Jean-Charles de Castelbajac Turns You Into Airport Art

In America, airport art tends to lean more toward 70s-inspired carpet patterns, strange statues of obscure animals, and bathroom graffiti of crooked penises. Fly across the Atlantic into France and you’ll find the true meaning of airport art, thanks to French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac (or JC/DC)’s new project. The artist has taken up residence in Paris’s Orly airport to add some life and longevity to the stories of travelers passing through.

JC/DC’s airport art project may seem a bit awry for a designer who is internationally known for his wildly imaginative clothing and home furnishing collections, but his eccentric style will bring a necessary flair to the drab interior spaces airports are known for. If you’ll recall, Castelbajac created the coat made of teddy bears that Madonna famously wore and he’s also responsible for dressing 5,500 clergymen in rainbows for the papal visit to Paris for World Youth Days in 1997. How many artists can say they made thousands of clergymen look like the world’s largest gay choir? Not many.

Using markers and his signature angel wing aesthetic, Castelbajac has been live-sketching portraits of passerby in preparation for a much larger project that he’s collaborating on with the airport. Using the hashtag #welcomestories, he and Aéroports de Paris (ADP) are inviting anyone at the airport to share their stories on a specially designed website—launching on August 17—that will serve as a base point for one final (and massive) mural.

Slated for an October unveiling, the mural will measure 200 meters long by 17 meter high—or 656 feet long by nearly 56 feet high. This will make it one of the biggest murals in the world once completed. With an estimated 29 million passengers coming through the airport annually, the stories shared better get as wild and crazy as Britney Spears circa 2007 if they hope to be included in the mural.

Photos via Castelbajac’s Instagram account.

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