Don Mateo is a French street artist who is currently living in Lyon. I was glad to exchange a few words with him and get to know the artist and his work.
Why did you choose the name 'Don Mateo'? Is there a story linked to this name?
I lived in Spain in 2006. The name Don Mateo is a reference to this period of my life.
What was your first experience with street art? What did you paint?
The very first time I painted something in the street happened when I was 12. I tagged a golden 'fuck' on my teacher's car. That was stupid of me. Some years later, I carried out projects connected to the city. I remember painting a tank pink the day Mister Sarkozy became the new French President.
Why did you choose painting in the streets? How could you define your connection to the city?
I have been painting for 20 years now, but painting in the streets is for me a perfect balance. I feel no pressure, it's a space of total freedom. Also, I have been hanging out in the streets since I am 14, this is where I have spent most of my time, with my friends.
What inspires you when you create?
Nothing special to be honest. Art is a means of expression, I need it.
We can notice that most of your works focus on female characters (women and little girls) What is the reason for that?
I find poetry, sweetness and strength in women. Unfortunately, I can't find those in men. Since time immemorial, painters have been inspired by women, for example Ingres, Manet... Surprisingly, I focus on male characters when I have dark thoughts, but in general those are ideas I quickly get rid of.
In 2013 you made a collage 'Fuck You' in Lyon. To whom is it addressed?
I painted a character giving a finger on a wall. I liked the contrast between the grace of the character and the rudeness of the finger. The gesture is just a symbol to express angriness and rebellion.