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C215, the urban portrait

Christian Guémy, alias C215, sees street art as a way of expressing emotion on concrete [Read more]

Christian Guémy, alias C215, sees street art as a way of expressing emotion on concrete. Based in Vitry-sur-Seine where he has his studio, the portrait painter has made the city a hotspot for urban art. Today he is considered one of the best stencil artists. In addition to his frescoes, C215 paints on recycled objects. This week, we present to you a portrait on a wooden door.


Street Art & portrait 

Behind C215's portraits lie the concepts of freedom and dignity in the context of an increasingly capitalist or socially unjust daily life. This work entitled Homeless is a portrait of a homeless person. A man can be seen standing in the lower part of the composition. He is depicted in dark colours, with a subdued face, looking up to the sky. The upper part of the work is materialised by numerous spots of paint, one of which is a more diffuse, imposing yellow spot. The latter could symbolise hope, the light at the end of the tunnel for this homeless person.  Christian Guémy magnifies those left behind, those whom society prefers not to represent, through portraits that scream out truth and does not hesitate to confront the viewer's gaze with that of his characters, whom he picks up in the street. He says on this subject: "My works place invisible people in the rank of celebrities. Through these faces, I want passers-by to be confronted with their own humanity."


Homeless, 2019

Mixed media on wood panel (shutter)
Work signed by the artist
Dimensions: 116 x 53 cm


This portrait done on a wooden shutter is unique in its kind and there are only very few works on the market by C215 on this support. This work thus demonstrates the variety and originality of the materials used by the artist to create his pieces.

In parallel to these portraits of marginalised people, C215 has also focused on the creation of portraits of personalities, politicians and stars such as Renaud, Coluche, Simone Veil, Christiane Taubira, Zidane, Victor Hugo and many more... The strength of his works is particularly expressed in the eyes. Through these faces, anonymous or famous, C215 reveals a part of himself. 

Art is his outlet, by brilliantly altering city walls, doors, windows or even mailboxes, the artist leaves a trace of his path, his imprint, the permanence of which is never certain.


C215, the urban portraitist

Born in 1973 in Bondy, Christian Guémy was raised by his grandparents after the death of his mother.

Later, he studied art history, economics and languages.  Passionate about both classical and contemporary art, he draws his inspiration from the works of Caravaggio, Botticelli, Géricault and Ernest Pignon-Ernest. The separation from his daughter's mother drove him to start his work in the street. His daughter Nina's face is a recurring subject in his work. Through his works, C215 wishes to bring poetry to the heart of dehumanised cities.

In 2008, when he arrived in Vitry, he began to create stencils in the streets of the city. The municipality encouraged him and from 2009 to 2014, he invited many artists over to paint the walls of the city.

In 2013, he created a giant fresco representing a cat on a building in the 13th arrondissement.

C215's work goes beyond our borders, and he has notably presented his works in New York, Sao Paulo, Rome, San Francisco and London. His work is also included in the collections of national museums.


More artworks by C215