It is only this year, last 2 December in Paris, that I created my very first street art collage. For a couple of weeks I had watched tutorials and studied the art of making street paste-ups and also contacted several artists to learn about their practice. As a perfectionist, I am always aiming at doing it right from the first attempt. I am thankful to talented LeValet who answered and shared his practice with me: kraft paper, ink and glue.
Last October in Brussels, I equipped myself with all that is needed to make collages. But only when I went to join the Act up Paris week, could I truly find the first meaningful opportunity to get to real paste-up action. As many of you know, I love spray paint and have been using it to complete murals or tell my stories with cuteness and happiness. Gradually I am moving towards making art with a more collective meaning and Act up Paris event came on point.
Act up Paris Exhibition 2017 – Halles des Blancs Manteaux Paris. From left to right : Fred Zag, Anthea Missy, Bruno Fontaine; December 2017.
The story goes back to June 2017 as I was visiting London and went in Bricklane to check it out.
Street art paste-ups in Bricklane London, June 2017. Courtesy: Anthea Missy
Street- artists were competing to paste-up faster than each other in this street judging by the thick layers of posters when you looked close. It inspired me and so I decided to try that but differently. I envisioned my collage at this precise moment, bigger, well cut in an original shape, and also totally hand-made.
From what I did not like I learnt what I wanted. No gradient, but colours, and colour blocks. A white that is optic white too, as a foundation.
It could have been a fair choice to choose to print the artwork, knowing paper is fragile and does not last for long in the streets. But also important: the perception of inner quality that I need to feel in my work no matter how long it lasts for on a wall.
A couple of months later after the impression collage street art left on my mind, I prepared my Ambigender Lovers carefully and chose to make them with my hands, real paint and not to shy away with fast printing.
I got lucky to find a nice place near Saint-Denis metro station where I could hang my kraft paper and reproduce the design with pencil first and draw over with oil markers. Even then I enjoyed being in a glass ceiling corridor full of light and space to prepare the work.
Ambigender Lovers, rue Veille du Temple, Paris, Anthea Missy.
I did not have any turquoise colour so painted the skirt in blue and inserted my organic patterns in green so as to create a half tone impression that the skirt is turquoise by ‘blending’ green and blue. I was really happy on the moment, turning a possible frustration into a creative solution to achieve my expectation.
When I came the wall n°23 rue du Temple that was empty the day before was already covered with a printed canvas photography. I had heard the council of le Marais usually comes to clean the art on walls, and that artists are quick to cover them with art :).
Full paste up footage in Rue Vieille du Temple, La Marais, Paris. Courtesy: Bruno Fontaine
I was accompanied by a long time friend Bruno who had come to see our show for Act Up Paris and asked him to record the process of pasting in the street. To be honest I thought my piece was quite small compared to the human scale work I wanted to create, but it was all about doing something nice right there and nothing else so I carried on and took notes for my next works.
I did it ! First collage, first success ! The glue was nice and the colours did not wash out. I was happy that the colours were really vibrant, another positive side of using real pigments and not offset printing 😀
I left and moved on. Later, I received the good news by Street Art Magazine that they had loved the piece and want to feature it in their January publication. Not only did they like it but they had also read about the Ambigender story and went on to chase the Ambigender Lovers I had painted earlier on the same week at Quai de Marne 19 th arrondissement.
Sadly they told me the collage had disappeared over the night and that they suspect someone to have stolen the picture. They said it is now common practice for some people to take out collages and street art pieces to build up their own collection. I was a bit disappointed that my efforts did not stand at least for a couple of days for people to enjoy in flesh. Yet, the achievement feeling made me full.
When you paint in the street you know your piece is challenged by weather and human decisions to be kept or covered. Luck and universal forces decide ! I like this part and feel detached once the work is done.
A bit like love can fade away over time, the nostalgia takes over the fresh feeling of love at first sight.
Ambigender Lovers by Anthea Missy , Quai de Marne, Paris 19e, November 2017. Courtesy: The Dusty Rebel.
Graffiti is faster, there is more adrenaline; while with collage creating art is a more relaxing experience. Graffiti does not ultimately require any preparation whereas the success of a pasted-up artwork mainly relies on careful preparation. There is something funny in pasting art up while I have painted so many walls with spray. It seemed a bit like a wishy washy type of work before I tried, but then the look and feel of a collage is more sensual than graffiti. People are more friendly towards collage while with graffiti you get stronger reactions. I like the fact that with the same picture you get different reactions and enjoy completely different experiences just from 2 different mediums to do street art.
Expect some new works to pop- up within the coming days.