Le Sonneur: Anonymous French street artist who likes to evoke imagination and emotion through manipulation of the mundane...
I don’t know if any of you know this but I have been learning the French language for a while now (I like to think I’m getting pretty good 😉 ), and after a second cosmic traveller adventure to go explore all the art in Paris I became just a little bit obsessed with the street and urban art scene there!
I already knew that French (particularly Parisian) art is incredibly diverse and the art scene full of some of the most creative people I could imagine to meet, but after visiting Paris again I have now decided that the street and urban art scene there is really very unique… I have never seen so much incredible and addictive work!
Hence my discovery of Le Sonneur – English translation: The Ringer (who challenged me by answering his interview questions in French… love it!).
WHO IS LE SONNEUR?
Le Sonneur is, he admits, very secretive and completely anonymous.
“I am someone who is very discreet,” he explains.
For this reason there’s only specific questions he’ll answer about his work… which I like. I think it actually adds to the effect of his work… but more on that later.
Although he’s a secretive kinda of guy, he does say; “I live in Paris but I travel a lot… I go to the States and California several times a year. It’s a region that inspires me a lot. That’s why you might find some red bells in Venice Beach or Malibu”.
SO, WHAT DOES HE DO?
The red bells he mentions are just one part of a huge collection of works he exhibits both in the street and in galleries. His work consists mainly of:
1. Love letters
Anonymous love letters for passersby to find ❤
Working doorbells with phrases and terms of endearment that will arouse your curiosity and make you wonder, “What sort of person could be behind the door?…”
3. Door hangers
A similar effect to to his doorbells… they’ll make you curious as to who’s behind them.
Another way to make you wonder who could be behind the door…
Now, going back to what I was saying earlier; I think his discretion actually adds great effect to to the work he creates. Knowing that he likes his work to make the passerby question what type of person might be behind the door they see, or in the building they walk past… My initial thoughts are that his anonymity adds even more intensity to the viewer’s curiosity, again raising the question of who might be behind it.
This appears to be a recurring theme; to elicit an emotional response in the viewer that encourages them to let their mind run away with them, especially through use of romantic monikers. Evoking the viewers’ imagination; encouraging their daydreaming and curiosity… Le Sonneur’s work is inherently emotionally-charged.
[Interesting fact: letting your mind run away with you – daydreaming– is actually good for your brain.]
WHEN DID YOU START EXPERIMENTING WITH STREET ART?
For Le Sonneur, it started with other mediums.
“I studied art and architecture,” he says. “First I drew, then painted, before becoming interested in street art a few years ago. I began to create in the street in the USA and Mexico, during my travels, before then continuing on back to Paris.”
WHO INFLUENCED YOU?
Although I’m not that great at critiquing architecture – I appreciate it but actually critically analysing it.. well, I don’t think I’m quite there – Aldo Van Eyck‘s work is particularly interesting, especially the Hubertus House in Amsterdam.
Hubertus House – a hostel for single parents and their kids – was designed with families in mind; with lots of open space, colour, and meeting places… but also places for privacy too – just read about it here – it’s really interesting!
It’s also interesting to see how Le Sonneur’s work links in to Aldo’s; Aldo spent a lot of time creating playgrounds in Amsterdam from the 1940’s onwards with the aim of ‘giving space to the imagination’ and inspiring the minds of children. (Read more here!)
Le Sonneur also aims to stimulate the mind and ignite the imagination. Different approaches, but very similar aims 🙂
Une jolie parisienne… #lesonneur #streetart (Link in bio www.lesonneur.com) #love #lover #lovers #anonymous #loveinparis #iloveparis #parisart #art #streetartparis #urbanart #artparis #contemporaryart #street #streetphoto #streetphotography #streetphotoparis #igersparis #streetparis #paris #bells #redbells #door #doors #doortraits #onlydoors #girl #parisiangirl
Le Sonneur adds, ” I also like books by Georges Perec such as, “An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris” or “Life a User’s Manual“, where he describes the daily strangers. I like pop culture, comics, popular cinema… I like to find the beauty in the mundane… I love the little things that brighten the day”.
Perec’s book Life a User’s Manual (La Vie Mode d’Emploi) is a mix of different stories and ideas based on the lives of the inhabitants of a fictitious Parisian apartment block. It makes sense that Le Sonneur would be inspired by his work; both artists explore the idea of unknown inhabitants behind the doors of the city… what sort of life might they lead… what stories could be unfolding behind the scenes.
Finding beauty in the mundane is also something I can relate to wholeheartedly; it’s something I try to do everyday. But then again I think most of us artists would agree that we are trying to make our somewhat mundane reality just a bit more bearable through art 😉
WHICH MEDIUMS DO YOU NORMALLY USE?
“I use collage for my doorbells; paper and collage for my Love Letters, paper and card for my Door Hangers. I love these fragile mediums; I see them as a short-lived poetry… my works are in passing… like the passersby who notice them in the city…”
"Love Letters" stickers at your doors in Paris / www.lesonneur.com #lesonneur #streetart #love #loveletters #loveletter #iloveyou #iloveparis #parisart #artparis #art #streetartparis #parisstreetart #streetarteverywhere #urbanart #contemporaryart #street #streetphoto #streetphotography #streetphotoparis #igersparis #streetparis #paris #parisphoto #photoparis #paris #bells #redbells #door #doors #doortraits #onlydoors
I love this idea and think it’s very beautiful. The use of fragile mediums making the work short-lived… it’s just so reminiscent of the life of any street art piece (even when they’re created with long-lasting mediums!).
He adds, “For my works exhibited in galleries, I use photography and collage… and I’m currently working on some sculptures and some serigraphs (silkscreen prints).”
I’m very interested to see the sculptures!
😎 "Personne" et 💋 "My love" 40x40cm, disponibles à la Galerie Strip Art (www.stripart.com) 💘🔔🚪(Photographie contrecollée et collage de la sonnette sur Dibon (aluminium) avec châssis rentrant) #lesonneur #streetart #paris #urbanart #contemporaryart #artcontemporain #art #parisart #artparis #streetartparis
WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE ARTISTS?
Like nearly every artist I talk to, it appears he has too many to name.
(Rene Magritte’s work is incredible but his backstory is very sad 😦 )
WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
“With my art, I like to divert the mundane in order to arouse the imagination and the emotion amongst the passersby. I like to tell them that rare and exceptional people may be hiding behind these doors… a love, a lover, a beautiful stranger… and if you ring? And if…”
DO YOU HAVE ANY PIECES OF WORK YOU ARE REALLY PROUD OF?
“Proud?” he asks. “I am not someone who is satisfied. I like open works, and the ones that are to come… However, I have a particular tenderness for the first artwork that I bought myself from a Parisian collector, a photo with a bell… “my love”…”
I think a lot of artists can relate to the feeling of never being satisfied. I know I do!