Eddie Colla is an Oakland based artist who is known for his wheat paste and stencil art. His art visually challenges the viewer to question their environment and thoughts on pressing social issues and individually draw their own conclusions about how they think things ought to be. Periodically Eddie’s art can be found on the San Francisco Bay Area streets as well as in art galleries. This past year has been sparse as he has pasted up in far flung places.
He has a show titled Nothing Lasts Forever opening this coming Thursday, August 6th at 1AM Gallery in San Francisco. We met up with Eddie to hear about his most recent trip to Paris and the theme of his show.
You have done some traveling this past year pasting your art up in different parts of the world including a trip to Thailand with D Young V and most recently Paris. What was the Paris street scene like and can art be found in all the arrondissements or is in concentrated in various parts of the city?
I was there for a month and Paris is a big place, so I can’t really speak about the entire city. I am sure there are tons of places I never got to. That said there is a lot of street art happening and it changes on a day to day basis. It is definitely a lot more active than SF.
People are getting up on a nightly basis. Also the buff is much less aggressive, pieces ride for a little bit get seen I was there in January and there was still a bunch of work of mine up when I returned in June. It’s not one of these places where you put a piece up and 8 hours later its been buffed. There seems to be a different attitude about public space there and people seem to be more engaged in the art that is happening and emerging in their neighborhoods. People would often write comments about a piece on it or next to it. Not as a dis. It wasn’t just like someone drawing a cock and balls on one of the faces. Often it was a legitimate dialogue. Also the Homie Nite Owl came through while I was there and it’s always good to get up with The Owl
Seems like there is a lot more wheat pasting going on in other cities on a larger scale than we see here? Is it easier getting up there? Where did you paste up?
There is definitely a lot more wheat pasting in Paris. There is also a lot more social commentary and politics in the work. Paris is definitely not as heavily Policed as most American cities and yet much of the City feels safer than a lot of American cities. So Yes, it is easier to get up there. Street art is constantly happening so your average guy on the street doesn’t necessarily notice or care what you’re doing. Just from my observations it seems like Parisians don’t really have this expectation that they should try to control public space to the degree that residents of SF have. They seem more accepting of the idea that public space is appropriate place for expression.
Paris is one of the most populated cities in the world and the French are stereotyped of not being the most welcoming within their inner circles. Did you get a feel for the community?
First off, let me set something straight. I have heard all the stereotypes and talk of Parisians being obnoxious, rude, unaccommodating. I am not really sure where that comes from. My experiences were the polar opposite. People were much more pleasant and helpful than I experience here on a generally. In all the traveling I’ve done over the past year I have consistently noticed that everywhere I’ve been people seem considerably less pissed off than people in the U.S.. I’m not sure what I attribute that to but it is very apparent.
Have the trips impacted your art?
I can’t say they have directly impacted my art at this point. They have impacted my life, and so eventually that will impact my art, but it’s a slow process.
It’s a vibrant place. People are out. Eating, Drinking, Sitting in cafes etc. It seems like a small thing but there is always something going on, there is constant activity. I live in Oakland and sometimes I’m out in the middle of the day and the streets are like a fucking ghost town, there’s just no one around. After awhile you start to notice the things you don’t see. Like fat people, or people wearing pajama pants and flip-flops at the grocery store or 4 story parking garages or SUVs or knuckleheads wearing backwards baseball caps with their arms covered in retarded tattoos. On the downside, much or the city smells like urine. Really the French will take a piss anywhere, but no place is perfect.
Your works have explored powerful visual themes such as Memento Mori (object reminders of death), After the Apocalypse (Surviving the aftermath of mass destruction), Atavism (Reverting to behaviors of ancestral past). The theme of this show is Nothing lasts Forever. Is there a common underlying theme to your body of works and is this show a continuum or a departure from the theme.
It’s in large part a continuum. Nothing Lasts Forever is a collection of images that I have put up over the past 10 months during my travels. Those pieces will or have gone away or maybe remain as some residual mark. All of the thoughts and experiences I’ve had from that period of time are being recounted and erased simultaneously and being replaced by new thoughts and experiences. The text in these pieces is mostly illegible due to the process of writing and writing over and erasing. What’s left is not a clear narrative but the build up or stain of experiences. The mark of things or thoughts that once were and are no longer
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