GRAFFITI AND TATTOO ARTIST FROM PARIS
Franck Pellegrino wearing Death to Tennis
French graffiti artist Franck Pellegrino is a man that has learned his trade through love, passion and determination. Now a part of the Bleu Noir tattoo team in Paris, Pellegrino mixes his appreciation of art and tattoos together seamlessly. As we chat with Pellegrino, we get better sense of what inspires him these days, and where his love for graffiti began.
Ivan Bideac: How old were you when you started doing graffiti?
Franck Pellegrino: Around 14 or 15 years old.
IB: So what was your last job like?
FP: I worked in a small Communications agency for a year, and the year prior I worked at a denim store in the South of France. I am an autodidact, so I had never gone to art school, but had been drawing since I was a child. During that time, I tried to educate myself in graphics. When I realized that I don’t want to do anything else but that, I moved to Paris to breathe bigger life into my passion, and now I’m living my life by doing so!
IB: I know you are also a tattoo artist; how long have you been involved with that?
FP: I started five years ago, but it feels different because unlike graffiti, this will stay on someone for forever. For me it was just another way to express myself. The exchange with the customer is even more important when you know you’re going to put art on his body that’ll last a lifetime.
IB: On your Instagram you mention that you are a member of Bleu Noir, what is that?
FP: It’s one of the best tattoo shops in Paris. Check it out.
IB: What if someone tags all over your work?
FP: I think it’s a classic situation in this game, it’s the rules of the street. If you’re a graffiti artist, it’s essential to leave your mark in New York City as there’s many ways to do so. New York City is the backbone of graffiti. So of course I get upset if someone tags over my work, but I am also mentally ready to be okay with it.
IB: Tell us about the music you prefer while you’re working?
FP: I eclectically like similar genres of music so I enjoy Soul, Jazz, Funk, Reggae and Bossa Nova. However, my most favorite genre is hip-hop. In New York my favorite artists are Flatbush Zombies, A$AP Mob, Bodega Bamz, and Troy Ave. Some older artists I enjoy are Biggie, LL Cool J, Mobb Deep, AZ, The Wu-Tang Clan, Jay-Z and many more. Hands down my favorite of all time is Nas.
IB: What about French hip-hop?
FP: I think French hip-hop is not in its best years now. During the ‘00s it was much better.
IB: Who inspires you the most in the graffiti world?
FP: I love a lot of artists who inspire me within the world of graffiti and contemporary art. On one side of the coin, I enjoy the works of someone who is more of a vandal, but on the other side I love the details that a fresco considers when creating their art. Everyone tends to express their art in their own way, and has their own type of heart as well.
There are many great artists currently such as Cleon Peterson, Gary Pantone and Os Gemeos.
With vandal art You have the crew of MSK, Revok, Pose, Rime and Nekst (R.I.P.). In New York there’s also Lions, False, Adek, Poster and the list goes on! Though I love the classic artists, such as, Seen, Dondi, KAws, Kr, etc.
IB: Have you heard the expression - “don’t trust the Frenchman?” (laughing)
FP: Really? You have this kind of expression? No... This exists? Oh Fuck. Well I’m not a real Frenchmen (laughing). But honestly I think Americans love French guys, right? We are the good guys (laughing).