1883 Magazine
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How many personas has David Bowie adopted over the course of a five decades long career? Opera Gallery London answers the question with The Many Faces of David Bowie, paying homage to the countless masks and aliases of one of the most influential artists of our time.

Featuring some of today’s leading artists from around the globe, the exhibition showcases a variety of mediums – from painting to sculpture and mixed media artworks – and it will run until August31.

Highlights of the show include Joe Black’s outstanding portrait of the singer made out of over 9,000 painted test tubes; Marco Lodola’s mixed media and light box sculpture, Aladin; Eduardo Guelfenbein’s semi abstract portrait; and Mr. Brainwash’s Tryptic, portraying Bowie’s most famous alter ego, Ziggy Stardust.Other artists exhibiting include:Lita Cabellut, David Mach, C215, The London Police, Mac1, Jimmy C, Kid Zoom, Kan (Da Mental Vaporz), Juan Barletta, Hisham Echafaki, Jef Aerosol, D*Face, Andre Monet, Nick Gentry, Zoobs, Paul Alexis, Jean-Paul Donadini, Richard Young.

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Explaining the exhibition and the extraordinary impact of Bowie on twentieth-century culture, Jean-David Malat, Director at Opera Gallery London, said: “David Bowie is an incredible icon; a term to be understood as an idol but also in the ancient Greek notion of eik┼Źn meaning ’image’ or even religious work of art. It is clear to see that he has influenced many lives, and every artist involved was proud to commission a piece in his honour.”

1883 caught up with Christian Guémi, aka C215, ahead of the opening to find out more about his work. Born in Paris in 1973, Guémi started spray-painting in 2005; best known to the public for his captivating portraits, he is now regarded as one of the most talented street artists of the Noughties.

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As a first question, can you tell us more about your work on display at Opera Gallery?

It is a collection from my best stencils.

How did you get into stencil art? And when did you realised you wanted to be an artist?

I never wanted to be an artist but I began stencils in 2006. I wanted to do it for my daughter.

You are best known for your intense portraits of homeless people, beggars and street kids; how do you choose a face to paint?

Only with my feelings and emotions, what i do is self-expression.

You have a MA degree in Art and History; how does your background influence your work?

By giving depth; I love the ancient masters and I remix sometimes their work.

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You’ve been appointed the "French’s answer to Banksy"; how does this make you feel?

My work is an answer to myself, nobody else. True that I am very French.

There is undoubtedly a growing interest in Street art/Urban art at the moment; what do you think is the future of the movement?

Like rock ’n’ roll was trendy in the 50’s but still having a great future

Your stencils have been spotted in streets all over the world; apart form Paris – your hometown – where do you feel most inspired?

Anywhere since my art is contextual.

What other interest do you have outside art? What keeps you ticking over when you are not painting?

Streets are the biggest gallery in the world; apart from painting I enjoy reading poetry.

Out of curiosity, how did you come up with your nickname, C215? Does it have a special meaning?

No, but everybody wishes it has one.

As a last question, what does future hold for you? What other projects have you got lined up for the rest of the year?

Being happy and share my happiness through my paintings.

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The Many Faces of David Bowie will be running until August 31st at Opera Gallery, 134 New Bond Street, London W1S 2TF.

www.operagallery.com 

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