The masked french artist…
Eric Zeking, known for its graffiti around Europe and maybe soon internationally, accepted to talk to me about what it’s like to be a street artist and his way to trigger our minds to reflection.
Jems Write : Since when are you a street artist ?
EricZeKing : I cannot tell you exactly, I’m a little over 35 years old and I started to paint since I was a young little guy ! But as a street artist, I guess I started less than 10 years ago.
JW : Where was your first stencil graffiti ?
EZK : I think I did my first one in Paris.
JW : Do you remember what was it exactly ?
EZK : Hum… I think it was some storm troopers from Star Wars.
JW : What gave you the desire of doing street art ?
EZK : Well it was not really a feeling of desire, let’s say, it was more a need. You know by seeing some graffiti in the street of Paris, some where really good and other weren’t. I told myself « If people dare to express themselves by doing this I could give it a try ! » You don’t need an authorization, you just need your own agreement because it is illegal and forbidden.
JW : Seriously ?!
EZK : Yes of course ! It is like €50,000 fine if you get caught and 6 months behind bars if I’m not wrong.
JW : So that’s why you’re keeping yourself kind of « Anonymous »…
EZK : Exactly. But you know sometimes Art galleries organize special events totally legal with the authorization of the city etc… Yet, most of the time it’s illegal.If you want a good spot, usually it’s not allowed to paint on it.
JW : Alright, so when do you paint ? By night ?
EZK : It depends, sometimes at night or by day. By day it is okay because the more there are people in the street the more you are invisible. By night, if you are alone in the street, you can be quickly noticed. I would say that I even do more during the day than during the night !
JW : So you are doing tags all around France and also other foreign cities ; when did you realize that they had an impact ?
EZK : When I opened my Instagram Account : EzkStreetArt ; a year & half ago. This social network really made me realize the people’s interest for my work.
JW :Your first tag I’ve seen was the "Dans quel monde Vuitton?"
EZK : It was my first graffiti using puns with famous brands. I created 2 years ago ! It is the first work of my collection : Art against Poverty.
JW : What pushed you to link brands with poverty ?
EZK : Four years ago, I was in NYC. One time, I was in my hotel room watching TV ; I don’t know if you are aware of this TV show of 1 minute called No comment on Euronews showing some current news without any sound…
JW : Yes of course !
EZK :Well they have the same thing on CBS and I was watching it. They were showing African little boys really skinny, totally naked looking for ants as food ! And after this one-minute report, it was written : This program was offered by Louis Vuitton. It was the Trigger of everything.
JW : OMG that’s crazy !
EZK : Even if Louis Vuitton is just financing this TV show, they are not aware of it. Yet the contrast between both angles is really shocking.
JW :So you’re not against any luxury brands or regular brands then ?
EZK : No absolutely not ! I just want to create a space for reflection from the world of luxury to the great poverty.
EZK : From my personal opinion, I just found the fact of buying and €10,000 bag striking ! And that we still can live peacefully on this planet with such a huge gaps.
JW : When are we going to see your next graff ?
EZK : It takes a lot of time to create a stencil.
JW : How long ?
EZK : Well for my Louis Vuitton stencil it took me 1 night [laugh] I needed to do it quickly.
EZK : But for my "Veni Vidi Vinci: it took me almost a month ! It is normal in a way, I have another work everyday so I try to take at least 4 hours per day to work on my stencils.
JW : Favorite artist ?
EZK : Jackson Pollock. I’ve never seen one of his painting in my life until I was in NYC at the Museum of Bad Art. Nobody was stopping to take a look and I was the only one on glued to it. I aslo like Keith Haring or Lichtentein…
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