After painting large murals throughout the world and more recently transforming an abandoned house into ‘the universal chapel’ in Arkansas, also dubbed the ‘Sixtine chapel of street art’, Spanish artist Okuda is brightening up a high-rise block of flats in Paris by giving it a contemporary makeover.
Okuda has just spray-painted a colourful version of the famous Mona Lisa on the side of the building, creating one of Europe’s tallest murals at 50 metres (164 feet) high by 15 meters wide. It is the tallest mural of his career, using more than 450 spraycans to create the colourful artwork during five days.
‘The City of Paris and Mona Lisa are intricately linked, so it was a natural choice’. The street artist wanted to pay tribute to the French culture and to the iconic portrait at the Musee du Louvre.
Okuda is a surrealist pop artist with a psychedelic universe, his subjects are very colourful and this artwork is no exception.
With zebra hair and a rainbow cubic face, the reinterpretation of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, also known as La Gioconda, depicts a standing woman in a starry sunset, with a bird on her shoulder and carrying a handbag. The handbag is decorated with repetitive patterns, reminiscent of a famous French luxury brand, as a nod to Paris as capital of Luxe and Fashion.
The multi-cultural-skinned woman is illustrated by different types of colourful fabric from dots, stripes and stars like different parts of the world.
While we have seen many reinterpretations of this famous portrait, it is also very unusual to see the Gioconda standing, we discover here the rest of her body with curvy shapes, standing in rainbow waters.
We were lucky to join Okuda on his cherry picker during the painting process, so here are some pics or the work in progress. This modern colourful portrait celebrates Paris as a capital of culture, luxe and fashion but also its population from a multicultural background and diversity. So if you are in Paris, instead of queuing at the Louvre Museum just visit the XXIII District of Paris in Choisy where you can enjoy this monumental portrait in the open air.