Sliema has recently experienced a spate of graffiti art embellishing some of its empty walls and, thus, creating a more welcome environment amid the drab concrete boundaries that delimit construction sites.

Lucas Maraud, also known as Luckeys Arts, at work.Lucas Maraud, also known as Luckeys Arts, at work.

Lucas Maraud, also known as Luckeys Arts, is a 24-year-old French artist from Strasbourg who has been living in Malta for over one year. He has chosen Malta as a break from the environment in France, in a quest to meet new people and create a network for his art to be appreciated.

The themes of his art revolve around his passions which, besides art, also include music, animals and the environment, natural and not. He has a message to deliver: animals are our partners in this world. He believes they are of utmost importance and, through their “cuteness”, inspire heart-warming emotions. They are sentient beings just like humans and can experience love and pain. He stresses that it’s unethical to exploit them for our own designs.

When one thinks of street art, one immediately thinks of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, the two artists who have elevated the genre to a fine art and whose works nowadays command eyewatering prices and a prominent place in the history of 20th century art. In contemporary times, it is Banksy who steals the limelight with his pictorial comments on everything under the sun. The British artist’s identity is yet unknown although there are hints that his origins lie in Bristol and that he was a student at Bristol Cathedral School.

Banksy’s art is very political and satirical in its agenda, even deriding the art market itself. The prime example of the latter is the notorious shredding of his painting Girl with Balloon at a Sotheby’s auction which backfired on him as the mechanism hidden inside the framework jammed, leaving the upper part of the canvas undamaged. Hence, the artwork became more prestigious and its market price went up.

Maraud is not interested in being controversial. He just desires to bring happiness and colour to construction walls. He is currently painting the ones in Sliema’s High Street but does not want to limit himself to just streets. He is, after all, a muralist and would be interested to get commissions from restaurants, hotels and even private houses. Beautifying the island is a main concern for him, especially during these depressing COVID-19 times.

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