This past December when I was in PARIS I came across these seven-legged OCTOPUS dudes and wondered who the artist was. After spotting one after another (but actually), I finally came across one with the tag on it “GZUP,” and then googled who this “GZUP” was. These paste ups were fun and exciting to spot, from Tupac to Minnie Mouse, Spiderman to Johnny Depp, and more, GZUP has taken over the Paris street art scene within the last few years. Luckily, I got the incredible experience to interview this artist and am here to share it with you all! Enjoy kids!
1. You are known for your seven legged octopi that range in characters from Johnny Depp’s character in Pirates to Tupac, and you even create your own characters. First off, how did you come up with creating a seven-legged octopus (is that what you refer to your work as?) and what does it mean to you? I actually make octopus from something I like; I can do a Golgorak or 2Pac’s one but I will never make one with Nicolas SARKOZY or something I hate. I don’t make any concession, I just do it solely for my own pleasure. The seven-legged octopus is based on the Octopus you can find in the game “Wonderboy” on Sega Master System. This one has only seven legs too.
2. Does any of your work differ from the octopi? Or is this creature your signature style? For now I’m focused on octopi and yes that is my signature.
3. I first came across your work in Paris (especially next to a bunch of Invaders – totally awesome/great location). Is Paris your home base? Where else can we find your work? I first pasted my octopi near other figures of street art, (for) now I discover places by myself all over Paris and often with immaculate walls. Now street artists paste near me, it’s a sort of recognition. I pasted 446 wood octopi in Paris (July 2013) and you can find my work in Lille, Rennes, Rouen and soon in Caen and Lyon……..
4. Are you solely a street artist? Do you exhibit in gallery shows or one day do you hope to show in galleries? Because some people ask me for some (Octopus) I did a collective exposition last year. I must admit this is not a finality in my work for now. My greatest pleasure is to expose my art in the streets.
5. From what I have read, you are fairly new to the street art game (please correct me if I am wrong), yet your work is incredibly different, stands out, is friendly, fun, and exciting. Where does this inspiration come from? Are you a trained artist (if so, where did you study and what medium was your favourite in school)? I started pasting my octopi in May 2011. Just before in Fall 2010 I bombed the streets of Paris with aerosol (spray paint – below). And a long time ago in the 90’s I used to make graffiti. Many guys used to be street artists but they don’t keep up their presence in the streets. For me it’s not a fashion it’s MY way of life. You would be surprised how many times I dreamt about pasting up my pieces or just note a spot in my IPhone. It’s like a drug for me! I am determined in what I do. My inspiration comes mainly from manga, comics, and everything from everyday that I like. And in terms of schooling, I have no formation in art, I’m autodidactic.
6. Who is your favourite seven-legged friend you have made to date? Is he still around and chilling somewhere for people to spot? If so where can we find this dude? My favorite is always my last one to come. I can tell you I’ve got 10 pieces to paste: it will be the hardest ever ‘LOL’. For example my first piece I ever pasted-up is still in place. That’s a part of history…But when you come to Paris, there will always be a “GZUP” in the corner. I’m working towards this…
So my friends, next time you are in France, for now primarily Paris, look up at the street corner (signs), for it is rare that you will NOT spot one of these seven-legged octopi. Take a pic, and share with us! Or post your pics with GZUP pasties on his Facebook.
P.S. Rumour has it we will soon be seeing these dudes in London! Tres exciting!!!!