Don Mateo Biography
Don Mateo is a French street artist who was born at the beginning of the 1980s and grew up with hip hop and rap culture. The artist picked the name ‘Don Mateo’ as a reference to a certain period of his life when he used to live in Spain. His first experience with graffiti happened when he was 12 years old. He tagged a golden ‘fuck’ on a car which happened to be his teacher’s car. He only carried out projects connected to the city a few years later. In 2010 he moved in Lyon, France’s third largest city, which quickly became a true playground for the artist. Very soon, Don Mateo covered the walls of the city with several powerful portraits.
Those portraits reveal extreme sensibility and poetry. Don Mateo’s art, mostly composed of stencils, revolves around female characters. According to the artist, women inspire tenderness, poetry but also strength. Don Mateo breathes life into the streets of his city by pasting up anonymous characters who can be sometimes full of energy or reminiscent of a tender childhood. Each of them tells a story or expresses ideas. Whatever the message is, Don Mateo’s leitmotiv is to bring colors to the city and stand up against gloom. His style is very recognizable : his stencils mix humor, elegance and provocation. He likes to consider himself as a painter who brings positive vibes to passersby.
For the artist, the street is like an open-air workshop where he can best express himself. The street is the ultimate place where he can express his views on society through a socially conscious art. For more than twenty years now, social commitment and painting have been Don Mateo’s most faithful life companions. In 2013, he carried out the ‘Wonderful Walls’ exhibition in Lyon, a project against discrimination. For his last exhibition, entitled ‘PORTR-HANDS’ and held in Spring 2019, Don Mateo focused on the creation tiny papercut characters.