This is the first time that I’ve shown my artwork in public since 1990…and it didn’t end up so well that time…let me tell you.
You see, I was a budding artist at 16 when I decided that it was a good idea to use my spray painting skills on the walls of the Paris subway. I was pretty proud of my work. So proud that I decided to sign my name to it…
I guess I didn’t have Banksey’s good sense of anonymity. Such a modest guy… Must be a British thing…
Apparently, the Paris cops weren’t impressed with my art, and to let me know, they chased me down the Champs Élysées, grabbed me by the collar and hauled me to the police station. I tried to deny it was me, but, well…. I’d SIGNED my name..
My mom wasn’t impressed either. Back home, this 5-foot-tall blonde French woman is chasing me around the house cursing and trying to hit me with my own skateboard. She got me a couple of times.
To try and cure me of my artistic aspirations and maybe hoping to keep me out of prison, my mother, a celebrated hairdresser in Versailles, forced me to go to beauty school.
I loved it. I loved the creativity of it. I loved that I could sculpt and create on a human canvass and a few months later, recreate a new piece of art on that very same living image. I also loved that I could wear my bright red parachute pants and headband…and fit right in.
For the past 20 years, in Washington D.C., I’ve had a wonderful and satisfying career as a hairdresser. But there’s always been this nagging desire in me, to let that Parisian 16-year-old punk kid finish the work he started. So 25 years after my mom put an end to my career as the French Banksey, I took out some paint brushes and pallet knives and began to paint.
Here, you’re seeing the resurrection of that gnawing desire, and to be honest, going public with my art is even more terrifying this time around. But at least I don’t have to worry about someone coming after me with a skateboard.