BRING­ING GRAF­FITI TO THE PUBLIC

Ekaruna - - The Artist -

EpS him­self has clearly ben­e­fited from that kind of ad­ver­tise­ment, and he has been tak­ing on sev­eral graf­fiti-re­lated projects with firms, col­lec­tives and in­di­vid­u­als. One of them is through his work­shop at the Color Academy, near Tay­ouneh, where he ini­ti­ates kids and adults in graf­fiti and art as a whole, teach­ing them about the history of street art, the dif­fer­ent styles and the few tech­niques that will be needed, af­ter a week’s time, to paint their own graf­fiti. “I fully know that most peo­ple who come to my work­shop won’t pro­ceed to be­come le­gends in the streets, buy­ing ma­te­rial and cov­er­ing neigh­bor­hoods with their names,” he ad­mits, “but it’s al­ways in­ter­est­ing to meet them and give them tools to bet­ter un­der­stand what they read on the streets of their city. As graf­fiti artists, we im­pose our art on oth­ers; it’s the na­ture of what we do. So ex­plain­ing to them why and how we do it is some­thing I find cru­cial.”

Last sum­mer, as another ex­am­ple of the bridge that now ex­ists be­tween the graf­fiti world and the gen­eral public, EpS painted the en­tirety of the huge kids’ play­ground at ABC Ashrafieh, to the de­light of visi­tors and chil­dren. His high­est achieve­ment to date, it is also one of the big­gest projects of its kind done en­tirely by a Le­banese. It took some time to achieve such goals and suc­cess in liv­ing from his art, but as the say­ing goes “the jour­ney is more im­por­tant than the des­ti­na­tion,” and his back­ground and trav­els had a great in­flu­ence on his work. “I grew up in Ivory Coast, and as a child I would mostly draw char­ac­ters with African fea­tures, since I take in­spi­ra­tion in what I see around me. I ar­rived in Le­banon and sure enough, the Ara­bic cul­ture strongly im­pacted my art. Char­ac­ters are my spe­cialty, and I ended up mix­ing the tra­di­tional b-boy style (that orig­i­nated in New York in the early 1980s, at the dawn of graf­fiti history) with fea­tures, clothes and de­tails that are as­so­ci­ated with Le­banon and the Arab world.”

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