When street art dresses shops

A work painted by Samuel Nagau. Photo: Évelyne Chaville

An idea to stroll during these school holidays in August: the discovery of works by street artists that decorate more and more the fronts and metal shutters of stores in Guadeloupe. This is a new way to promote this artistic discipline and a new source of income for these artists.

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Art is invading our streets more and more. This trend began first with frescoes on building walls, they were often commissions from municipalities, social housing agencies, public organizations or big companies. For example, we can admire the portraits of Guadeloupean sports champions on the walls of a car park, not far from the town hall of Pointe-à-Pitre… The names or nicknames of the artists are now known: Pacman, Pwoz, Black Bird, Steek (who won, last July, the 1st prize at the Bodypainting World Championship in Austria for the second time in a row), Osons, Mash etc.

For some time now, it is the shopkeppers who ask these artists to decorate the fronts or metal shutters of their stores. Indeed, when you walk in the shopping streets of the cities and towns in Guadeloupe, you are surprised by the increasing number of works of art made by street artists. To make this pleasant discovery, it is preferable to walk in the streets by car or on foot especially when the shops are closed and there are not many people; the best times are Sundays and holidays. This open air visit of works of art can also be paid at dusk but there’s nothing like the daylight…

The beautiful and elegant woman is one of the favorite subjects of our artists; they often represent her on women’s clothing stores, hair and cosmetics stores, hairdressing salons, perfume shops, bars, etc. As for the colors, they are rather bright like red, orange…

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A new source of income

A few years ago, shop owners kept their shutters; only the signs with the name of these businesses brought a little creativity. It must be said that the “tags” (handwriting) described as “wild” (which still exist) had given a bad reputation to these artists who use spray-paint. The authorities tried to fight them with laws, often unsuccessfully, the authors often were not found then, the surfaces were repainted which was expensive.

Since then street artists demonstrated that their art is not just what some people call “stains”. They showed that they also knew how to paint real works of art with their bombs and not brushes. Now, some of them also exhibit in showrooms, fairs, in short in closed places.

Locally, events such as the International Festival of Graffiti and Street Art of Guadeloupe whose 8th edition took place from June 22 to July 1 with guests from various countries contributed to acceptance of street art by the public. Last year, several municipalities put walls at the disposal of artists who showed their talent live and in the presence of many spectators. This event was a great success.

Frescoes on the fronts and metal shutters of stores is for street artists a new way to promote their discipline and earn a living.