I had already read some news articles way back about this street artist but today I went to a street art exhibition in Geneva and re-discovered this self-taught French graffiti artist whose real name is Guillaume Legros.

I had no idea he also did other smaller works of art and in this tiny exhibition in Geneva, this painting behind frosted plexiglass with the markings to illustrate a rainy foggy window (below) was the most interesting and stunning of all the works in there. I was surprised to see it was by Saype! I thought this idea was genius and really effective – when you look closer you can see that he has frosted the plexiglass then used different tools to create the rainy/water look and even taken a paint pen of some kind to give form to the droplets. Plus a beautiful sunset is never a bad thing and all that rain just reminded me of my native homeland (Scotland). It certainly evoked emotion and nostalgia for me.

Saype has pioneered gigantic ‘land art’ and created 100% biodegradable paint and now travels the world creating giant frescoes in nature ” with a concern to appeal to people and society, minimizing its impact on nature. Its main objective is to put its art at the service of the human being, always with a concern for optimism and in a poetic way”.

He makes his paint from natural pigments like chalk and coal and uses spraying techniques to apply it and then drones to take aerial pictures and measure his work as he progresses.

French-Swiss artist Saype works on a giant biodegradable landart painting Monday June 10, 2019 on the Champ de Mars in front of the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

Land art was traditionally “about building epic works from rocks and natural materials on the ground (see example of Roberto Smithson’s Spiral Jetty below) or mowing and carving shapes into the landscape” (The Guardian), but Saype’s non-permanent and bio-degradable approach with paint is really original.

Robert Smithson’s Serial Jetty

From waste management to migration, this artist has it all for me: a clear vision, a desire to support social betterment and togetherness, originality and clearly an absolute knack for getting the right amount of perspective, point and pretty art that kind of takes your breathe away. Remember Neil Buchanan’s ‘big art attacks’? (below left), well this takes that to a whole new level (below right)!

One of the most recent things he has done is a Corona-Virus themed land art piece (above right)- in Switzerland no less – of a girl sitting, completing a chain of stick figures holding hands. “The fresco of more than 3,000 square metres evokes the building of a world with more solidarity and more humanity,”. What a beautiful message in this global health crisis and what a setting in the stunning Swiss Alps.

Another great project is one related to waste called ‘trash’ and his slogan ‘impact people, without impacting nature’ really hits home with this fresco of a giant plastic bottle (below). As we start to find plastic in our rain, in our water, in our teabags, plastic waste is a serious problem that we are no where understanding the real impact of.

Now for the piece that I found most inspiring and which hits very close to home since I work in the migration area: Beyond Walls. This 600m long fresco representing the largest human chain in the world at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in 2019 was a tribute to all the migrant rescuers working tirelessly in the Mediterranean Sea trying to save lives amidst the still on-going political and humanitarian crisis that led to the world’s first ever “inter-governmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, covering all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner” called the Global Compact on Migration in 2016. This human chain is an on-going project of several years now and has expanded across various cities globally including Geneva, Andorra, Berlin, Ouagadougou and Yamoussoukro. You can see that the artist introduces race, social background and other characteristics to demonstrate diversity and promote togetherness. The very title ‘Beyond Walls’ evokes images of the construction of barriers and walls to prevent human mobility and which often end in human rights violations and tragic life stories.


Overall, an inspiring artist who I will continue to follow. To be able to truly use your art to raise awareness and have an impact on people for good is something I would be proud to be able to do and humbly aspire to.


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