When Fuzi started out as a graffiti artist, he was tagging trains in Paris when he couldn’t be seen, always on the lookout for police. For his so-called vandalism, he was arrested twenty times.
Today, graffiti, has become a globally movement and Fuzi is held as a living legend by the international graffiti community. He has published several books, such as “Fuzi UV TPK – Flash Tattoo Collection No 1”, “Fuzi UV TPK – Flash Tattoo Collection No 2”, and “MA LIGNE” and showcased his work around the world. Fuzi has also tattooed his art on celebrities such as Diplo, Scarlett Johansson, and Justice. He’s the founder of the international lifestyle brand IPBF (Ignorant People By Fuzi), and collaborates with individuals and brands as an art director, consultant, and illustrator.
For the past five years, Fuzi has lived between his hometown of Paris and Los Angeles. We caught up with him during Miami Art Basel 2021, during which he painted murals and presented “Defaced” at Miami’s Museum of Graffiti, an exhibition of new pieces on canvas and historic works from his days as a train painter in Paris.
How did you become interested in graffiti?
At the end of ‘80s, I lived with my father and his apartment was located near a train station in the suburbs of Paris. I was fourteen and hung out there often with my friends. I became fascinated with the different lines and curves of the graffiti tags on trains. I always had this need within me to express myself and graffiti has a strong element of freedom to it, you really can do whatever you want. Graffiti is going against everything and being everywhere.
What’s the difference between graffiti and street art?
Graffiti is the writing of your name in illegal spaces. Street art is public art and it can be several things. The Museum of Graffiti in Miami is very interesting in how they educate people about graffiti on its own, and not as street art. For me, graffiti is like a tree with different branches and street art is one of them.
Graffiti is a controversial art form, how did you manage to thrive?
At some point when growing up, I realized I needed to do something more artistic, so I started teaching myself about different mediums. I had always taken photos of graffiti and in a way that helped me open my mind as to how I could evolve my art. From 2000 to 2005, I experimented with different ways to make graffiti, including tattooing. I started practicing on myself, without any training, tattooing my most famous designs. I called the style “Ignorant,” to convey the folk art element of what I was doing, tattooing simple lines. I was doing a lot of traveling and started tattooing in weird spots, like bookstores and underground galleries and posting my work online. That attracted a fan base.
Are there particular artworks you’re most proud of?
What I’m most proud of is my transitioning into the art world without betraying what I am with graffiti. My work is about passion, never about the money. Keeping that state of mind is what helped me bring graffiti into the art I’m making right now.
Where do you think your work will take you?
I’m 46 now and probably at the best moment of my life as to how I can express myself. Now I get it, I feel comfortable about what I can and can’t do and I understand the industry. My main focus is to enjoy life and never betray what I am. I’m so grateful about everything that has happened to me.
What projects are you excited about for the future?
I’m currently writing a book. I also have a special tattoo session coming up in Poland, where I’ll be working on stage while the rapper band Pro8l3m performs.
About the museum of Graffiti
Located in Miami’s Wynwood District, the Museum of Graffiti is a leading contemporary art museum dedicated to sharing the power of expression, sparking wonder, and inspiring creativity for and about the graffiti art movement. At the Museum of Graffiti, visitors can explore the history of graffiti in an experiential setting with interactive exhibitions and unique shows. The Museum seeks to honor and preserve the unique art form and to exhibit important works for permanent viewing. Through changing exhibitions and programs, the Museum aims to introduce visitors to the artists, paintings, photos, sculptures, works on paper, and designs that have captivated youth and adults for over fifty years, as well as the environment in which the global art movement formed.
The Museum of Graffiti is open from Monday to Thursday from 11 AM to 6 PM, and from Friday to Sunday 11 AM to 7 PM. Entry is $16 + tax/fees for adults.
Where: 299 NW 25th Street, Miami, FL 33127