FAULT Focus: French Street Art – Rubbish

In the third and final instalment of FAULT Online’s series of interviews with Parisian street artists, we spoke to Rubbish.

French street art has always had a measure of old-skool care and craftsmanship about it, whether its Space Invader‘s subtle, video-game-inspired placement of coloured ceramic tiles or Shaka‘s massively scaled (and impressively painted) figures. It has earned the artists themselves a measure of tolerance from local authorities, even support. One of the more visible examples is le M.U.R., an eight-meter by three-meter wall erected by the city council in the Oberkampf neighbourhood of Paris, for which individual artists are invited to create works that promote a wider appreciation of street art.

Rubbish’s intricate, lace-like cut-ups, which are often so delicate that they begin to dissolve almost as soon as they’re pasted up, especially during a damp Parisian winter, have gained the 32-year-old artist mainstream cred’.

The piece he came up with for le M.U.R. was so big that he required two assistants, one of whom spent most of a cold late afternoon and early evening at the top of the highest ladder – because Rubbish is scared of heights! Fortunately for him, more and more of his work is being sought for the walls of mainstream art collectors: in November, last year, his first solo show, Paper-Cut, at the Cabinet d’Amateur Gallery in Paris sold out.




Do you still think the street is the best place for an artist to show their work?

Of course! For me, every opportunity I’ve had started on the street. My goal from the outset was to eventually exhibit in a gallery but also to have fun, take risks and get a rush of adrenaline on the streets.

Before you got into art you were in a band called Dirty Rubbish. What encouraged you to switch from music to art?

I realized that I’m better at art than music [laughs].  I started doing my cut-outs three years ago, just for fun. In my small town [he comes from Besançon, not far from the Swiss border, in eastern France], street art didn’t exist. I started with the commonest media: stencils and spray paint. I didn’t have any soul at the time and I mainly tagged rubbish bins…




I thought your name, Rubbish, was taken from the band…

Yeah. And because I make a lot of rubbish when I do my cut-outs…

Your work these days is large and very finely detailed. What does it involve?

I can spend hundreds of hours on one work, especially if its large. I begin by drawing it out on large sheets of white paper, then I cut it, which is a painstaking process – I’ve probably spent thousands of hours doing it. Once I paint it,  it’s ready to be pasted on the street or on a support in a gallery

What are your sources of inspiration?

The Beat Generation is certainly one – I once did portraits of three of its greatest figures. I’ve studied a lot of art history, especially the Renaissance, which fascinates me, but I draw a lot of ideas from Art Nouveau as well as from mythology – and my own dreams.

So what’s next?

I’ve been invited by Space Junk, an art center in Lyon, to create an ‘intervention’ in the the city’s 1st arrondissement.. Then I have another exhibition in March with two talented street artists, Pole Ka and Tristan Des Limbes.


Read the rest of our FAULT Focus series on Parisian street art:

FAULT Focus: An Introduction to Street Art in Paris

French Street Art – Le Diamant

French Street Art – Madame Moustache


Words and images by Cheyenne Tulsa