Meet vis­ual artist Raphael Fed­erici: neo-pop expressionism never popped so bright.

SHAR­ING HIS MES­SAGE ON WALLS IN PARIS AND BE­YOND, RAPHAEL REDERICI IS MAK­ING A COLOUR­FUL IM­PRES­SION WORLD-WIDE.

SHIBUI Issue - - CONTENTS - CURATOR BRISEIS ONFRAY DE­SIGNER RAPHAEL FED­ERICI PHOTOS CON­TRIB­UTED BY RAPHAEL FED­ERICI COUN­TRY FRANCE

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP, AND WHERE ARE YOU BASED NOW?

I grew up in the South of France in a lit­tle pro­vin­cial town called Aix-en-Provence. I left my home town for Paris, where I have lived for the past 10 years now. Since my de­par­ture, I have trav­elled a lot. Still, France will al­ways be my favourite coun­try to live in.

PARIS IS STILL CON­SID­ERED ONE OF EUROPE’S MOST BEAU­TI­FUL CITIES AND IS THE EPICENTRE OF ONE OF THE FINEST ART CUL­TURES OF THE WORLD. WITH SUCH A RICH HIS­TORY TO FOL­LOW, WHAT IS IT ABOUT YOUR NEO-POP, CONTEMPORARY STYLE THAT PARISIANS (AND TOURISTS) LOVE SO MUCH?

Paris is so in­spir­ing and I ad­mire it daily. I am in love with its im­pos­ing cultural en­ergy. I call my move­ment “Neo pop expressionism”, be­cause I feed off child­hood mem­o­ries. I grew up with a language that was spe­cific to my gen­er­a­tion – Amer­i­can comics, block­buster movies and very colour­ful videos games – but I also deeply ad­mire the work of the Old Mas­ters. I do not con­sider my­self as a graf­fiti artist even though I much ap­pre­ci­ate this form of art. My work is less harsh and more uni­ver­sal. I think that this is why some of my fres­coes are so ap­pre­ci­ated by tourists.

YOU HAVE A UNIQUE YET IN­FLU­EN­TIAL TAL­ENT AS A VIS­UAL ARTIST. WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT STREET ART WOULD BE­COME YOUR CRE­ATIVE PROFESSION?

Street art is a unique and rapid way to share work. As I travel, I en­joy tak­ing over walls that in­spire me. They mark my jour­neys and are an in­di­ca­tor of the places I have been to. Through th­ese walls, which are ac­ces­si­ble to all, I want to share my mes­sage and why not make passersby smile as I do it?

DID YOU AT­TEND A DE­SIGN SCHOOL OR IS IL­LUS­TRA­TION A HOBBY THAT YOU MASTERED FROM CHILD­HOOD? HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR STYLE?

Both! When I was a kid, I re­lent­lessly de­picted fic­tional char­ac­ters on every bit of pa­per I could find. I am lit­er­ally ob­sessed with draw­ing and cre­at­ing. I went to a de­sign school and spe­cialised in ob­ject de­sign. But

some­how this path­way didn’t suit me. I wanted to be free of con­ven­tions and guide­lines and let my char­ac­ters es­cape into the city.

WHEN AND WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST OUTDOOR ART­WORK, AND WHY?

My first outdoor art­work was in a street in the South of France. I drew a char­ac­ter on the wall, just for fun.

I was just a teenager at the time! My first ‘of­fi­cially’ recog­nised outdoor piece was a col­lab­o­ra­tion with an artist named Combo, 6 years ago. He in­vited me to a street art ‘ses­sion’ with him and I loved it. Now it’s more of an ob­ses­sion. I feel the need to im­merse the streets with my char­ac­ters and share my vi­sion of the world with as many as I can reach. I think that so­cial me­dia is a cru­cial tool when it comes to judg­ing the im­pact of my work on its sur­round­ings. If it is shared, com­mented on, hash-tagged … I can have an ap­prox­i­mate idea of how other peo­ple in­ter­pret it and I am of­ten sur­prised by the amount of for­eign­ers who have picked up on it.

AS ‘PUB­LIC’ ART, WHAT MES­SAGE OR ROLE DOES YOUR STREET ART­WORK REP­RE­SENT TO THE COM­MU­NITY?

The mes­sages are many and var­i­ous. But my work is of­ten a re­flec­tion on how I per­ceive so­ci­ety. Some­times it’s more of a crit­i­cism, some­times it’s more of a pos­i­tive mes­sage. I try not be too sanc­ti­mo­nious. I gave up try­ing to con­trol the in­ter­pre­ta­tions oth­ers give to my cre­ations.

