American and French artists rekindle hope on giant mural of Paris
PARIS >> A colorful human face emerges from the waves like a call for hope above a Parisian street, in a giant message of optimism from American and French street artists painting a huge mural in the French capital slowly emerging from viral isolation.
Illustrator AJ Dungo, 29, who lives in California, and French graffiti artist Da Cruz, 44, started work in mid-June on the 25-meter (82-foot) high mural in the 19th arrondissement, to the north. -est of Paris.
The project, which will be inaugurated on Saturday, is a symbol of creative rebirth and reconnection of the two cultures after confinement.
Da Cruz, who grew up in this Parisian neighborhood and used to travel regularly to different continents, said it was difficult for him to see his plans halted in the midst of the pandemic.
“I work in the street because I like to get my message across to a lot of different people, and I miss hearing people speak another language and being able to communicate with them through painting… There is always a bridge that is created by colors, ”he said. told The Associated Press.
The project is supported by the French American Mural Art (FAMA) program, led by the United States Embassy, in association with the local Ourcq Living Colors festival.
AJ Dungo and Da Cruz chose to depict stylized waves at the bottom of the mural, and an explosion of color above surrounding a central human face, with inspirations from South America and Africa.
“We wanted to do something really upbeat and celebratory, because after the tragic year that everyone went through, we thought it might help the community lift their spirits and give them some hope with a picture significant, ”said AJ Dungo.
For AJ Dungo, known for his 2019 graphic novel “In Waves”, the giant mural is also a first – the largest work of art he has ever produced. “I think the last thing I painted was my niece’s bedroom for her sixth birthday. I liked a small mural of an elephant, pencil and butterflies, ”he said.
For over a year, artists around the world have been limited by virus restrictions. California has gradually lifted most of the measures in recent weeks. France began to reopen its economy last month, including museums, theaters, cinemas and concert halls.
Da Cruz said “we were confined (at home), released, we went out again”, so the mural represents “this human energy that makes us overcome the difficulties of life”.
AJ Dungo pointed out that for many artists last year meant “a drought of inspiration”.
“People cared more about their livelihoods, families and loved ones to even create meaningful art,” he said.
Some have been very productive, he added, “but generally the consensus among the creatives that I have met has been like a very depressing and difficult time… So you can expect a great explosion of expression in the months and years to come, as people are gonna have a lot to say about what we’ve all been through collectively.