Figuration Libre meets Street Art in the work of French artist Speedy Graphito, the pen name of Olivier Rizzo, born in 1961. After studying at the Estienne School in Paris and a brief stint as a graphic designer, Speedy Graphito began flooding the city?s streets with his graffiti incorporating strange little figures inspired by Mayan culture. His vibrant and facetious artwork made a real splash in the urban landscape around the Paris Catacombs ? the Les Halles district then under construction.
An artist of many talents, Speedy Graphito has turned his hand to painting, sculpture, installations, photography and video, in the quest for a universal language of his own ? while at the same time never quite forgetting the child he once was. His imagery is steeped in reminiscences of the world of comic strip, cartoons, mangas and advertisements, and
he hijacks the symbolism of universal figures of popular art such as Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Super Mario, Bugs Bunny, Captain America, Bob the Sponge, the Fantastic Four, Astro the Robot Dog, Popeye and Lucien, the rock star with the ?banana? quiff in the pages of Métal hurlant...
Speedy Graphito explodes conventions, abolishes the boundaries between the arts and frees cartoon heroes from the panels that have imprisoned them. In the manner of a Roy Liechtenstein or an Andy Warhol, his irony turns our cultural references on their head, and he mocks the tawdry aspirations of our consumerist society, while continuing to find poetry in the everyday.