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Le Bateleur - the Soul of Parisian Street Art

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

See artworks An elusive figure, both believer and anarchist, rebellious and uncompromising, refusing work but able to spend tens of hours creating a stencil, Le Bateleur created his myth in the Street Art movement. He takes his pseudonym from the character of Le Bateleur (The Magician) in the Divinatory Tarot: street man, artist and illusionist.


A rebel is born

Rêve, Révolu, Révolution (Dream, Lost, Revolution)

Born in the Belleville-Ménilmontant district in 1961, Le Bateleur, whose real name is Pascal Vaillier, is a child of the street that he will never leave. From a family of 4 children, deprived of his mother at the age of 3, his education takes place in the street before being picked up by the social services around the age of 10, institutions in which he never finds his balance and which feed his rebellion. He gets his revenge in the art and the expression of his ideas, his revolts and his hatred of the political system in place.

Street Art in Paris

Street Art is a movement and an artistic expression that emerged in the 1960s in the United States. It is born from the conjunction of aesthetic movements and social contexts. In Street Art, different tools or techniques are used and that of Le Bateleur will be the stencil.

He started by covering the walls, anxious above all to convey messages and then stick his stencils all over the street at the end of the 80s. As he does not know how to draw very well, he almost always works from a photo and features of the photocopiers of the time like a friend of his, Yarps, a stencil maker. With Yarps and other artists including Davis-Dutreix, he shares his commitments and his lifestyle within the collective La Zen Copyright. The collective brings together street painters without a fixed workshop, who work in several studio-galleries by illegally investing abandoned buildings, again and again, always the target of eviction orders.

The Artist

Le Bateleur is a street artist whose pictorial and political commitment are inseparable. He perfectly embodies the spirit of the 90s, which saw the emergence of squats. He is one of the purist artists who refuse to be taken over by galleries or publicists.

A voice for the underdogs

Le Bateleur has a collection of nearly 80 stencil models featuring characters as different as Charlie Chaplin, Albert Einstein, Zapata, the Buddha, a little girl, an African dancer ... All carry a poetic message that translates well the ideas of the artist and his desire to raise the voice of those excluded from society. He died of AIDS in January 1996.

Source: 'Paris pochoirs' de Samantha Longhi et Benoit Maître / Street Art Magazine #4: ‘Le Bateleur, fragments d’une légende’.

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