Woven, no, sprayed into the fabric of Paris, certain street artists have left more than a fading, peeling testimonial to their passing. Certain street artists have created a modern legend, and in doing so affected, or at least touched in some way, the lives of tens of thousands. You can see where I'm going with this, I suppose. Miss.Tic is one of these Paris street artists, and one of the most influential of them all.
I arrived in 1993; Miss.Tic had alread been decorating the walls of the capital for several years. She has, therefore, accompanied me on my many perambulations, omnipresent, silent but screaming. 'Je veux que mes mots fassent du bruit dans les yeux,' (I want my words to make noise in people's eyes) she says in her latest collection, A La Vie, A L'Amor, and in my case my gaze has been deafened many times.
Street art may not be your thing, and you may even wonder exactly what qualifies for this vague and doubtful attribution. When we think of colours on walls it's difficult not just to picture the tag-covered crumbling structures we glimps from train windows on our way into the city, or the many unfortunate vans, white no more, covered in the insignia of some gang or other.
But there is a real difference between such shallow excesses and the work of people like Miss.Tic. Having said that, she has struggled, not to shake off the mantle of 'just a street artist', but simply to be taken seriously as an artist, even now, after many years of 'serious' exhibitions in 'proper' art galleries.
The publication of A La Vie, A L'Amor coincides with a new exhibition at Galerie W on rue Lepic in the 18th, a fitting location, deep in the heart of bucolic Montmartre, for this artist among artists, and indeed woman amongst men.
Slipping comfortably into the publisher's Opus Délits collection, alongside many other street notables such as Jef Aérosol, Mosko et associés, Speedy Graphito, C215 and Ben, this pocket-sized volume presents some of Miss.Tic´s recent work along with a few written pieces.
These latter are not the clever aphorisms for which she is famous - these are to be found, as usual, on each of the pictures themselves. Click on any of the pictures from the book shown here, by the way, for much larger versions. Rather, she offers us some word portraits which are not quite poems, yet not quite prose either, seemingly half biographical and half universal, and which accompany the photos marvellously.
It should be said that Miss.Tic is something of a mystery, and I think she cultivates this image, although is far from being anonymous along the lines of a Banksy or a Space Invader. Her goal was never not to be famous, or at least successful, and not only has she attained the status she hoped for, but she has done so through developing her style and personal life-view in full public eye. It couldn't be otherwise.
As such, she has become an artist who is appreciated by many, including those not normally predisposed to enter an intimidating art gallery where if you have to ask how much something costs you shouldn't even be in there.
This fondness in the public eye comes from a combination of factors: the familiar black-clad and haired vamp assuming a vast variety of insolent or suggestive poses; the delicious jeux de mots (puns and double meanings) which are her trademark; her provocative and drole existentialist comments on the human condition, in particular that of la femme; and the fact that she is, when all's said and done, a woman in a male-dominated arena, and a rather dangerous one at that.
As an up-to-date peek into where the iconic Miss.Tic is at right now, A La Vie, A L'Amor is a very good place to start, although my latest rummage around Amazon suggests you would be best popping into a good bookshop, especially a large Parisian one, to get hold of a copy. Or just hit the streets...