These Two Lucky Dogs Repped Colossal in France

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About once a year we find a way to cram a public art project into our schedule. It’s tough — rigging new walls is tricky and recreating another artist’s work is one of the hardest jobs for a painter to take on — but these projects are important to us.

Our latest was with Fondation Carmignac. The French organization asked us to recreate Ed Ruscha’s 1984 piece, Sea of Desire, at a museum and sculpture park on Île de Porquerolles. The island is 10 minutes off the coast of the French Riviera, between Marseille and Cannes. You can bet everyone was on their best behavior before the crew was assigned.

Coatney and Chucky were the lucky two who packed their brushes and flew to France. We got them to tell us how it all went down.

CHUCKY

COATNEY

Coatney:

First off, I do not speak French. If there were subtitles I would do alright, but the way the verb comes before the adjective is hard to understand on the spot.

We flew into Paris. The train from Paris to Toulon was hectic, but it was the best way to see the land and give ourselves some time to adjust. It had been an exceptionally long winter for us and it was a nice shock to be in that warm Mediterranean weather!

Coatney:

We took a 15 min ferry ride over to the island. It was much more rural and laid back than I’d imagined. Also there were no old nude dudes, so that was a relief.

Chucky:

Porquerolles is gorgeous. I was scheming on never leaving but the island already had a sign painter and I would’ve run out of money really fast.

Coatney:

The job site was a 15 minute hike up a windy dirt road past an ocean vista and into the woods at an abandoned tennis court. It was without a doubt the best commute I’ve ever had to work.

Chucky:

The site was beautiful and eerie at the same time. It was super quiet except for these crazy wild chickens constantly squawking — the solitude was distracting after a while.

Coatney:

For me it was also hard to slow down and enjoy the opportunity because I came in so high-strung and focused. Working at our New York pace on this island would have made us look like we were smoking crack!

Coatney:

We had fun trying to achieve the canvas texture on a super smooth surface but it was definitely a challenge. We spent three days glazing to get the right light and texture — that was pretty tricky. The light changed constantly and the shadows from the trees threw us off, and then there was the huge volume of bugs that were sticking to the wall every day. Every morning we’d spend an hour clearing off hundreds of bugs that got stuck the night before.

Chucky:

Working abroad presents so many challenges and requires quick problem solving from the moment you arrive. The second day on the island we discovered we didn’t have any white paint. I had to go to the mainland to get it, and I would have been stranded there, without money or a ferry ticket, if I hadn’t made friends with a crazy Portuguese taxi driver. He ended up driving me around to paint shops and ATMs on a wild goose chase for money and white oil enamel. We raced back to the ferry dock and got there right before the last boat left for the island.

Coatney:

We did find a little time to explore. We were the only people on the island brave enough to swim in the cold water — felt fucking good to us! We also rented bikes and rode all over the island, which is covered in trails… that was the highlight for me.

Chucky:

It was nice being surrounded by trees and fresh air, but I also kind of missed the chaos of NYC. Despite the island’s beauty, it felt good to leave when it was time.

Coatney and Chucky at Fondation Carmignac

Chucky:

Nothing beats painting a whiskey ad, but these art projects are pretty cool. It’s dope to paint something that will last a long time and is truly unique, and in such a beautiful place.

Coatney:

I feel like trips like this one make up for all the other bad ones (there are too many to name) and invigorate a wall dog.