Alternative London Walking Tours > Insider Blog > Thierry Noir

Thierry Noir shot to fame in the 80s when he decided the old Berlin Wall was looking a bit shabby and that the whole totalitarian state thing needed a bit of zhoozh. I do not seek to make unnecessary light of such a horror – thank goodness, frankly, for people like Thierry seeking to demystify the dehumanising effect of the wall. And it was joyous poetry that the man himself was not only there to see it come down but was also one of the first to paint the East side.

It would be fair to say the ‘East side’ of London is less political – and moreover, the walls seem designed for people like Thierry to paint on. And he did just that recently, hooking up with the great Stik to adorn the Village Underground.

street art, walking tours, Village Underground, Stik, Thierry Noir

As the paint dried, we asked Monsiuer Noir if he’d answer a few questions.

**You say everything a person does is political and clearly painting the Berlin Wall in the 80s was political. In what way(s) are your paintings at the Village Underground political?

** When you paint on the street you change the city where the citizens live. So you make politics. Politics (from the Greek” politikos ” – “of, for, or relating to citizens”) is the art or science of influencing people on a civic, or individual level, when there are more than 2 people involved.

**What reaction do you hope to inspire in those looking at your work?

** The big mural at the Village Underground I painted with Stik changes the neighbourhood, for good or bad. It depends how you like it. You are free not to like it. We are in a democracy.

**How did the collaboration with Stik come about?

** I met Stik in Berlin in October 2012 when he visited my atelier and we decided immediately that I had to come to London to paint the streets of Shoreditch.

**What artists do you rate? Any in particular in East London?

** I like all the great Street Artists of East London like:

Stik, Kid Acne, Broken Fingaz Crew, Phlegm, Pablo Delgado, The Rolling People, Run, Ben Eine, Roa.

street art, Insider London, Stik, Village Underground, Thierry Noir

**What constitutes great street art in your opinion?

** For me a great artist is somebody who is at once recognisable.

**Do you feel some newer artists get into street art for the wrong reasons – i.e. to make profit? And if that is the case, is the future of street art under threat?

** Street Art is everywhere. The advertising companies use Street Art more and more in their ads. This Street Art movement is too big to stop it. What was graffiti in the 80`s is now Street Art: One global movement. Even in China there are Street Artists now.

**For a man who has achieved a huge amount, are there any cities you haven’t yet painted in that you still have ambition to work in?

** I would like to paint something in New York City.

**These days, is there a situation comparable to living in a divided Berlin in the 80s?

** Since the Berlin Wall has gone there are new walls all around the world. Sometimes they call this new wall: Green Line or Peace border. Every wall maker says: Please do not compare our wall with the Berlin Wall. Our wall is a good wall.

**What do you still hope to achieve with your art?

** Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2010, wears a [###### Alternative London Walking Tours > Insider Blog > Thierry Noir

Thierry Noir shot to fame in the 80s when he decided the old Berlin Wall was looking a bit shabby and that the whole totalitarian state thing needed a bit of zhoozh. I do not seek to make unnecessary light of such a horror – thank goodness, frankly, for people like Thierry seeking to demystify the dehumanising effect of the wall. And it was joyous poetry that the man himself was not only there to see it come down but was also one of the first to paint the East side.

It would be fair to say the ‘East side’ of London is less political – and moreover, the walls seem designed for people like Thierry to paint on. And he did just that recently, hooking up with the great Stik to adorn the Village Underground.

street art, walking tours, Village Underground, Stik, Thierry Noir

As the paint dried, we asked Monsiuer Noir if he’d answer a few questions.

**You say everything a person does is political and clearly painting the Berlin Wall in the 80s was political. In what way(s) are your paintings at the Village Underground political?

** When you paint on the street you change the city where the citizens live. So you make politics. Politics (from the Greek” politikos ” – “of, for, or relating to citizens”) is the art or science of influencing people on a civic, or individual level, when there are more than 2 people involved.

**What reaction do you hope to inspire in those looking at your work?

** The big mural at the Village Underground I painted with Stik changes the neighbourhood, for good or bad. It depends how you like it. You are free not to like it. We are in a democracy.

**How did the collaboration with Stik come about?

** I met Stik in Berlin in October 2012 when he visited my atelier and we decided immediately that I had to come to London to paint the streets of Shoreditch.

**What artists do you rate? Any in particular in East London?

** I like all the great Street Artists of East London like:

Stik, Kid Acne, Broken Fingaz Crew, Phlegm, Pablo Delgado, The Rolling People, Run, Ben Eine, Roa.

street art, Insider London, Stik, Village Underground, Thierry Noir

**What constitutes great street art in your opinion?

** For me a great artist is somebody who is at once recognisable.

**Do you feel some newer artists get into street art for the wrong reasons – i.e. to make profit? And if that is the case, is the future of street art under threat?

** Street Art is everywhere. The advertising companies use Street Art more and more in their ads. This Street Art movement is too big to stop it. What was graffiti in the 80`s is now Street Art: One global movement. Even in China there are Street Artists now.

**For a man who has achieved a huge amount, are there any cities you haven’t yet painted in that you still have ambition to work in?

** I would like to paint something in New York City.

**These days, is there a situation comparable to living in a divided Berlin in the 80s?

** Since the Berlin Wall has gone there are new walls all around the world. Sometimes they call this new wall: Green Line or Peace border. Every wall maker says: Please do not compare our wall with the Berlin Wall. Our wall is a good wall.

**What do you still hope to achieve with your art?

** Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2010, wears a](http://www.galerie-noir.de/LiuShirtNoir/index.htm "Thierry noir t-shirt") that I made in 2001 with the Checkpoint Charlie Museum: Le Dialogue. I hope Liu Xiaobo will be free soon.

Here, here… do not underestimate the political power of art.