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Home BLOGS Count Trackula Giant: My best trip to Europe yet!

Giant: My best trip to Europe yet!

Written by Count Trackula   
Wednesday, 09 May 2007 05:14
Nine incredible days in Paris and Amsterdam. 106 photos. Be patient.
Just back from Europe. I was there for my opening in Paris at the Magda Danysz Gallery. I also got to visit Amsterdam for the first time.

I arrived in Paris on Tuesday April 24. Sophie, one of Magda's assistants, picked me up at Charles de Gaulle and took me straight to the gallery. I dropped off the work, met the staff, and worked out some details.

Then I met up with my buddy Alon...



His car has seen a lot of action since last summer. It's covered in tags now, inside and out. Awesome.


We met up with our homie Alex (Psyckoze) in Bagnolet. Lots of visiting artists have painted the neighborhood walls, including Andre (above).


Psy comes through with a nice one outside his pad.


Up the street is the 115 studio. Alex runs it as a studio for visiting artists. The building was a squat for many years and the local gov't granted him control of the building to use as a studio. France rocks. This is a shot of the painting studio. There's also a darkroom, a music studio, and a huge garage with silkscreening equipment and tools for building bikes. It's a super inspiring atmosphere. I hope to spend a month there next summer.


This is Alex's desk.


There's an old school toilet on the ground floor. Watch the splash.


On Wednesday afternoon (Apr 25), I posse'd up with the crew and painted some canvases for a collector of graffiti art. He's got canvases by many of the most famous graffiti writers, mostly Americans. He's building a collection to be toured in major museums in a few years. He's trying to acquire Alon's car for the show too. He's got a TON of work already. He has a building with a studio full of canvases and paint. I just showed up, painted for a few hours, and he paid me cash. That's about as easy as it gets.


This is a shot of myself with Alex and French actor Gerard Depardieau. Gerard stopped by to see the collection. I had just seen him play Rodin in "Camille Claudel" (watch it), so I was pretty starstruck. I see actors as artists, so it's a great thrill to meet the famous artists of our time. He was mad cool.


That evening we got pho, and a crackhead had to be escorted out of the restaurant. Just like 6th Street in SF. Good times.


This was breakfast the following morning at Versailles. A cheese crepe, an EmergenC, a coffee, and a big bottle of water. Just what I needed. I went to Versailles with my friends Jeff and Ben, homies from Albuquerque. They were in Paris for the tattoo convention happening that weekend. Versailles was super rad, but I didn't take any photos. I think everybody has seen it anyway. If not, just watch "Marie Antoinette". It's bananas. Fucking rich people.


Thursday night, April 26, was a special VIP opening at the gallery. I drank quite a bit of this delicious cognac. Magda, the gallery owner, arranged a fantastic dinner in the gallery for about 80 guests. I met lots of high-end collectors and curators, gov't officials, and foxy older Parisian ladies. That went on until 3am. Party!


On Friday the 26th, I went to the Parc Floral (thus the flowers) to visit Jeff and Ben at the tattoo convention. I hate tattoo conventions, and the Paris one was no exception. I just think it's a terrible environment for making tattoos. The Parc Floral had a bonsai exhibit that was off the hook though. Very dope.




That evening was another preview guest list opening. These are some flics of the space. I showed 24 large illustrations. All black and white, all Sharpie. All clearcoated in UV gloss.


That's Carl on the hood of Alon's car. I met him at the opening. He's one of the coolest guys I met in France, and he's from LA. He lives in Marseilles. I had planned on moving to Marseilles when I left SF a few years ago, so it was cool to meet him and learn more about his city. I hope to spend some time down there next summer working with him.


JonOne brought Babar!


Late that night, we got a crew of five together for a trip to the famed catacombs. Our journey began with a 30' descent from the street. Alex had just the right tool for moving 100lb. manhole covers.


Some spots were a little sketchy.


Alex and Seb deep in the abyss.


Next time I'm wearing boots like Alex. The water was a foot deep in some places.


We explored the area under the Montparnasse graveyard. This way to the cemetary...




Alex was our guide. He is the foremost explorer of the catacombs. Check out a DVD called "Dead Space" for more info. It's without question one of the most incredible places I've ever been. The previous images were taken in the main bone room. It was about 10x12', with a 5-6' ceiling. The entire floor was human bones. Piles and piles of bones. And because there's no light and lots of moisture, the bones feel somehow alive in your hands. It's awesome. We chilled in there for about an hour, smoking spliffs, drinking beer, and talking. During our stay, some other catacombs explorers stopped for a minute to say Hi. It's crazy down there in the middle of the night.


There was tons of graffiti down there from the mid 1800s to now. I've never seen older graffiti. And the marks looked brand new. Nothing ages down there.




