LOVING VINCENT (THE TRUE STORY)
Along the Channel, sitting on the docks, Vincent is smoking a rolly on his own. Scratching his head and thinking deeply, he stares at some touristic boats floating on the river.
For a couple of days now, this 26 years old philosophy teacher is hosting an extravagant troop in his small Chinese neighbourhood’s flat: our Street Art Museum Amsterdam’s crew. He wasn’t expecting such guests for sure, a “goofy-but-warm-and-sparkling-tsunami” to quote him, however he immediately thought that we were good, sympathetic and original characters. He remembers the first moment he met us, when I (Julia) came to get the AirBnB keys. Some common points became evident straight away: I seemed to use the same way of talking as him, French language, thick vocabulary, politic opinions, SAMA seemed to be socially involved and was using art as a militant skill. Noticing the activist displays on his living-room’s walls, I asked permission to borrow them for our exhibition on behalf of SAMA’s founder, and he accepted without hesitation.
To thank Vincent, we invited him to pass by our stand on the #13ArtFair and now here he is, in front of la Cité de la Mode et du Design’s entrance. There he met Anna, our incredible leader, sincere and so bloody direct, who hugged him like if he was family. When he requested to put his personal picture works on the stand, beside his other belongings, the loud “Yeeeeeeees, try!!!” made him laugh and glad. Greeting Moste, he found this Mexican dude was cool, he even helped him setting-up his framed photographs on the pitch.
Holding a plastic glass full of Pastis, he is suddenly joined by me, who come to get a short break and cigarette outside. I ask him questions about his life, his profession, his personality.
“I hold a philosophy university master; so now I’m graduated I give private classes to students, it is better than teaching in school, it provides more freedom towards my schedule and towards the way I consider education. In parallel, I take care of some Cafés Associatifs in Paris’14th district too, those are roundtable debates, I try to get involved in social actions. Also, I have to confess I love gardening a lot…”
Curious, I dare to inquire:
“What moment with us left the biggest mark on your memory until now?”
“Ah ah, to be honest: Anna’s booming message on my voicemail, when you guys ran out of hot water in my shower the first morning: it was so funny and at the same time a bit scary. It is my first hosting experience, I worried about being not welcoming enough! In the end it was fine, I realized pretty quick that you were as looney as gentle.”
As soon as I stub out my ciggy under my boot, I light another one, watching his pale face smiling gently around.
“How would you described our crew’s members?”
“Gosh, I can clearly see that each one of you has a special role. Anna is the chief, she is radiating with enthusiasm, she’s quite someone! This woman looks like she could do anything for her cause and people can’t help following her. She carries a lot on her bold shoulders, without giving a shit about what people think. Moste, well, he’s obviously the artist, he is the creative motor, adds the crucial artistic credit to your project. A lot of kindness emanates from this pal, a lot of open-minding. You, you’re the one with the head screwed on right, here to testify through writing, SAMA’s kind of official diarist, journalist, representative. You’re the interpreter somehow, not only on the national language level, you make the connection between eccentricity and reason.”
It is my turn to laugh at loud listening to these honest comments, not done with all my load of questions yet:
“Beyond your opinion about our crew, what do you feel about SAMA, as a structure I mean?”
“A bit the same than about SAMA’s protagonists I have to say. Your foundation remains clearly unique, amusing, very pleasant. I am not used to see this type of initiative, the museum looks like the people who manage it, it is highly energetic, messy even if serious, impacting even if crazy.”
Vincent finishes his drink and smoke, shakes his leather jacket.
“Tell me, what are you favourite pictorial artists?”
“Mmmh, that’s a tricky one. I’d say Willy Ronis, Brassaï and Robert Doisneau regarding photography field, Gustav Klimt and Van Gogh regarding painting.”
“What about the rest, music, cinema, literature?”
“Wow, there are too many. To be completely true, I love old stuff, old songs, old books, old movies. I’m a big fan of Brel’s work, I’m super found of Camus as well as Dostoevsky’s literature or Prévert’s poetry, I admire François Truffaut, Marcel Carné and of course, Charlie Chaplin’s films.”
I stand up, wondering as a conclusion:
“Would you be ready to come and visit us in Amsterdam someday?”
“Don’t know when, don’t know how I will make it, but definitely want to!”