STEW Birdragon, 2015
STEW Né en 1978 THE RISIN'LOVERS - 2015 Acrylique, peinture aérosol et papier marouflé sur toile
Nice-based GCA Gallery is known for its promotion of street and urban art (among others). Between graffiti, street-art and low brow, the gallery presents a combination of the most influential French and international urban artists: ARDPG, C215, Stew, KOUKA, Fenx, Katre, RETRO, Etnik, Gilbert1, Galo and Orticanoodles. First of its kind in Nice, GCA Gallery ambitiously aims to open up a new market on the French Riviera. Since the gallery is quite active, the aim it strives to will probably be achieved quite soon. The next art event the gallery organizes is the Stew exhibition – an exhibition of one of the French most prominent urban artists. The artist’s latest works will be exhibited, while the show is entitled Homework.
Stew is a graffiti and street artist from Meudon, France. During his childhood, it was obvious that he has big artistic talents – he redesigned the tapestry in his childhood bedroom when he was four, was turning his school notebooks into sketchbooks, and so on. In 1996, Stew discovered spray paint and he went from notebooks to walls, from walls to vacant lots, from vacant lots to trains. But, when we speak about Stew’s art today, we have to mention Japan – Japan captured the deepest reaches of the artist’s dream imagery. Fish scales, waves, and other iconic symbols that remind us of ancient Japanese etchings are used as paying homage to the works by the great Japanese artists, e.g. Hiroshige, Hokusai, and Kuniyoshi. However, Stew adds his own personal touch to his warriors and contemporary elements to his compositions – skulls dance in the background; spike studded bracelets coil around the wrists of samurai masters; tattoos mark our heroes and spray cans pose as weapons.
Stew is used to working on large scale murals. We’ve seen his work on one of the façade of the Tour Paris 13 in 2013, but also on one of the highest European mural with his Héron Bleuté of 52 meters high, Place de Vénitie in Paris in 2014. As we already mentioned, we find Japanese motifs in his stencils and creations – most ukiyo-e themes (beautiful women), shungas (erotic scenes), Yokai (fantastic creatures). Stew re-visits and re-works the poses of Utamaro’s characters, the unbalanced compositions by Hiroshige or Hokusai’s birds in a contemporary way by giving them a new identity full of independence and freedom. He mostly works in the region of Paris, but also painted a certain number of times abroad (Moscow, Roma, Djerba, Monaco…) as well as throughout France (Sète, Strasbourg, Marseille…).