WAR! brings the Rouge et Noir coat of arms to life!

war stade rennais
© Stade Rennais F.C.

Following on from the 120th anniversary statue of Jean Prouff by Annick Leroy and the works of artist Poch, Stade Rennais F.C. has given a new carte blanche to a local talent and renowned artist. Well-known to Brétilliens, WAR! has agreed to reproduce, in the corridors of Roazhon Park, two giant ermines, symbols of our coat of arms and that of the town.

Who hasn't looked away from WAR!'s work? In 2009, he made Rennes his new playground. Armed with his poles and paint pots, he made a growing name for himself in the Breton capital. The club with the two ermines entrusted him with its walls to reproduce two giant ermines, each measuring 30 by 6 meters.

"Kentoc'h mervel eget bezan saotret". According to legend, this Breton motto is attributed to Alain Barbetorte, first Duke of Brittany from 936 to 952. Pursued by the Normans during a battle and driven towards a muddy river, he saw an ermine face a fox and uttered the words: "Rather death than defilement", thus calling for self-sacrifice and courage. Immaculately white in winter, it's a symbol of loyalty and purity. Initially speckled when the club was founded, the two ermines appeared on the Stade Rennais F.C. crest in the 1970s.

Quand WAR! donne vie au blason Rouge et Noir !


WAR! expressing yourself on the walls of Roazhon Park, is that exhilarating?
Being an artist opens a lot of doors to a lot of different circles, especially in soccer, which I don't know. That's what's so crazy, I see completely different social strata and worlds. From site to site, it's a kind of sesame. I'm really flattered to be able to work at Roazhon Park. It's a mythical place. I'm honoured. And the club's colors really speak to me: red explodes.

Had painting at Roazhon Park ever crossed your mind?
Not necessarily, because in terms of surfaces, there weren't any that caught my eye like a beautiful gable. Here, we looked for surfaces that could accommodate paintings. We found two symmetrical parts like the coat of arms, but they don't face each other with the ball in the middle. They open up, looking west and east. I like the idea of the ermine sneaking up behind the gates and pylons. The stoats can be seen up close by visitors entering the stadium, but they can also be seen from the outside.

They're not your first ermines!
I've done quite a few, in fact. It all came to me when I moved to Brittany a little over ten years ago. I started making animals. It's a symbol of Brittany, so it was a natural fit for the Stade Rennais and its coat of arms with two ermine heads. I choose the animals according to the size of the wall. The ermine can be upright, vertical or creeping horizontally. The ermine is white in winter, brown in summer, and undergoes a metamorphosis.


It's camouflaged just like you!
Yes, it's true!

It's impressive to see you at work, drawing at a glance! 
It's a skill to do it big, but you can't do it all at once. It's like drawing your first lines with a pencil. I don't like to erase too much, so the first strokes often remain visible. I keep the material. I make my creature but I don't paint over it. If any lines stick out, they stay. The use of rollers means that it's precise but not licked. In control, without controlling everything.

Technically, how do you go about it?
For this work at Roazhon Park, there are several shades of gray and touches of pure white.

When I paint at night, I don't bother too much, I use the most contrasting colors, true black, true white and sometimes color. During the day or on canvas, I use black as a last resort. My longest pole is nine meters long, so it's quite physical to handle. 


You're part of the graffiti culture in Rennes. The city is renowned for its countless works...
Graffiti is like a weed - it grows everywhere, even in concrete. Any ground is good.

You like to do things big...
It's interesting to do things on the scale of buildings. Monumental things create sensations and emotions for the viewer. There's a kind of one-upmanship in graffiti to find new places and do big things.

Now that you've spotted the stadium, you'll be able to go there incognito.
Yes, now that I've got my foot in it, I'll be happy to come back. I wouldn't necessarily have gone there on my own. I'll be back to experience the stadium atmosphere.

Follow War! on Instagram  and on his website