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London's best street art: Olivier Roubieu

By Robin Merz

If there’s one thing you might not know about Olivier Roubieu, it’s that he loves to take u-turns as an artist.

When he first touched down in London 20 years ago, the French artist kicked off his creative ventures designing t-shirts, painting the bodies of pasty Brits and taking to the streets spray-painting images of glamorous women on legal walls. His inspiration hasn’t changed over the years. But now he’s turning away from the graffiti community, and switching to full-time photography.

That doesn't mean that you won’t see the occasional new mural popping up here and there. His new philosophy has always been about creating art no matter what the medium and have a total blast doing it. There’s a reason why he's moving away from painting in the streets.

Even though his newer works are based solely on his own photographs, this mural was inspired by Honolulu model Kelsy. The piece was painted at South Bank's skate park. Unfortunately, once finished, the artwork didn’t survive the day  – not even an hour, actually – as it fell victim to bored kids lamely dogging the beautiful work. Which is exactly why you won't see him painting this or any of the other public spots very soon. Once you receive recognition for your work, fellow street artists have a bad habit of getting all jealous and defacing or even covering up all of your work. Hey, it's a dogging dog world out there.

But don’t despair – this guy is always busy. Follow Olivier to find out what or who he’s painting or shooting, either on the streets of London or his spare bedroom, which he turned into a prehistoric cave the other week.

Photos by Sonya Metzler Photography

Check out more street art in London. Seen any good street art on your travels? Email us a photo to or tag us with #TimeOutLondon at Instagram or Flickr

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