Pen-pusher by day, street art superhero by night, St Etienne sensation OakOak's hilarious, imaginative, irreverent and sometimes a little macabre street work has filled column inches from BBC Brazil to Beijing's biggest daily newspaper. It has sat pretty on the top spot of "The best of ..." at juxtapoz.com for four months. Daubing simple graffiti and paintings on urban features – often the broken ones – OakOak does what street art does best, amuse and inspire people of all ages and demographics by appropriating the city's less appealing elements.
OakOak is a street artist, but he is not a fine artist painting in public. His work, either on the streets of his native St Etienne, France, or made on his travels, is opportunistic and never "authorised". He is completely untrained in art and works full-time in an office. Whilst his favourite artist is Amedeo Modigliani, he cites his main influences as football, comic books, video games and his home town. "I like this city, her atmosphere" OakOak says of Saint Etienne "and I wanted it to look nicer. It was an industrial city with many coal mines; now it's in regeneration and still quite poor. But it's easily travelled by foot with awkward aspects ideal for art. I saw shapes everywhere, and wanted to realise them."