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Papa Mesk interview Street Art

Papa Mesk

A French Street Art Figure For Over 30 Years

French graffiti artist and founding member of the Underground Tribal Painterz, Papa Mesk has been an iconic figure in the urban scene since the 1980s. His ultra-colorful palette reinforces his signature tags. Let’s take a look back at Papa Mesk’s successful career, made up of incredible collaborations and projects!

K. Hi there Papa Mesk, to get started, tell us how your passion for Street Art was born…

Papa Mesk interview Street Art

My first steps in graffiti started in 1985 with the appearance of the first tags on the walls of Paris. My brother « PICT » was taking a lot of pictures of stencils and graffiti at that time. We immediately shared this passion and started creating our own in 1986.

K. Founding member of the UTP Crew, can you often return to the history of this collective. To what extent did it contribute to the development of your style?

Papa Mesk interview Street Art

The  » Underground Tribal Painterz  » was an association of the graffiti artists: PICT, Vatos, Ranx, Hem, Number6, Move and Reas. Each of them had a unique style that naturally influenced my own thereafter. This association was founded in 1989. We painted our first « frescoes » later that year.

K. When you’re working on canvas, how does a session start?

I like to start my paintings instinctively, without a predefined plan and without sketching. I like this total freedom of expression. Mistakes are often part of the final composition, or even highlighted. It’s part of my freedom of gesture.

30 yearz ina di business… n°1

Mixed Media (45 x 60 cm)

De la rue aux galeries… !

Mixed Media (45 x 63 cm)

I start with a spray can or marker with different colored inks. In a second session, I add a lot of details with fine Posca.

K. At what point do you consider a work to be finished?

A work is never finished. Sometimes I go back to the paintings I did 20 years ago to make them evolve because my vision has changed. When I moved my studio, I rediscovered old paintings that I had been storing. Putting them together with my new paintings made me want to rework them and bring them up to date.

K. How did you experience the transition from walls to canvas?

Papa Mesk interview Street Art

It took me a while to adapt to these new formats. It was about one or two years before I could claim to have a real mastery of these new media. It was almost harder to create in small and more detailed space than in human scale with large flat colors on walls that were two meters high. Because graffiti was originally designed to be seen in large, thick strokes. The transition to canvas was not easy!

K. There are also small objects covered entirely in graffiti in your gallery: trains, buses, spray paint cans and even a Japanese fan. How did you choose them?

I have always liked to work on small urban vehicles such as trucks, trains, buses, etc. These miniature objects are, in my opinion, the ideal medium for graffiti because their street symbolism is strong. These miniature objects are in my eyes the ideal support to make graffiti because they carry a strong street symbolism. I love to use figurines that represent part of the street, it’s a great way to bring street art culture into your home.

Spray 2 multi mesk

Metal Sculpture (7 x 20 cm)

We bring colorz!

Metal Sculpture (23 x 6 cm)

R.A.T.P. : respect all true painterz ! n°2

Metal Sculpture(19 x 3 cm)

Black & colorz spray

Metal Sculpture (7 x 20 cm)

K. What message do you wish to convey through your work?

My first message is positivity. Creating, doing graffiti for me, is like offering flowers to people. We give a little breathing space to the viewers with a desire to share joy!

Papa Mesk interview Street Art
Fresco by Papa Mesk and Pict in Val-de-Fontenay (94)
Plateau Urbain / La Grange (15 x 6 meters)
Papa Mesk

Papa Mesk: 30 Years in the Graffiti Game

Papa Mesk interview Street Art
Sponsor: Mairie de Fontenay / Dimensions: 13 x 3.5 m / Rue Jean Zay / Val-de-Fontenay, 2018

2019: Creation of a fresco for BNP on the A86 freeway in Val de Fontenay (120 m x 2 m high)

Multiple frescoes created in the neighborhoods in and around Paris

Launch of a cushion collection in collaboration with ArtPilo

2018: Inauguration of the room « 308 Papa Mesk » at the Mercure Hotel in Val-de-Fontenay

Papa Mesk interview Street Art
Room 308 of the Mercure hotel (Val-de-Fontenay) decorated by Papa Mesk / ©Papa Mesk

2007 à 2009: 3D Texture Mapper for Mac Guff Line for the movies :  » Moi Moche et Méchant  » by Pierre Coffin & Chris Meledandri,  » Chasseur de Dragon  » by Guillaume Ivernel, Lighter for the series  » Pat et Stan  » by Pierre Coffin

1999: Creation of a fresco for the Marcel Landowski space in Boulogne.

1989 à 1993: Creation and realization of three frescos for the municipality of Fontenay-sous-bois.

Papa Mesk’s Gallery

Multi mesk n°25

Mixed Media (54 x 81 cm)

Red wild computarized

Mixed Media (75 x 100 cm)

Empire state of mind…!

Mixed Media (60 x 80 cm)

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