any collaborations planned in 2010?
I will do collaborations this year for sure, because there are always opportunities, and the one with Logan was simply a dream. He’s a very honest and a hard working person, easy to collaborate with, and he’s very nice in private life. I would like to continue with him, and he seemed to be satisfied too, but both of us have strong personal ambitions, so I wonder if it will continue. Anyway he’s one of the artists I know I am respecting the most.
Also, in 2009 you got quite a few amazing artists out to Vitry to paint with you, will you continue to be doing so in 2010?
I will develop art in the streets in Vitry-sur-Seine as much as I can, and I will work out to involve good and talented friends here for sure. But I prefer to keep this Vitry project informal instead of a defined organization, even if we already think to publish a Vitry Street Art book at the end of next year…
We think that the amount of stencil artists has reached its peak in 2009, and 2010 this scene will be thinned out a bit. Any views on this?
I don’t have any view about the scene I see more and more stencil artists coming to me… Most of them cut portraits in pre-existing style, while this technique allows so much… I just know some good artists who do their best to develop their own style and improve in quality.. thinking about Izolag, Logan Hicks, Adam 5100, Orticanoodles and a few others.
Do you have any specific goals for 2010?
No specific goal in 2010, just painting as much as I can, and develop massive projects, indoors and outdoors.
Anything else to add, and are there any plans for 2010 you can already tell us a bit about?
That I’m happy to begin a new year, based on a positive feeling. I am already working a lot for my solo show in London in July, by signal gallery, the title is “Midnight Dreams”, based on a long and very personal story. I sincerely hope to depict more and more the Beauty of this world instead of showing only Misery. Reality when traveling so much in slums and poor areas can be very violent, and I need to escape for a while. I am now quite successful and do not feel so easy anymore by showing or selling suffering people, so I will try to stay honest and share my new joy and personal achievement by showing more and more Beauty. Light instead of Darkness. Dreams instead of Despair. I hope you will like it.