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[PORTRAIT] "Breaking the image of tagging that everyone hates

Premier corner street-art au Printemps. César Malfi: Démocratiser l'Art Urbain et Redéfinir le Street Art
César Malfi and Julie Lascombes (director of Printemps Polygone) in front of the new corner.

As part of its Christmas activities, the Printemps Polygone Riviera shop organised an unusual event: the Nice artist César Malfi gave a live street-art performance lasting over three hours.

Si ce nom vous dit quelque chose c’est normal. Des Galeries Lafayette au chalet des artistes du marché de Noël en passant par le château de Crémat et le Radisson, le jeune Niçois qui allie l’art classique de la Renaissance au moderne du street-art, est partout. A 26 ans, il a mené sa barque depuis la fac de droit (où il a fait un master 1 en fiscalité) avant de se consacrer entièrement à son art. Réalisé le 23 décembre, ce live painting sous enseigne Printemps a donné lieu à la création d’une œuvre de 2 x 1,5m exclusive pour le magasin, ainsi que l’ouverture du premier pop- up store de street-art de la Côte d’Azur dédié à l’artiste. Questions à César Malfi.

Printemps, Galeries Lafayette, Radisson or Marriott hotels, is working with and for companies a choice?

Yes, I enjoy these collaborations with companies, because I feel that I bring them added value. They all have different needs, I can really adapt to them, it allows me not to get bored... It's a bit of a special artistic development, but it's a real desire on my part. They are often trusted partners.

Live-painting, a new way to share art?

For me, it's a new way of democratising the relationship with art and changing the elitist vision that we may have of it. Street art does this very well because it is in direct contact with the spectators and not in a museum, a closed place where you have to be invited. Benefiting from the trust of companies like Printemps or the Galleries, it allows you to intrigue, to make the spectator aware. For me, it's an excellent way to open up access to culture.

What is the reaction of the audience to these performances?

It was great, there were lots of people stopping to ask questions and congratulate me. It changes their routine and it's a great way to energise a space. Events like these allow for discussions and exchanges. People are surprised, amazed, it allows them to understand how the creative process works. Just to see the eyes of the audience shine is priceless.

The happening at Printemps has opened the concept of the first pop-up store on the French Riviera dedicated to street art. Exciting?

Extraordinary. It was a great initiative, and I'm very touched by the trust they put in me for this first pop-up store.

Une belle victoire quand on connaît la mauvaise réputation que traîne le street-art depuis des années...

Street art had a negative image, associated with vandalism. But with time, with live-painting and contact with people, we understand each other, and it opens a channel of communication. Street art has evolved, we have broken the image of tagging that everyone hates.

Any future projects?

Yes, a lot! But I can't talk about everything... What I can say is that I'm going to invest in Crémat Castle at the beginning of January. I'm going to paint the entrance to the future gallery of the castle, and it will be a permanent work.
I also organise team building events on the theme of street art on the rooftop of the Mariott hotel. For two hours, everyone learns how to use a spray can and creates their first street-art canvas. The results are amazing because I allow the employees to obtain a result that would require ten years of experience thanks to the advice and techniques that I pass on.

Publié par Camille GUIL

Actualité - ARM innove avec l'art urbain. Eric Garence, Christophe Frey et César Malfi
Illustrator Eric Garence, Christophe Frey, general manager of ARM France and César Malfi in the middle of a signing session at ARM Sophia after giving the site's semi-covered car park a makeover.