I love coming across stories about people who, when confronted by obstacles, take an initiative, and develop clever and unique solutions to overcome those problems. So, when I heard about the urban guerrilla artist named Clet Abraham, and what he has been up to in Florence Italy, it immediately captured my fullest attention.
A French artist who moved to Florence 14 years ago, Clet was quickly on his way to becoming a starving artist. His canvas artworks were not attracting the attention that he had hoped, and his financial situation was becoming rather dire. With rent coming due, and no means of paying it, he decided to take his art direct to the consumer, by taking it to the streets. Clet told Le Point Culture: ”As an artist who doesn’t have a gallery, the street gave me the possibility to have direct access to the public – and to be adopted by them”.
Realizing that street signs demand a lot of our attention, the next step seemed obvious. Adapting unique and one of a kind “art additives” to compliment normal street signs, in a way that I have to say, is one of the most clever concepts I have come across in a while. Using decal like stickers to over-ride the signs in a non-malicious / non-destructive way (all of his decals are easily removable without damaging the signs).
Clet has been transforming traditional urban street signage into something so unique that, well….. I think it would be best to let some of the images tell that part of the story.
Each sign art piece is unique and in my humble opinion, incredibly clever.
“I make a sticker. I put it on the street sign. Two days after, for the first time in 20 years, a newspaper called me. So, I say, I think I have a good idea!” he laughs.
At first, officials weren’t pleased. He did receive a few fines. “They tried to remove everything. But I was more quick to put it again”, Clet remarked.
Today, he has fans worldwide. Art patrons pay thousands of dollars for his art.
And now he’s even leaving his mark in America. He just installed a giant nose on a Wrong Way sign at a Los Angeles intersection. “I don’t make any damage, I just do it better”, he said.
Doing it better … a mantra from an artist always looking for a sign.
And while passers-by may crack a smile when they see the humorous signage, Abraham hopes people will think twice before following instructions.
Nice work Clet!
You can follow Clet Abraham on Instagram.