Den End: globetrotter, street artist, and all things painter

As a boy, Den’s first attempt at street art was essentially through tagging and graffiti which he predominantly enjoyed for the adrenaline rush – he remembers it as a game of “cat and mouse”. In those days he feels tagging stemmed from a desire to defy authority more than a conscious interest in street art. Nonetheless even then there was calligraphic research and aesthetic promise in his tag-signatures. Spending most of his youth hitch-hiking across his native France and other parts of Europe, Den has always considered himself quite the globetrotter, tagging became a means of leaving a trace of his passage behind him. It would become the perfect opportunity for him to interact with his environment, his surroundings, and the local inhabitants.

Den End was living in an CHRS shelter when he started seriously dedicating himself to the development of this art. In 2015 he started his first social media network (Facebook) to touch a larger audience. Soon after came his first exhibition in Lozère which inspired him to create and exhibit in other cities in Brittany such as Brest. As opportunities presented themselves Den decided to follow his dream of moving to Paris. Montmartre had always held a special place in his heart and in his mind as a historic hub of artistic creation.

It was in Montmartre that Den met Eva Léandre, director of The Alley who offered him accommodation in one of her Live-In-Galleries rue Androuet. In the summer of 2017 this arrangement gave him the opportunity to exhibit his work during two months and share it with a wide range of local passers-by and foreign visitors. Den’s work has a lot to do with osmosis within his environment and with the building of relationships with those he encounters. Highlighting his propensity for various collaborative endeavours, he created his unique participatory frescoes. He draws the templates for the frescoes on the walls of the street and invites those willing and inspired to administer colours to his arrangements which he finishes by harmonising the work for the end result. Despite hearing many people claim they cannot draw, Den believes that most people have artistic potential which they are not aware of. His art is the expression of semi-conscious dream world, an explosion of colour, a puzzle of thoughts, ideas, shapes, and interactions, a therapeutic process. 
During the summer of 2017, while exhibiting from his Alley Live-In-Gallery, Den had a chance encounter with prominent German artist Manfred Scharpf. The pair grew enamoured with each other’s antithetical artistic styles and Scharpf suggested they begin working in collaboration with the intention of exhibiting together. Their first show is called “Blind Date” at the European Parliament in Bruxelles running from November 8 to December 31. The title is inspired by Scharpf belief everyday is like a blind date, it is also a humorous reference to the pair’s first meeting. Scharpf has recently invited Den to work with him in his castle in Baden-Würtemberg ahead of their planned exhibition. Den is a firm believer in making the most out of experiences and his art is his way of showing the world that with enough determination, hard work, and inspiring encounters, we can bounce back from anything. Following his time rue Androuet, living in the gallery and painting the street, three Parisian galleries offered Den exclusive contracts which he refused as he insists on belonging only to himself. He now enjoys working with textiles and patterns for objects of daily use, such as skateboards, which are accessible to a wider range of people and which are brought around the world.

Den is a very private person, he strongly emphasises his wish that people focus on his work and not his background or personality. He is known for often wearing a mask in public, even during the hot summer months, as a way of distinguishing between the person and the persona. In many ways Den End’s experience is reminiscent of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The self-taught artist attracted attention with his graffiti work and postcard compositions, features his work on jackets and skateboards. His outsider graffiti style compelled Scharpf to instigate a collaboration. Who knows where he’ll go next.