Alex told me that this graffiti was written by Caron (and) Brouve, obviously in 1858. It seemed to be marked with an oil paint stick or something. It still felt somewhat wet to the touch. Caron and Brouve were cops that patrolled the catacombs when people were smuggling stuff through there. Tagger cops. That's tight.


Which way out?!


Alex getting up while Ben looks on, and gets filthy.


Eventually we arrived at this winding tunnel full of bones. Way more bones in a way tighter space made it even more exciting than the main bone room.


My buddy Seb got another spliff burning.


I could tell that Alex was in his element under Paris. He met his wife down there. Last year he took his twin 8 year old daughters and 6 of their friends to the catacombs for Halloween. They loved it.


Alon was loving it too.


My buddy Ben finished off this signature skull before we threw it back into the hall of doom.


Squish, squish, squish, squish....


At 5am, we were back on the street feeling 150% alive. From R to L, Alex, Seb, myself, Ben, and Alon. Fucking incredible adventure. Thanks, Alex. We'll do it again next year.


At noon, the same day, April 28, I met up with Gorey and KRSN for an afternoon of spraypainting. This bus was parked at our rendezvous point, Republique.


We took a cab out to Saint Ouen, a suburb of Paris. We met with Horfe at an abandoned industrial area. Horfe and Gorey already had a few pieces in the area.


Fresh Gorey piece.


I think Horfe's girlfriend painted these.


Fucking' awesome.


Nice stencil.


The spot was fresh. I love this kind of shit.


Hash in a can. It was my idea. Ghetto.


The tobacco in Seb's spliffs made me super dizzy.


Getting our graf on.


Such a sick spot.


The finished piece. KRSN hooked up the enormous character in the middle. Nice.


Here's Horfe getting down with a glass extention. Super inventive guy. Many styles.


Nice handstyles from KRSN.


On the way out, Gorey hooked up this scrap quickie.


Here's Seb goofing off in the cab on the way out of Saint Ouen, headed to my public opening at the gallery.


I got to the opening half an hour late, covered in dirt and paint from the afternoon's adventures. This is what I ran into. A full band on the streets...




and lots of people. Party!


Alex was pimpin'...


and rolling fatties with Alon.


I had a pizza delivered.


Tours of cyclists were rolling deep.


This guy from Ultralab was bugging out on some performance art styles in the basement of the gallery. Whoa, dude.


That's Valou on the left and Miss Van on the right. They came up from Barcelona to see the show. They were mad cool. I'll be in a group show with Miss Van in Barcelona in July. Hope I can make it to the opening.


We finished off the night with margaritas and burritas at Taco Loco.


The following morning, April 29, I caught the 10am train to Amsterdam. I got there about 4 hours later. I met my friend Craig at the train station. He's an old friend from SF that's now living in Amsterdam. When we got to his apartment, I was introduced to his dog Jersey.


The flowers at his pad were sweet...


especially when you're smoking Apple Jack on a Sunday afternoon.


This mint tea saved my life. Just mint leaves in hot water. Simple and delicious.


Can I get a pre-rolled joint? Pure, please. Thank you.


Amsterdam is gorgeous. Someday I want to live on one of these houseboats.


Really cool rooflines, and because the ground is sand all the buildings are little crooked.


Craig's pad is on the top floor of the 5th building on the left.


The view from his apartment. Nice.


Craig was making 8mm movies while I was there. Old cameras are so cool.


I love the roof on this building.


The tile details on this one are nuts.


Great lettering.


The canals were so cool.






We stopped for a beer at this REALLY old pub. Check out the date on the window.


Bikes, bikes, bikes.


The family bike.


I spotted this cool bike, and was HIT with the smell of fresh, hot croissants...




Nice plate.




Tiny beater.


I left some Krink in Amsterdam.


Saw some fresh bombing.




April 30th was Queen's Day in Holland. Most Dutch folks headed to Amsterdam to party in the streets for the day. It was the biggest party I've ever seen. All of Amsterdam was shoulder-to-shoulder, drinking beer, smoking grass, popping pills, and dancing to loud techno music coming from every corner. I had a fucking ball.




The "Ex Porn Star" party boat? Oh yeah.


How about some ham? Not for me, thanks.


The mens room.


The party started to chill after the sun went down.


The Red Light District was bugged out.


By the end of the night, the streets were wrecked. Hell of a party!


I returned to Paris on Tuesday May 1st. Alon picked me up and we got some beers.


Then back to the 115 studio for some smoky treats. Happy birthday, Thomas!


Alex and I played records.


And I got the perfect sendoff from Alex's daughters. Thanks, girls. You rock.

Thanks to everyone that made this year's trip such a memorable one.

(No comments, please.)

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