Oil on canvas rework of Arthur Rimbaud street art


This piece draws from the ephemeral nature of street art and Arthur Rimbaud’s symbolism. It first aims to reverse conventional norms and make a graffiti-esque picture more permanent by immortalising it using a more “noble” medium and support surface. The initial background was worked with think layers of neutral oils and a knife on canvas; then colour oils were layered on using various natural-haired brushes.  

Street art is usually something we observe in passing and has some sort of exciting mystery to it. We might or might not know who is behind it, how it got there, or if it will survive another day. It’s a strange encounter that brings some unexpected surprise to our everyday. This piece aims to capture a bit of that. Rimbaud also symbolises a libertine and vagabond spirit that was a stranger to his time. He did not quite fit in with the poets of 19th century Paris and restlessly traveled from place to place until he passed in 1891. His poetry often talks about fugue and breaking away from familiarity, and was often referred to as the rebel and “l’enfant terrible” of poetry.