Discover the amazing street art of JO&JOE Paris-Gentilly
Ever since his childhood days, drawing has always been a part of Olivier Bonhomme’s life. After completing his degree at the Emile Cohl Art School in Lyon, he worked as a comic strip artist and then moved into press illustration as well as undertaking more personal projects, such as his contribution to JO&JOE. Attracted by the creative freedom of the JO&JOE project, his idea was to take the ‘passengers’ of the open house along on a journey to undreamt-of universes, intertwined with dreams and poetry.
Marina Capdevila studied fine art in Barcelona and then Rotterdam before working as a graphic designer at various studios. As her projects developed, she discovered a passion for mural painting, which offers more freedom for experimentation and the chance to leave the world of art studios behind and meet other artists out in the real world. Her work features elderly people who are full of vitality, to show that there is no age limit on having fun, just like at JO&JOE.
Rick Lee has always brought his dreams to life in his drawings. When he was a child, he would spread huge sheets of paper out on the floor and fill them with drawings of gigantic, colourful intergalactic battles. When he was a little older, he immortalised the world of skateboarding and drew portraits of pretty girls, before going on to study graphic design at university. He uses a pencil and bright colours for his creations, which feature references to his favourite things in life: skateboarding, music and the culture of the underground. However, he doesn’t think he has a specific style. He prefers to leave people to find their own words to describe his work.
A self-taught artist, Hazul began creating graffiti during his childhood in Porto, Portugal. Drawn to the local hip-hop scene, he started with classic lettering before transforming his letters into abstract shapes and creating his own style. Hazul explains that he is inspired through a constantly changing process. He takes his most recent work as his starting point, and then removes some elements and adds others, seeking to go further in achieving harmony and a positive energy.
Morne grew up in the streets of the JO&JOE. In the 1990s, that was where he discovered graffiti, in skateboard culture. Both worlds share the desire to make the street their own and are linked by urbex and a strong sense of belonging to a community. Influenced by shamanism, ancient myths and indigenous art, he seeks to depict ‘the unconscious dream’ in his art. Here at JO&JOE, he is not just decorating a living space. He is taking part in a permanent art gallery, and offering back to the area where he grew up a little bit of what it gave him.
Sueb has been a graffiti artist since he was a teenager. At that time, he was more interested in hanging out with his friends and creating something with them, rather than thinking of himself as an artist. Gradually, the groups of graffiti artists evolved and the paintings became more structured. For JO&JOE, his eclectic inspiration has led him to use the Milky Way to pep up the subdued atmosphere of the corridors and the ‘Girl Power’ phenomenon to blow a hole right through the patriarchal cliché of 1950s pop art.
Given the choice, Kelkin prefers to call himself an Artist-Craftsman-Painter. He has a deep thirst for creating and is constantly exploring new aspects within art, and in his own art in particular. Carried away on the wings of inspiration, he allows his hand to guide him, without any obstacles imposed by rationality, giving free rein to his emotions and sensitivities. Kelkin’s aim is to breathe a special energy into the space he paints. For him, this ‘OOO’ room (out of the ordinary) is an annex or continuation of the street. His intention was to make a contribution that echoes the city and enters into dialogue with it.
Everything started for Difuz when he was around 14 years old and was sentenced to community service for illegal graffiti. After high school, he continued to create graffiti secretly with his gang of friends, refining his lettering style. His life changed when a shopkeeper offered to pay him to paint his shopfront: that was when he realised he might be able to make a living out of his passion. His style is very figurative, featuring characters that make regular appearances in his creations, but in different situations. He is not trying to put across any particular message, but instead leaves people to interpret his work as they like.
An explorer of different artistic worlds from a young age, Oji started out writing rap. He fell in love with drawing after he stayed in hospital several times in his twenties. Drawing helped him through his periods of convalescence, and through this experience he became a full-time artist. Although he was previously a fan of realism in painting, nowadays he focuses more on studying harmony between colours and a more pictorial style of painting, allowing creative freedom. In Oji’s view, changing the way a space is perceived through the colours and the subjects shown arouses curiosity and excites emotions.
JO&JOE Open House, first and foremost, is a place for people to connect. It’s a place where an open and friendly atmosphere welcomes everyone, both travellers and local residents, so they can share authentic experiences and relax together.
It was a natural choice for JO&JOE to work with graffiti artists to give a new look to this former printing works in Gentilly, which is now renovated and operating as a new living space.
There are many different facets to urban art, and the same can be said of a JO&JOE open house.
Whether they grew up on the streets of France, or in another country, the graffiti artists have been chosen for what they have in common: a wish to communicate their art, to prompt questioning and debate, and, in this way, to (re)create connection, just like JO&JOE, which creates houses that are open to all in a new take on hospitality venues.