American, french artists revive hope on giant Paris mural. Paris – A splendid human face emerges from the waves of hope above the streets of Paris. Huge messages of optimism from American and French street artists paint huge murals in the French capital, slowly rising from virus quarantine.
California-based illustrator AJ Durango, 29, and French graffiti artist Da Cruz, 44, began work on the 25-meter-high mural in the 19th arrondissement northeast of Paris in mid-June. The project, which will begin on Saturday, is a symbol of creative rebirth, a symbol of two cultures reconnecting after closure.
Da Cruz, who grew up in this Parisian area and travels regularly to other continents, says it’s hard to see her projects halted by the pandemic.
“I work on the street because I like to show my message to a lot of people,” he said. I miss hearing people speaking different languages and being able to communicate with them through pictures… there’s always a bridge made out of color. ” he told The Associated Press. The project is supported by the French American Mural Art (FAMA) program led by the US Embassy in conjunction with the local festival Ourcq Living Colors.
Taking inspiration from South America and Africa, AJ Dungo and Da Cruz decided to create a stylized wave at the bottom of the mural and an explosion of color above that surrounds a central human face.
“We wanted to create something really upbeat and celebrated,” said AJ Durango. Because I thought the community could uplift their spirits a bit and give them hope with meaningful images after everyone has gone through a tragic year,” said AJ Durango.
For AJ Dungo, famous for his 2019 graphic novel ‘In Waves’, this massive mural is also the biggest he’s ever made. “The last thing I drew was the bedroom of my nephew, who was celebrating his sixth birthday. I liked the little murals of elephants, pencils, and butterflies,” he said.
For over a year, artists around the world have been restrained by virus restrictions. California has gradually lifted most of its measures in recent weeks. France started to reopen its economy last month, including museums, theaters, cinemas, and concert halls.
“We were locked up (at home), released, and out again,” Da Cruz said. The mural represents “human energy that makes us overcome the difficulties of life.” AJ Dungo emphasized that for many artists last year means “a drought of inspiration.” “People were more concerned about their livelihoods, their families, and their loved ones until they made meaningful art,” he said.
Some have been very productive. “But in general, the consensus among the creators I have met has been a very depressing and difficult time. So we can expect a big explosion of expression in the months and years to come. People will tell you a lot about what we all went through collectively.”