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Storytelling Faces (26 pieces)

Moscow, Russia

Christian Gumy aka C215 believes that if you look deeply enough into a person's face, you will see their life story unfold in front of your very eyes. The French street artist travels around the entire globe and meets all types of people, including tramps, beggars, and street orphans. With no regard for the law, he creates extraordinary stencils of them on the streets in their neighborhood. After all, who better to represent the city than its own inhabitants.

Because he uses local people as his subjects, all his work is very original. The only thing that stays the same is his logo.

The way C215 is able to capture textures is incredible. Look closely at the extremely detailed wrinkles or hair lines on his subjects. Bursts of color only further intensify the emotion in his pieces, while very deliberately made facial expressions delicately control the mood.

This just in: I was able to get in contact with C215 and he was gracious to answer some of my questions! Check out the interview below, after viewing this collection of his most recent works…


London, UK

London, UK

London, UK

London, UK

London, UK

Vitry-sur-Seine, France

Vitry-sur-Seine, France

Vitry-sur-Seine, France

Vitry-sur-Seine, France

Vitry-sur-Seine, France

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Milan, Italy

Venice, Italy

Carugate, Italy

Moscow, Russia

Moscow, Russia

New Delhi, India

Mirleft, Morocco

Mirleft, Morocco

Mirleft, Morocco

What do you find most captivating about people's faces?
Cutting a portrait is like doing an X-Ray – As long as you're precise with the face, wrinkles, details, muscle contractions, etc, you discover the model's personality. Face are like landscapes that you can travel in. They are also the most universal way to express an emotion without words.

Where was your favorite place to travel to and stencil?
I've been to Morocco many times and I think it is my favorite place to paint. The rules there are not totally dependent on the law or the police, but the community. As long as the community accepts you, you can paint what you want and really relax.

How many times were you arrested this year, in 2010? How do the police treat you?
I was arrested in Paris in May and sentenced to 200 euros for destruction of other people's belongings. The cops were up to let me go, but when they called the station, because of the statistics policy of Sarkozy's government, the station said they needed more people in jail for the night. So, despite that they said i was an “artist,” I spent the night in a cell smelling piss, sweat, and vomit. At the trial, the prosecutor reckoned I was “an artist with talent and a future,” so I got sentenced to a minimum. Now, judges have turned into art critics.

Why do you love painting on the street?
I am not alone enjoying it. Three centuries of art history shows that artists have always tried to escape galleries, studios, museums. Think about the impressionists. Monet said, “My studio is outside.” Streets are the best and the most accessible gallery. You prepare something beautiful, you go paint it without asking anybody, and then you share your art without the humiliation of canvassing your works, begging for recognition. In the streets, those who like your art enjoy it, while the others do not remark.

How do people usually react when you paint them?
Because I select neglected, small spots and tag over doors, rusty iron, or old mailboxes, and because I paint things people can relate to, the reaction is almost always very good. I paint very quickly and immediately get a good result with my stencils. I want to bring people together and make them happy, not divide them, or make them upset…

C215's Flickr profile
C215's MySpace page

Eugene Kim

Eugene Kim is the Editor-in-Chief of My Modern Met. In May, 2008, he co-founded the website to create one big city that celebrates creative ideas. His mission is to promote a positive culture by spotlighting the best sides of humanity—from the lighthearted and fun to the thought-provoking and enlightening.
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