December 24, 2013.
AK: What do you write? Are you in a crew?
CH: I write CHANOIR (black cat). My crew is called COLLECTIF 1980.
AK: In what city did you start painting in the streets? Do you feel your work has influenced the community in return? If so, how? Is there a relationship between the artist and the community in which they work?
CH: I started in Paris in 1996 , it was a period when graffiti had almost disappeared in my neighborhood. For a while I was the only and first street logo in my area. That was like 2 years before Space Invader showed up. Only André was well know at that period of time. You could see this character in fancy neighbours. I remember that when I started I met a few bad boys saying they were CHANOIR. I even heard a rap song about CHANOIR. It was a big deal for me to be at the beginning of the movement in the 19 arrondissement of Paris. The street stories are as important as the pieces themselves.
AK: Did you go to school or are you self taught?
CH: I started in the streets, but I got the chance to go to the school of fine art of paris (Ecole National Supérieur Des Beaux Art de Paris). My professors tried to influence me to stop my street activism in order to do canvas painting. Of course I didn’t.
AK: How did you get started in the arts and why?
CH: I think I just tried to be like my father who is a painter. I still have it in my mind the romantic aspect of being an artist.
AK: How long have you been working in the streets?
CH: It has been 17 years now.
AK: Who or What inspires you the most?
CH: I like a lot the French movement called " figuration libre" and i am part of "l art modeste."
AK: What should the general public know about street art? What stereotype about street art/graffiti do you hate the most?
CH: I think the most ridiculous thing in life is to go to jail because someone had painted a wall, a train or anything else. The public space should be free to paint on. I’m sure in the future it will be.
AK: Are you a full time artist? Do you have a day job? Is it best to be full time artist or not worry about it and make your $$$ elsewhere, that way you can paint what and how you want, which one offers a more creative outlook?
CH: When you paint on the street it is something different than selling a canvas. That is why I do both. It is still a miracle to meet people who want to adopt a cat. But fortunately it happens.
AK: What are you working on now?
CH: I am working on new canvases inspired from the Wynwood wall I did with my great friend Xupet Negre.
AK:What do you hope to achieve or accomplish by putting your work in the street?
CH: I just want to be part of the street, so this way you are part of people.
Check out more of CHANOIR’S work and life.... http://chanoir.free.fr/