Urban artist Peintre X has made the city his gallery. Keen to make art accessible to everyone – not just collectors – the mysterious artist distributes his work around Munich (and Bangkok, Paris and London, among others) for passers-by to take home with them. If they like, they can pay the artist for the work they’ve happened upon, but it’s no prerequisite.
Peintre X has built up a fan base in Munich and his pieces generally don’t hang around the city for long. I caught up with the artist to ask more about his motivations behind sharing his art on the streets.
What made you decide to distribute your artwork on the streets?
As a painter, I wanted to anonymously exhibit my pieces on the city’s streets, and in doing so, I wanted to give something back to the society that inspires my art. My art appears in a new, other way, and I use the social, public space to display my work. Spatially and temporally, it’s a new way to view art – it’s accessible to everyone, to all of society, regardless of age, level of education or financial status.
How long do your pieces hang in public?
I can’t say – I don’t tend to revisit all of the places I display my art in. But I do receive messages from people who find or are looking for my pieces – sometimes after twenty minutes, sometimes after nine months. For me, my part is completed when I display the picture – the rest is in the hands of society.
Do you carefully select the places where you display your work, or are they chosen indiscriminately?
I choose them indiscriminately – but I never display my pieces on other artworks or on monuments and memorials.
Do you often hear from people who find your pictures? How many people tend to donate?
From time to time, people write to tell me they’ve happened upon a picture of mine, and some of them do give something for it. Some people send me proof, and some ask me what sort of organization would be good to support.
Do you hang your images on the street primarily because you enjoy doing so, or because it helps raise your profile?
It gives me great pleasure – and I also want to expand the scope of art somewhat. I’m firmly of the opinion that art doesn’t just reflect society, but can also bring about change.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Travel, art fairs, buses, museums, conversations – from everywhere, all the time.
What are your views on Munich’s art scene?
Definitely far too small! I hope that’ll change, and that the city’s various art events contribute to the scene’s growth.
Which artists do you most admire?
There are a fair few Munich artists whose work I really like. But I don’t want to neglect or emphasize anyone.