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Simplicity & humanity: golden rules

Yelow was a cook in the suburbs of Paris, a graffiti artist in his spare time. During a family stay in Marie-Galante, they fell in love with the island. And there, in barely 3 months, they sold their apartment, packed their bags and moved to Marie-Galante. Now, Yelow paints feminine faces of great gentleness, inspired by her life in the West Indies.




A graffiti artist training at the beginning


Initially, Yelow cut his teeth as a graffiti artist in the Paris region. He talks to me about that time with a lot of energy and a smile in his eyes. At that time, he met great people, joined a group of graffiti artists, tagged all over Europe, the bombs in his backpack, the photo shoots to keep lots of memories... all in a real spirit of camaraderie and of laughter. I even wonder what he liked the most: the friends, or the practice itself?


But as I understand it! it seems to me like a slice of life that you can't forget. Moreover, Yellow carefully printed his most beautiful works in albums that he took with him from Paris, and we leaf through them while he shares his best memories with me.


Now, Yelow has settled in Marie-Galante, with wife and child, in a house open to the four winds, at the top of a hill in Capesterre. It feeds on the calm and the surrounding wild landscapes. We go by car to see his achievements all around the island… and he says to me while laughing:


“If one day I get tired of this view, I would have nothing to do here! I love working outdoors like that, in unusual locations. As if the scenography of the places participated in the work.”

It is at this moment that he explains to me how much “the spot” counts in street art. And in Marie-Galante, Yelow has fun looking for the most inspiring places when he works on his graffiti outdoors.


And it is successful! The contrast between the landscape and his works is striking. Here, between semi-arid vegetation and the crashing of the waves, between a dry hill and a wet rocky expanse, there is a smiling face on the very stone, confused with the walls of this old building - probably a point of shade to sit down watching the animals.



I'm lucky, because he just ironed a layer of color keeping this creation. Because humidity and sea air attack Yelow's creations, and to my surprise, he sometimes replaces one graffiti with another! In fact, this ephemeral aspect pleases him. I am making this point clear to you because it surprised me a great deal… Doing such a meticulous, monumental work and then destroying it? When I work on a subject, I like to keep the stages of my production (for example the 1st draft of this article is saved somewhere). And I would have a hard time erasing it, I'm someone who clings a lot to things, to memories... But street art has taught Yelow to get used to impermanence.


“There is so much competition in Paris that a graffiti can last a single day sometimes. So you take a picture and you leave. You are not attached to what you produce.”

Graffiti also taught him a kind of discipline of composition. You see, in street art, we always think about the visual balance of his composition: so Yelow balances on one side the straight lines of the “lettering” (what he writes), and on the other, the curves of the flowers, birds or faces he paints. Everything compensates to create a harmonious whole.


Speaking of harmony, it's not just visually that Yelow's work is constructed in harmony. It is also a state of mind in his artistic practice.


People at the center of his creative approach


Yelow was above all a graffiti artist, now he considers himself a Neopainter. Of course, he continues to cover the walls with his creations, but he goes even further: he uses large plywood boards to paint without constraint of theme or size. He works in the flow, in the moment. Completely in tune with the feeling it represents.

Very often, the faces of women that Yelow paints are imbued with great serenity. Because the artist is not content to live in peace in Marie-Galante, he also tries to bring peace to others through his work.


“I don't want my art to be too intellectualized. I like my work to be readable. What matters to me above all: to make people feel an emotion, an appeasement that touches as many people as possible.”

By looking at his achievements on the island, I understood how much the impact of his work on others means to Yelow… He does not try to please, but he wants everyone to feel concerned by his proposal.


It is true that with graffiti, in essence, Yelow is used to displaying his creations in the public space. But he is aware of somehow imposing his vision on others, so he remains very attentive to the feedback that can be given to him. It is this attention to others, combined with works inspired by local life, which are part of the history or the panorama of the place, which made it known to Marie-Galante.


Here, at Etang noir, it is an allusion to a man from the neighborhood who always took care of others, and whose children created the brand “Mélanjé moun” in his honor, a call for solidarity, and interbreeding.


“This story immediately touched me, because I think a lot about interbreeding. Since I decided to live and raise my son here, these are subjects that I am more sensitive to.



In this former refectory, in Capesterre, a huge wall covered with the portrait of Meryl since October 2020. She came to replace Rihanna, another Caribbean personality previously honored. Yelow knows he's not a native of the Caribbean, but he wants his work to be representative. He even plans to do a survey to choose the next personality to put forward!


Further on, imagine that you are walking by the sea, near an unfinished real estate project, and there, a flash of yellow or pink color catches your eye...


“I like to surprise people. If they wander along the road side, they may never know that a portrait is hiding in these houses. But on the beach side, they feel privileged, happy to have seen my work.”

I would like to conclude with a final composition in the open air, on the walls of an old sugar plantation. A young woman of Asian appearance, with a very Caribbean marétèt, smiles at you at the bend in the road.


This is what touches me the most in Yelow's portraits. Caribbean influences in the marétèt or in the faces. With the added bonus of Asian influences in fabrics, patterns, floral aesthetics. I find it a fascinating mix and very representative of the inspiration, of the creolization that can arise on our islands.


Do you want these mixed marétèt at home?

 

Yelow's works

A gentle Asia-Caribbean blend



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