Charles Leval, a.k.a. Levalet, is a French-based street artist whose paste-up work can be found throughout numerous French cities. Son of the old school of Black le Rat and Jeff Aerosol, Levalet developed his street painting through a genuine and intimate approach.
Inspired by theatre, cinema and improvisation, Levalet utilises references from live entertainment and other artistic fields to create his very own fictional troupe of comedians. In order to achieve maximum realism, the Artist stages his life-size characters firstly by thoroughly researching the spaces in which they will be brought to life. Portrayed using ink on paper, inspired by the staged photographs in theatre, the Artist’s renders are made dynamical and relatable in order to be taken to the streets and affixed to public spaces.
Masked as an ordinary guy wearing the typical French sailor top, Levalet’s character is Ulysses as much as Nobody, if we prefer leaving him without a name. We could call him with our children’s names because that boy who shyly hides his face beneath the hat is what it seeks and what it finds, in itself and others.
Popping out like an illusionist introducing the spectator to a charming reality parallel to our own, yet finely entangled with it, The Artist alternate versions of himself, his wife and his son embarking on comedic adventures, letting us play in a game of visual dialogue with the urban environment, interacting with the architecture, and surprising us passers-by, offering a peek into this surreal other world.
The actuality of the psychological analysis, the poetics of narrative research and the irony that accompanies it combined with the pictorial excellence, the elegance and balance of colour, and again the use of materials consistent with the origins of the movement of the street, are just some of the elements that make this artist one of the most representative messengers of a contemporary collective sentiment.