Culture

An Abandoned 19th Century Castle Has Been Given A Vibrant Makeover

Skull In The Mirror features two three-storey skulls against a backdrop of psychedelic spots.

Because pretty much anyone can own a castle in Europe, there are plenty of them just laying around. Now, one such chalet in France’s Loire Valley has been given a bright update as part of an upcoming festival.

Part of Urban Art Paris’ LaBel Valette Festival, an annual celebration of street culture, saw the main façade of the Château de la Valette transformed.

Spanish pop artist Okuda San Miguel, whose skull-heavy surrealist works are made up by colourful geometric shapes and patterns, is responsible the transformation. Called Skull In The Mirror, it features two three-storey skulls against a backdrop of psychedelic spots.

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“When I saw the castle, I fell in love with its architecture, and immediately saw the form of skulls in the windows,” he told Lonely Planet. “I love that my painting plays with the 3D elements of the building.”

Located in Montargis, around 55 minutes from Paris by train, Château de la Valette sits on just under 100 acres of wooded land and is comprised of the castle, a chapel, and two three-storey dormitory buildings – meaning the artists involved have more than 10,000 square metres of wall at their disposal during the festival. The compound had been left to crumble for more than 30 years before it was purchased by French company Ile-aux-Pins in 2015.

Work was completed over the last weekend in June, while festival itself runs over three days from September 1 to 3, 2017, and features work by more than 100 street artists. Guided tours are available between 4pm and 6pm daily, while hip-hop, jazz, and rock acts perform nightly from 4pm. Single-day passes start from $21 (€15) per person. Visit the website for more information.

(Lead image: Chop Em Up via LaBel Valette Festival)