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Megumi Nemo, poetic street art

Megumi Nemo, Japanese illustrator and street artist, puts poetry on the Paris walls.

A graduate of the Joshibi University College of Fine Arts in Tokyo, Megumi Nemo attended the Setsu Mode Seminar, a school founded by Setsu Nagasawa (1917-1999, illustrator). This workshop trained artists such as fashion designers Rei Kawakubo (Comme des garçons) and Yoji Yamamoto, and illustrators who are now well known in Japan.

After designing theatre costumes, she turned to illustration, which she discovered while working at the Chihiro Museum in Tokyo. The museum is located in the former home of the famous children’s illustrator, Chihiro Iwasaki (1918-1974).

She was immersed in the world of children’s books and poetry. She also learned exhibition techniques by hanging original works by great artists.

Why a Japanese visual artist choose Paris to create ?

It is within the Chihiro Museum, which covers the work of children’s illustrators from all over the world, that she builds her very particular graphic identity.

At that time, in parallel to her activity as an artist, Megumi cultivated a passion for French rock and in particular for the band “Têtes raides”. She decided to go to France to see them in concert ! That was in 2005 and since then, Megumi has never left France where she has built her life.

Meet Megumi in Paris

On Thursday 25 February, we received a message from Megumi Nemo, an artist we had been in contact with for some time: 

I have several pieces of images that can compose and build a large image. If I can, I’d like to try to stick on rue des Cascades in the 20th district. But we’ll see… with the atmosphere of the place! If you feel like it, let me know. Megumi 

We’ve been wanting to see Megumi in action on Parisian walls for a long time. So without hesitation, we made an appointment for the following Sunday, rue des cascades in Paris, 20th arrondissement.

A naive, minimalist style

Street art : Painted paper- Collage on wall

Megumi creates illustrations, cut-outs, collages but also small animated films, all in a naive and minimalist style. Her creations emanate the nostalgia of childhood.She also knows how to deal with serious subjects around childhood, nature, animals but also reading and music. She features a little boy and a little girl wearing striped long-sleeved T-shirts. There are also several animals, starting with a small dog, but also a bull and birds. 

In Megumi, legs, arms and hands often appear as “body parts”. The hands are bird wings or yellow flowers in a blue field.

Imaginary of childhood

Fresco on rue Saint Honoré in Versailles in 2017

Her favourite colours are blue, yellow and red but she can also create in black and white with just a touch of bright colour. 

Among the many facets of street art or urban art (which is expressed in the form of paintings, frescoes, collages, installations, photographs, posters…), Megumi is part of a poetic street art or a street art of the imagination.

She modestly rubs shoulders with big names in street art such as Jerôme Mesnager, Pejac, Escif, Seth or Bansky.

Megumi's street art brings poetry to the city

Megumi is currently supported by the Sway Gallery in the 3rd arrondissement in Paris, a gallery that promotes Japanese artists.

 She has also created several frescoes for French cities such as on several walls in Versailles or in a square in Le Pré-Saint-Gervais.

When Megumi started pasting her drawings in Paris, she chose the wall of 53 rue des cascades in the 20th arrondissement.

Inspiration and street style

She liked to walk along this street which inspired her. She stuck her character of a little boy in a boat.

When the owner of the house returned home (after a week’s holiday by the sea), she was won over by the poetry of Megumi’s collages and contacted her on Instagram. Since then, the owner has regularly called her back when the work fades so that Megumi can paste a new one… and the story has gone on for several years as the weather changes !

Street artist Megumi Nemo charms passers-by

Megumi prepares her drawings at home on craft paper, which she paints with acrylic and cuts with a pair of scissors. She works on her collages on the floor of her flat and then puts them in a large plastic bag, with a pot of wallpaper paste and a brush. 

 Depending on the height of her collages, she uses a folding stool that she can raise with several polystyrene sheets.

During her collages, passers-by stop, chat with each other, take photos, videos… young people, old people, children, women, men, couples, families… fleeting bonds are formed around the work in progress.

For 10 seconds or for 10 minutes, passers-by are under the spell of Megumi Nemo’s poetic collages.

Crédit photos : Megumi Nemo

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