Coldplay’s Resident Graffiti Artist, Paris – “It’s The Ultimate Dream Job”
Massive concert tours have always employed some type of unifying graphic theme, but few bands have ever weaved in the look and feel of their album art as well Coldplay has with Mylo Xyloto. The name of the album alone conjures up images of wet, splattered, neon paint.
In the process of recording the album, the band unanimously decided that they wanted brightly colored graffiti associated with the “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” video. What they didn’t know at the time is how big a part the bold style would play in the album art, videos, tour, merchandise and website. The theme dreamed up by Coldplay and executed by British street artist, Paris, is so big that it will soon be traveling with the band to stadiums around the world.
In an interview for Coldplay’s website, Paris explains the project’s humble beginnings.
How did you first get involved with Coldplay?
“For the last few years I’ve been involved with decorating The Park area at Glastonbury Festival. Misty and Reg run that… I think the band were putting out the word that they were looking for a graffiti artist. And I think [Glastonbury co-organizer] Emily Eavis actually recommended me first. I just got a phone call out the blue from Misty asking if I’d like to work with a band… I wasn’t told who they were. But then I turned up at the studio and saw some flight cases with Coldplay written on them.”
Were you a fan of Coldplay before you became involved?
“I loved Yellow back around the time I was at university. And I saw them at Glastonbury a long time ago. But I don’t really follow music that much, so I didn’t realize how absolutely massive they’d become in the last ten years.”
You painted the stage sets for the tour.
“Yes. That came really quickly off the back of the video. We did a few drapes – there was a smaller one for the Q Magazine shoot, I think – and then they started sending us stages and bigger drapes and it started growing and growing. We were getting pianos and guitars and all sorts.”
The “Every Teardrop” video looks like a big job.
It really was. It was a very fast turnover too. I had a meeting one day with Mat Whitecross at the site, Millennium Mills, and we had a walk around. He had a vision very early on and I had a team of about five and all of us had five or ten runners to help us. We were told what had to happen – like the pulsing heart – but how we did it was up to us. So my girlfriend, Milk, worked on animating that heart. It was two or three days of non-stop work. The [fluorescent] room took at least a day to create.
Are you working on the stadium tour now?
“Well, we’ve created an incredible amount of work already. There are lots of pieces. And some of the work for things like the Grammys and the X Factor. So I’m holding my breath and it won’t surprise me if I get a last minute phone call. I’ve been at Heathrow several times, painting things to be sent off to wherever, with like a day’s notice. It’s incredible. So I’m just ready to do whatever, wherever.”
It’s a pretty amazing commission to get.
“Oh, it’s the ultimate dream job. If you’d asked me last February what I’d have done by the time 2011 had finished, I could never have guessed it in a million years.”
Visit Coldplay’s website for the full 2-part interview.
–Jay Tilles, CBS Local