I still be­lieve that artists have a tremen­dous im­pact on civil­i­sa­tion to­day. They help us see things dif­fer­ently and raise ques­tions to prob­lems in ways we hadn’t thought of be­fore.

YOUR WORK IS TYP­I­CALLY VI­BRANT AND COLOUR­FUL. HOW DO YOU CHOOSE A WALL OR VENUE, AND WHAT IN­SPIRES EACH DE­SIGN?

My trav­els have played a gi­ant role in the colour pal­ettes, sub­jects and themes I chose to ex­pose. The graphic as­pect is very im­por­tant to me, but the en­vi­ron­ment is not al­ways as es­sen­tial, even if

I love adapt­ing my works to each en­vi­ron­ment and vice versa. I be­lieve that our ur­ban land­scapes need to be con­stantly up­graded, the more in­ge­niously, the bet­ter! I mostly look for walls that are vis­i­ble and eas­ily no­tice­able. I want to bring a touch of colour to all the ar­eas I find too grey.

YOU HAVE BEEN PAINTING YOUR WAY AROUND THE WORLD SINCE 2012. WHAT WAS THE MOST IN­TER­EST­ING PROJECT AND PLACE THAT YOU HAVE VIS­ITED? AND WHAT WAS IT THAT YOU PAINTED AND WHY?

My favourite place to paint was Rio, in the Favela Baby­lo­nia. It was a jour­ney full of strong emo­tions and a bit of dan­ger, but the con­tact with the lo­cals and the coun­try in gen­eral was very im­pres­sive. The trip to Brazil was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

One of my big­gest fres­coes was in Cape Town. It was in front of a school­yard and thou­sands of kids played around me every day as I painted. We also cre­ated a fresco all to­gether. An epic and very emo­tional mo­ment.

WHAT IS THE LARGEST OR FAVOURITE PROJECT YOU HAVE CRE­ATED, AND WHERE IS IT?

My largest project was for the “Nuit Blanche” event in Paris. The Town

Hall of the 3rd ar­rondisse­ment of Paris gave me carte blanche, al­low­ing me to do what­ever I wanted in it.

It was a huge chal­lenge. It took me over 3 months to pre­pare for it: a solo show with works on can­vas, sculp­ture, an or­ches­tra, light installations, good­ies. For­tu­nately, it turned out great!

DID YOU AL­WAYS WANT TO TRAVEL OR DID YOUR TALENTS TAKE YOU AROUND THE WORLD?

I never trav­elled much as a kid. My par­ents lived mod­estly and we couldn’t af­ford big jour­neys. As soon I was able to travel in­de­pen­dently and for the pur­pose of my work, I vowed to never stop trav­el­ling and dis­cov­er­ing new en­vi­ron­ments.

WHERE DO YOU THINK STREET ART ORIGINATED FROM?

The Las­caux caves, hi­ero­glyph­ics, rev­o­lu­tion­ary mu­ral paint­ings in Mex­ico … to me street art is a way of ex­pres­sion be­fore be­ing a move­ment.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TRAVEL DES­TI­NA­TION AND WHY?

My favourite travel des­ti­na­tion is Ibiza. I have friends there who showed me some of its many se­crets and I have fallen in love with it.

WHERE IN PARIS DO WE FIND YOUR BEST WORK?

The 2nd dis­trict is my play­ground.

WHAT’S IN THE SKETCHBOOK FOR 2018?

Yes. In Jan­uary 2018, I will go to Mi­ami with two street artist friends. Our goal is to make a film of the en­tire ad­ven­ture. The project will de­pend on the suc­cess of the crowd fund­ing cam­paign we just started on Kiss Kiss

Bank Bank. Our goal is to paint fres­coes, meet other artists, visit gal­leries and doc­u­ment our dis­cov­er­ies and col­lab­o­ra­tions along the way. There is a Face­book page you can fol­low us on, with daily ex­clu­sives and cool bonuses for in­vestors. Join us!

“I CALL MY MOVE­MENT “NEO-POP EXPRESSIONISM”, BE­CAUSE I FEED MEM­O­RIES.” OFF CHILD­HOOD

LEFT TO RIGHT French artist Raphael Fed­erici; Wall art Ivry (94), Paris 2016; Street art in Raphael's home town Aix en Provence.

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