Banksy usually employs distinctive stencilling technique to produce graffiti containing some sort of political and social commentary, and his work has featured on streets, walls, and bridges in cities across the globe.
This week we look at the work of his Gallic counterpart, OaKoAk. Like Banksy, OaKoAk is a pseudonym and as, with Banksy, a large degree of speculation surrounds his real identity.
What we do know is OaKoAk is originally from Saint-Étienne, a city in central France that has produced such diverse luminaries as the 18th sculptor Antonin Moine, 20th century contemporary artist Orlan and the current orienteering world champion, Thierry Gueorgiou.
OaKoAk describes himself as “a fun-loving French artist who likes to play with urban elements”. Whether it’s a crack in a wall, a broken drain grill, a crumbling façade or an upended bollard, OaKoAk takes imperfections of the street and uses them to create artworks that are generally less political than those of Banksy, yet still contain a delicious – and sometimes dark – sense of humour.
And if it is not imperfections of the street with which OaKoAk is playing, then it is banal, everyday street features that we are normally unlikely to think twice about to which OaKoAk manages to give a new raison d’être, features such as traffic lights, doorsteps, zebra crossings, stairway banisters and utilities boxes.
To see more of OaKoAk’s work, visit his website here: oakoak.canalblog.com/ and to order OaKoAk’s book – a printed compilation of his work – please visit: www.editionpopulaire.com/blog/oakoak-first-artbook