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JJK e-magazine - - BALI -

o out­side to the right, and you’ll find us 30 me­tres away paint­ing,” Julien Tho­rax texted me. It was a lovely sunny day – even more so than usual, and there I was, out in broad day­light, watch­ing a group of peo­ple work­ing on a wall in the Canggu area. Tins of paint, spray paint cans, rollers and brushes were spread on the ground. I used to think of street art as some­thing clan­des­tine, done in the dead of night, in­volv­ing stay­ing a step ahead of the au­thor­i­ties. Times have def­i­nitely changed. “It’s been get­ting that way over the last 12 months,” Julien says. “Peo­ple have started to re­alise that this is more than just graf­fiti, that it can be beau­ti­ful. It’s be­com­ing more and more no­ticed.” Street art has moved on from be­ing as­so­ci­ated with van­dals spray­ing their names on pub­lic prop­erty, be­com­ing a mod­ern form of art that we can all ap­pre­ci­ate. Things are a-chang­ing for the bet­ter, and Julien has a lot to do with it. A French guy born and raised in Switzer­land, who has worked all over Europe, Julien moved to Bali last year to start the Bali Street Art pro­ject. “I used to work for a big fi­nance com­pany and it got a lit­tle bor­ing,” he re­flects. “Once here, I spent a lot of time out­side, first doc­u­ment­ing the street art, then col­lect­ing it. Then I got into cu­rat­ing and or­gan­is­ing events.” Julien chose Bali be­cause he saw its po­ten­tial. “There are many grey walls on the sides of vil­las that are per­fect to paint on.” Julien – known as TraX on the street art scene – hasn’t ac­tu­ally painted a wall since com­ing to Bali; what he’s been do­ing goes be­yond that. “I think the street art scene in In­done­sia is un­der­rated when you com­pare it to Europe and Amer­ica. I’m try­ing to ex­pand it a bit, and put it on the global map.” He has launched the web­site bal­istree­tart.com and bought a graf­fiti sup­ply shop in Kuta. He also works with young and tal­ented lo­cal artists, and has in­vited some in­ter­na­tional ones to the is­land so that they can share their skills. “I’m coach­ing a few artists, get­ting them to paint a big mu­ral in or­der to get more vis­i­bil­ity on so­cial me­dia and the global scene. There are a lot of tal­ented artists around the world, so paint­ing a 2x2-me­tre wall doesn’t get you any­where; you’re to­tally in­vis­i­ble on the big plat­form of street art me­dia,” he ex­plains. With Bali Street Art, Julien plans to hold events that bring cre­ative peo­ple to­gether, events sim­i­lar to the bal­istree­tart.com launch party at Don­key Skate Park last month. “We had three, four guys from the ko­mu­ni­tas in Denpasar, around ten writ­ers from the Bali area, and six or seven in­ter­na­tional guests. All th­ese peo­ple were to­gether in one big place, with lots of walls to paint, and the re­sult was colour­ful.” If you missed that one, keep an eye out for up­com­ing events on the web­site, be­cause Julien tells me he has some­thing big planned for sum­mer this year. He says that so far the re­sponse has been ex­tremely pos­i­tive. He and the crew al­ways ask for per­mis­sion to paint on a wall. Some own­ers hes­i­tate at first, but af­ter Julien has shown

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