He put butterflies on the walls of Los Angeles, hotels around the world or even in the Kardashian-Jenner family celebrations. Coming to "swindle" in the United States over 15 years ago, to use his expression, Punk Me Tender – who remains anonymous – can now boast of being a recognized artist.

There was nothing to predict such a career. While evolving in the emergency breakdown sector – going from plumbing to locksmithing -, his company offers French people with a BEP weld to expatriate to train Americans “To be more confusing”. He then landed with a tourist visa in 2003 “No money, no family, no house, no friend”. “But, as soon as I arrived, I realized that the Americans are more square and serious than the French, the scams do not work here”, he assures. He quickly gives up his job and survives for 3 months. During this transition period, he meets the woman who will become his future wife. And convince him to come back to settle in the United States on a work visa. “Since childhood, I have had the American dream, that of a country without limits”, recognizes the Parisian who never leaves his hat-sunglasses paraphernalia.

With Brainwash, they cover the walls of Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, where he puts his suitcases, he meets Thierry Guetta -alias Brainwash- and finds himself filming for him personalities like Christian Audigier, Shepard Fairey (Obey) or even Space Invader. “It opened my eyes to street art, it was something incredible at the time”, lets go of the Parisian, who will be overwhelmed by his meeting with Banksy – known for his stencil graffiti. "It has allowed me to explore many techniques", remembers the 37-year-old Frenchman who confesses “Not knowing how to draw”.

Armed with colored bombs, he will “smash” the city for years, with his friend Brainwash. He makes himself known (and in particular by the police) by tagging "Why" everywhere, or by being relentless on panels and walls with aggressive paint drives. "I wanted to let go, to flatter my ego, to find adrenaline"explains this intuitive. Until going too far and failing to be arrested.

An electroshock that will lead him to develop his vision, almost 3 years ago. Very quickly, he decided to finance – with the help of Brainwash, up to $ 70,000 – his first solo exhibition. For this, he rents a mansion of the early twentieth century in Koreatown, imagining an unusual scenography with a red carpet that turns into an evening dress, a meal where the main dish is a naked woman, as well as a room invaded by butterflies . Since this fanfare beginning, he has not stopped working, perfecting his works and his universe. “It takes tremendous discipline to succeed.” A result that he will present during an exhibition of his works – sold between 20,000 and 30,000 dollars – with a staging of the same ilk in Los Angeles, on a date not yet fixed, in 2020.

A constantly evolving art

Because Punk Me Tender found his style, which he describes as pop-modern and contemporary art: “I bring dimension into the works, so that they interact with people. The person does not stand in front, but goes inside and becomes the work of art. ” For this, he uses personal photographs or walls, and gives them perspective (with a guitar or an integrated shoe).

He notably worked a lot on butterflies in 3 dimensions, attracted by “the play of light offered by their wings". You can find golden ones at the Line Hotel in Los Angeles, all dressed in pink on the facade of the Astro Rooftop Garden in Miami, in the swimming pool of the National Hotel in Miami Beach or on an abandoned house in the Nevada desert. "The role of an artist is to reach the audience. Naturally, butterflies convey a message that suits me, that of freedom, open-mindedness and the coming together of humans ”, he rejoices. And the message has taken on a viral dimension recently: after having produced a work for the birthday of the daughter of Khloe Kardashian, the agent of Kylie Jenner called on her services for a party in honor of her cosmetic brand . Even if it was not his ultimate goal, the artist agrees that it is an unexpected exhibition and an opportunity, as Los Angeles offers. “All the creatives come here, New York has become too expensive and too cold.”

Even if he continues to graffiti for fun – and legally – he believes that “Street art is dead”. “It has become too mainstream, is sold as decoration. Many street artists turn to contemporary art ”, notes Punk Me Tender.

A direction he is already taking. Next step : "Fashion inspires me a lot, one of my goals is to get into this business", he concedes. Punk Me Tender would also be able to create sets for shows, such as the Grammys or the MTV Music Awards. And he will continue to study: "I still need 20 years of work before reaching the level of monochrome."


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