Fafi is not a girl power celebrity. Fafi is the small town graffiti writer from Toulouse, France who is now the painter who blows up shop all over the world with sexy characters, The Fafinettes.
Fafiâ€™s characters live in the virtual world, Carmine Vault. Found in the Carmine Vault: sad elephant-like creature called Hmilos; big romantic lumps of earth called Hillminis; and a pirate rat named Birtak. (The Fafinettes amputated Birtakâ€™s leg, replacing it with a wooden prosthetic cane. The Fafinettes didnâ€™t want Birtak to get away.)
Fafi has deals with Adidas, toys and sheâ€™s turned Lily Allen into a Fafinette for Mark Ronsonâ€™s music video â€œOh My God.â€
â€œI wanted to hit some boys, I wanted to provide them with sexier pictures than what they were able to show us.â€
Format: Hmilo is a depressed creature who feels happy when he is brushing the Fafinettes hair with his teeth. Is Hmilo currently getting treatment for his depression?
Fafi: In the Carmine Vault, there is no treatment for depression, it’s not a bad thing to be surrounded by negative feelings and be sad. There is no competition between inhabitants and no need to hide your feelings. As you said, Hmilo finds his happiness in brushing the Fafinettes hair and that’s enough. Losing the best when you once had it is difficult; he was born depressed, he has no information about being happy, so it’s not a big deal.
Format: After graduating from the Opera Garnier, is Birtak currently touring as a Ballerina?
Fafi: This is a very special situation, since the Carmine Vault’s creatures can’t be seen by human beings, Birtak had to follow dance lessons hiding in the Opera, he himself graduated from school, but nobody knows if he deserves it. I personally think he is ridiculous and has the best swagger in Repetto’s I’ve ever seen.
Format: Did you create the Fafinettes with a specific message for girls?
Fafi: At the beginning, I was looking at girls in the streets and my friends to get inspired and create the Fafinettes. Now, I don’t need inspiration much, I have my world set up and just develop it. If I believe the pictures I receive on my MySpace page, it’s now human girls who are inspired by my creations and want to look like them. It’s often clumsy, but I know I’ll find someday the real Fafinette.
Format: Do the Fafinette represent different facets of your personality?
Fafi: Absolutely, often, they follow what’s happening in my life. But in just drawings and paintings it’s difficult for me to express a lot of things, I’ve chosen to head to comic for that reason, I want to find everything that I love in it: humour, party, friendship, scenery and be able to write scenarios. At the moment they are defiant and show their tits wearing horrible shoes.
Format: Is there one that you are particularly fond of?
Fafi: I always like my last ones and those who smoke ciggies.
Format: Why do feminists hate you?
Fafi: I don’t know if the feminists of my hometown still hate me, I understand why. What I painted in the streets at that time shocked them a lot. I didn’t give a fuck back in the days! I was very impudent and was on war with almost everyone: parents, teachers and best friends. I wanted to hit some boys, I wanted to provide them with sexier pictures than what they were able to show us. I was young and a little bit disoriented about sexuality â€“ I was testing. Now, I know what bitchy and suggestive means
Format: Have any of the Fafinettes actually had sex?
Fafi: I think they are not big consumers. They have other things on their mind. They used to, but they got bored.
Format: Are the Fafinettes lesbians?
Fafi: They can play around together, or with other inhabitants of the CV. What’s a lesbian anyway?
Format: What was going on in your life when you created the Carmine Vault?
Fafi: I had met the guy I am married with and he pushed me to go further, to add sense. It was ten years I was painting the Fafinettes, I needed that evolution. I know now it’s going to be a lifetime project, especially now that I realize I am very lazy, I am unable to create more than ten minutes in a row.
Format: Besides eachother and the other creatures of the Carmine Vault, don’t you think that the Fafinettes should have male companions?
Fafi: We still don’t know if Birtak, Hmilo and the Hillminis are not male in some way. I don’t want parity to take the control of the Carmine Vault. This is a very human concern.
Format: Your art was inspired by the book Moumine le Troll. What is it about this book that inspires you?
Fafi: Actually I love the drawings Tove Jansson did. When I came across the book at my parents a few months ago, I couldn’t read it, because It’s a kid’s book and it was such a bummer! Apart from the reading matter, I got inspired by her to create a parallel world.
Format: Do your travels inspire you to create?
Fafi: When I used to draw only Fafinettes, it was crucial. I had the feeling I was very closed to the country I was visiting if I catch the atmosphere and represent it judiciously on a wall by painting one of the girls I saw in the streets.
Format: Is there a country that you have not been that you would like to see?
Fafi: I’d like to go to the Middle East countries. Those women in burkhas drive me crazy!
Format: Have you been approached about the idea of turning the Fafinette concept into an actual cartoon?
Fafi: I did it once it for Mark Ronson’s video, I turned Lily Allen as a cartoon. Actually, I just helped design the character, because then the 3D guys animated it. I wish we had more time to make it in 2D, but with only two weeks of efficient work we were forced to go 3D and I was very frustrated. Itâ€™s a great first experience in anime and I am waiting for the right people to work with.
Format: Would you still be writing graffiti if the opportunity to exhibit your work in a gallery hadn’t materialized?
Fafi: The life I live now has more to do with my lack of painting in the streets, I have a child and I follow often my husband on tour, and I am not 18-years-old anymore. I have nothing to prove when it comes to street painting. I’ve painted roofs, trains, subways, many walls and wooden panels with a lot of guys I was admiring. I think I just don’t have the same hunger for risks â€“ I’m more in an in front of a fireplace, green tea, friends-after party mood right now. At the moment exhibiting in galleries makes me want to yawn.
Format: When you’re not painting, what else are you doing these days?
Fafi: I am not painting a lot, I prefer to draw, but I don’t do it every day. Oh, I was just in Mexico DF, painted with News and Mookiena in a fantastic market. I cooked crazy lasagna and I did a lot of moped with my iPod and those earplugs that prevent you from hearing exterior noise. I travel a lot. I never stay more than one week at home. I’ve finished a collection for a big cosmetic brand. I can take my friend Leah from Married to the MOB on a yacht and relax for three years. I’ve just designed our house in Paris. I loved to have those guys from Eastern Europe working for me.
Format: People make comparisons of your work to Miss Van. What do you have to say about these comparisons?
Fafi: People always need to compare, but I think she is a way better painter than me. I should buy some.
Format: There is an artist that you would like to mention isnâ€™t there?
Fafi: There’s this girl I really want to talk about. She’s an amazing illustrator, her name is Amandine Urruty. She is my favorite right now, plus she comes from my hometown Toulouse, France. She has that humor and original style I love!
More Info: http://www.fafi.net/
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