Polyhedric street artist, Roti, and his “demonic” art

by Ludovica Giulianini on June 5, 2013

Roti Street art paris living walls (8)

Painter, stonecutter, sculptor, tattooist, engraver, artists as polyhedric as Roti are difficult to find nowadays. Good for street art, difficult as a journalist. Talking about his art becomes a challenge because of the impossibility of deciding where to start from, and what, amongst the various techniques he has mastered, to focus on. 

This 24 year-old French artist from Thonon-les-bains, gained huge attention in 2012 when he painted a wall in Atlanta, for the urban art festival, Living Walls, which was painted out by locals, who found it to be “demonic”.

Seemingly unphased by the move, he says that “the experience in Atlanta was … very important, both from a human and an artistic point of view”. By this, he means that street art, being by its nature, ephemeral, and painting walls, which for Roti, is a way to communicate with people in their own environment, were both achieved. Moreover, he explains that it is more about the moment of painting than what is left behind.

No doubt.

Roti Street art paris living walls (9)

 Photo Source: Roti

However, rather than being demonic, Roti’s characters seem more to be part of a dream. Hybrids and metamorphosis, where fish become cathedrals and catch fire, where women stretch their arms out, as if they were giving you a hug, only to  turn into poison snakes.

Roti’s interest in animals and anatomy makes him curious about every possible transformation in nature and the human body. His ideas come from his imagination, but he gets inspiration from the environment and the local community.

Roti Street art paris living walls (11)

Photo Source: Roti

Something interesting to notice in Roti’s work is the omnipresent architectural element of the cathedral. This comes directly from his work as a stonecutter and sculptor, for which he trained for years working also in Carrara in Italy.

His real passion is indeed sculpture – he always goes around carrying a hammer and a chisel and engraving every possible surface, and looks at a piece of stone with the eye of the old masters. Talking with him about working on marble reminded me of a phrase in Michelangelo’s poem 151:

“Not even the best of artists has any conception that a single marble block does not contain within its excess, and that is only attained by the hand that obeys the intellect.”

Roti Street art paris living walls (14)

 Photo Source: Roti

Roti’s dream is to combine sculpture and street art. He told me he would like to bring his creations in the streets to let everyone enjoy them and see people’s reaction.

The artist is now working in Angers, France, to finish his wall commissioned for the Artaq Festival 2013.

Roti Street art paris living walls (15)

 Photo: Ludovica Giulianini Copyright 2013

Roti Street art paris living walls (16)

Photo: Ludovica Giulianini Copyright 2013


About the Author

Ludovica Giulianini holds an MA in Arts Management from the University of Bologna, and lives in between Paris and Rome. As well as having an in-depth knowledge on EU models for cultural mobility, and experience helping artists move around Africa to share, create and work together, Ludo is able, uncannily, to spot from whom street artists have stolen their ideas.

  • http://ladynyo.wordpress.com Lady Nyo

    Absolutely wonderful work, and wonderful article. Goes a long way explaining Roti’s work. As a long term Atlanta resident, I was appalled that Roti’s wonderful mural on University Avenue was painted over by the combined forces of ignorance and arrogance from this area…and represented by two council women and a bunch of preachers, and an ex state rep. none to clean himself.

    It was sad, but represented the state of affairs in this area and I believe in Atlanta towards progressive art. However, those of us who supported the mural are so glad to see that M. Roti is continuing to work in great gulps of energy! This young man is the new Michelangelo in my estimation. Long may he continue to tweet the nose of ignorance and bring a deeper thought to public art.

  • Pingback: Polyhedric street artist Roti – Stonie Zhao

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