FEATURE: Graffiti me – Fafi

The world is being rewritten in coloured bombs, its waves the shape of spray cans. Its name is Graffiti. Massively unleashed by the gods of Art in the 60s in Philadelphia and very quickly thereafter in NYC, tinted bursts and lacquered explosions hit subways and streets from then on: a new iconography has been born: Fafi.

When the stars of graffiti-fate reached the old continent they had to think twinkling-hard about whom to distribute brilliance to, so many worthy paint-wave makers to choose from in ‘La Gaule’, so many acrylic dreams for a youth wide awake in suburbia and beyond. After due deliberation, quite a few orbital nagivations, deviations and variations, that fate was shared out and descended onto one of France’s most famous and finest graffiti artist: Fafi.

Fafi, born in 1976, is from Toulouse and that is where she began tagging in the mid 1990s. Her graffiti world is exclusively feminine, a girl’s space shared only by a few cuddly toys. Fafi opened an urban bricked-terrain to play with stereotypes, sensuality and femininity. I am a great believer in ‘femininities’, as opposed to its singular dull version, and that is one reason why I like Fafi’s work so much. Her character, the Fafi Girl, has many facets, many faces and shapes, many disguises and moods. Fafi’s foray into art, on aerosoled walls or on canvases and paper, is an exploration, full of humour and gender-question marks too. With each new paint can, another spicy and sensuous Fafi Girl is born winking her way at her viewer. She even created ‘the Carmine Vault’, a special cosmos for her fafinettes.

Fafi’s brush is dipped deep into cartoon-like depictions, a wide spectrum of hues and defined assured lines. Her style has met with massive success, with international exhibitions year after year from New York to Japan, Melbourne to Paris. She has been much acclaimed in France and internationally, not only on the art scene but also appearing in magazines such as Vogue, Elle,Yen, and designing for Sony, MAC Cosmetics, Adidas, to name but a few several household names that have fallen brand over heels for her fafinettes.

The Fafi Girls are not frozen in time, over the last 16 years, they have evolved with their maker, hinting at changes in Fafy’s life such as her change of location to Paris, pregnancy and motherhood. Fafi published in 2003 her first book ‘Girls Rock’, and ‘Love and Fafiness’ in 2005. She is due to release this year, another comic book, fafilicious for sure, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.