French born graffiti artist Fafi’s new book “The Carmine Vault” introduces her sexy, funny, sometimes aggressive girl characters to the masses. With the likes of M.A.C. cosmetics and Adidas hankering for collaborations with her, Wonderland chatted to the France born mother, ahead of her book signing at London’s Rough Trade East on Thursday.
How and when did you come up with your graf-name “Fafi”?
A friend from my hometown came up with it, it’s derived of my surname. Thanks to him, without this, I would have lived with a countryside hairdresser or a esthetician name all my life.
Describe “The Carmine Vault”‘s story line in three words.
Violence, romance, decadence.
(Birtak -a four-legged character- is fed up of walking on the wild side. He desires to join the Ballet of Paris after seeing the way dancers are dressed up. Unfortunately, his companions are not on the same level of acceptance for this new life and get rid of him throwing the poor Birtak out. Someone is going to take care of him and help become who he wants).
Your female characters are quite sexy in a powerful way; does your work aim to challenge stereotypes?
For a long time I was following stereotypes and the vision of male artists. I was younger and was trying to seduce boys in some way. Today, I am more interested in creating a new female vision, using violent or male-ish items to our advantage.
Who else was involved in creating your new book?
I had started 10 pages when editor Ian Luna told Sarah from Colette he wanted to publish it, we stayed in touch during the whole process. I did everything from drawing to layout, colouring and lettering. I had help with the cover picture and the Lupus blueprint, but since I am very spontaneous, I literally dived into it, no research, no knowledge of the comic book field at all. Now I see the mistakes and things that could be developed, but I am thrilled of the result.
Can you see yourself in any of the Fafinettes?
I see myself in Birtak and the mean Fafinettes, the Hululu, rarely in Rosa, who is what we call a good person.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I am not a very “refer to” person – I’ve painted and created since I was 18 years old. I like to be surrounded by strange people.
It seems like there is hardly anyone who hasn’t wanted a bit of the Fafi brand – from Vogue to Adidas – but who is your dream collaborator?
Collaborations with brands are not my graal, I never think of that. I am drawn to work if I have freedom and if the project can be “global”. Which means that I am involved not only in the prints but also design, AD…
Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for the book signing at Rough Trade on May 10th?
Certainly, come and see.
Street wall or canvas?
A pencil and a rubber.
Fafi will be signing copies of “The Carmine Vault” at Rough Trade East from 7.30pm on Thursday.
Words: Jade Thompson