«Mural at KURA Festival» by YVES PARADIS

Interview 29-04-2020 – In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic

Name of the Street Art piece that has modified the urban space: Mural at KURA festival

Location : Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany

Year : 2016

Mural part of the project »Pin the Whole» at KURA festival in Wittenberg. The concept was to present alternative use of urban wholes to create community engagement and share social and ecological values.

1- If you had to choose a Street Art piece that you created, as a transformation of the urban space, which one would you choose? How does this Street Art piece denote urban space metamorphosis?

I was invited to paint in a festival called KURA and they wanted to focus on artwork that bring awerness to the potential use of urban holes in the city area. Those can be empty spaces from destroyed bulding or barely used parking lot. I found it very inspiring to create a mural on that theme. Especially since in Montreal, where I grew up, there is various use for these spaces. We can transform these area in much more social and interactive places. And even provide much needed service to people. Particularly the one most in need.

Those where different approach I painted in my artwork and I hope it inspired people and the city to make better use of these urban holes. Plus it was a big boring grey wall that is now fully colorful. Which can only bring a bit more joy in the everyday life of people.

«Mural at Kura Festival» – Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany– 2016 – Yves Paradis

2- Why did you make this Street Art piece in this urban space? Was it the town hall or the property owner who authorized or asked you to create it? Can we consider this work as illegal/vandalism or legal, what is your criteria?

It was made part of the festival and therefore the city autorized to paint on one of this public wall. More precisely, this was the side wall of a high train track beside the main train station of the city.

«Mural at Kura Festival» – Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany– 2016 – Yves Paradis

3- How was this work integrated into the urban space? What was the interaction that the inhabitants of this city had with your project? Did they participate in its creation?

They didn’t participate but were curious in the process and the result. This is a small city and murals where still a new thing at that time for the citizen. It brought a new perspective for them regarding the idea of graffiti in general.

4-Do you think it is important that the inhabitants of the place participate during the production of your work and that they become modifying artists of the urban space or do you prefer to carry out your projects alone without anyone seeing you?

It depends on the production. For this one it was intresting to talk with the people a bit while I’m painting and ask them what they think and perseive of this artwork. But I also like to stay in my bubble when I paints. Depend on the mood and time I have to do the work.

Otherwise, I also worked with kids on some other murals made for schools and it was really intresting to have them participate in the process. This also shape their views on the medium and their relation with street art. Which is very important to develop more awereness on the social and artistic values of such projects.

5- According to you, what is the criteria that determines your Street Art work modifies the urban space and why is your work considered aesthetically well done?

If it can be view by most of the resident of the area where it’s painted, I think it makes it more relatable. Private courtyard walls are great but it won’t interact the same way with people. Thought, those are small jewels of the urban landscape that can be amazing to stumble upon.

I’m usually really happy with how my work turn out but of course I always see here and there some details that could have been done differently. But this is part of the process you eventually learn to let go and live with the actual result more than what you originally had in mind. Especially when you start with really detailed sketch. For me, it rarely turns out to be exactly the same. Somehow, the wall always have the last word in the creation process which gives its final personality to the piece.

«Mural at Kura Festival» – Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany– 2016 – Yves Paradis

6-What is the “historical future” of your work? Should we take care of it, preserve it and repaint it as if it were a museum’s piece of art? Or should it be allowed to age with the city itself?

I prefer to let it age and evolve with its environment. Wall paintings have more of an organic life and will change over time in a natural way. And exterior wall paintings are harder to preserve due to erosion and other degradation factors. But when you are really proud of one piece, it’s of course sometimes hard to see it vanish.

Although, I think it’s different for some pieces that have a strong and important historical values. Those should be handle by the city and states to maintain it’s cultural impact and the stories behind it. So much amazing murals have been lost over time while they had a major role to play in the ideas and moral they shared with the citizen.

7- How does your work add value to the urban space in which it is produced?

A mix of the answers from question 1, 4, 5 and 7.

8- What were the difficulties that you encountered during the completion of your work modifying the urban space?

The biggest challenges for me are often to get the proportions and compositions right. I always use a lot of time to make sure I’m happy with it. Since I usually work with a plan in mind, the rest of the production is more of a technical step by step process.

9- Why is urban art important to modify the urban space? What sort of projects are you planning to do in the future ?

I would like to make walls that have room for telling bigger and more complex stories. I have few ideas and themes in mind that I hope I will have the chance to paint on wall in the future.

    Interview conducted by Art Bill – journalist and owner of Street Art In Action.

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