In Part II of 'Meribel's Stolen Moments', Meribel's reputation as a beautiful 'winter wonderland' gets a graf style mix up. Local graf artist, renowned for his tagging and artistry alike, slides into local cafe Elderflower Fizz, to create a hidden 'Alice in Wonderland' room. The Wardette Studio joined him over the course of it's creation, to document it's story.
Keep scrolling and reading to see the finished piece...
Meribel might be one of the most picturesque alpine villages I've ever visited. Once those perfect chalet rooftops get topped with a thick layer of soft snow, the entire town turns into this magic 'winter wonderland'.. But underneath the picture postcard is something far more exciting.
This wicked place has a gorgeous under-belly of culture, which is not defined by the amount of ski-passes sold per season.
I've already talked here on the blog, about the brilliant music scene out here, which forms part of this culture I speak of. There are other facets to it too. One which is fairly obvious, is the immense passion of the riders and skiiers, who year on year, return so they can ride everyday. Be they park rats or powder monkeys, it's the crazy mind blowing stuff they do on the hill, quietly and unassumingly, between shifts or gigs, which can be the most exciting.
Another part of that culture, is the awesome mix of people which are collected here.
From all sorts of creative backgrounds, we have come out here and brought our own piece of different to the fold.
In this particular case, the creativity is linked to a long standing relationship between skate and snowboard sub-culture. My personal love of hiphop, since a very young age, and myself being an artist, has meant that the graf scene has always been an integral part of everything I considered cool- including the fact that it has in it's largest sense, remained illegal and underground since it's inception. I have artist friends who have side stepped into mural work,
but this guy learned his craft in the realest, streetest of ways. And he lives and breaths a passion for it. For this, he has my utmost respect.
In a much more 'above board' context, the team at Elderflower Fizz invited the artist to transform their toilet. A small room tucked into the back of the cafe, it doesn't seem like the most exciting, creative prospect. But whilst beavering away in that tiny room, in the fumes, hour on hour, night after night, the guy managed to completely turn it around. Each time I went in there, with my cling filmed wrapped camera (a lesson learned last time I worked with him, and got too close to the spray can! Thank god for filters!)
I was surrounded by the thin mist of fumes and colours, the heady smell of spray paint, and the sounds of the hissing aerosols and shaking cans.
It was bursting with colour from the start, with gorgeous fading work and little details. But as the Alice in Wonderland characters began to step out of the space, his vision sort of.. popped. I watched him sift through the seemingly bottomless bags of spray cans, choosing colours;
using his paint daubed fingertips to scratch one layer of paint from the swatch on the can..
"Oh, this is actually the brown I wanted.. didn't realise 'cos it was covered in pink wasn't it" With a chuckle and smile, he's back in the room.
I've photographed it, and tried to tell the story here... But you have to go and see it for yourself. You have to get down to Elderflower Fizz, and open that toilet door yourself, to really get a sense of how much it jumps out at you from nowhere. Getting artists involved in these sorts of projects, also reflects the community and collectivity of this place. It's exciting, and because it's not commercial or neutral, all the cooler for it.
It might be hidden away in cafe bathroom, but it's art!
Thanks to this awesome artist, who remains anonymous for obvious reasons, and to Elderflower Fizz for asking me along to tell this story. Go grab yourself a lunch and visit this hidden room of magic and art (even if you don't need the bathroom!).