All Articles
All Articles

The Bigfoot Project


The Bigfoot Project

NYC artist Bruno Levy introduces street art to Nepal

by Graham Hiemstra
on 20 October 2011

Boasting a variety of talent across multiple mediums including painting, sculpture, photography, music and video, Bruno Levy's work has been exhibited in some of the America's most influential museums, from the Guggenheim to the SFMOMA. The Paris-born, NYC-based artist—newly fascinated by cross-cultural differences—recently spent five months living and working in Kathmandu, Nepal in an effort to bring beauty to a stark landscape foreign to Western influence.


Upon encountering a culture in flux, besieged by communist propaganda and forced cultural views, Levy was compelled to begin painting his own pieces in the Nepalese capital this summer. For what he dubbed the "Bigfoot Project," the artist took to the streets, using high-profile city walls as a canvas to inspire the locals rather than to interject his own foreign views. Included in his efforts were painted murals and an experimental sculpture that seemed to capture the city's curious spirit. We caught up with Levy to pick his brain about the project, from inspiration to execution.

Why Nepal?

Kathmandu is a city in transition, modernizing rapidly, trying to catch up with the rest of the world. It's somewhat raw, dirty and open. The concept of public space there is different than in the West. Although Nepal has a rich and amazing culture of craftsmanship, the concept of creative art is still very new. So I wanted to share some urban culture in an effort to make Kathmandu a bit more beautiful and inspire other people to express themselves.

Is Nepal generally free of un-commissioned street art?

This is very new. Graffiti does not exist. So it's not legal or illegal, making it a perfect place to just play. There were a handful of tags in more hidden parts of town and Space Invader visited Nepal and left his mark, but for the most part it was out of the general public's eye.

What inspired the "Bigfoot Project" name?

The Bigfoot is really elusive, abominable snowman. So I just started painting feet all around the city, BIG FEET. Also in Hinduism feet have a certain stigma. Feet are dirty or impure, yet the feet of gods or gurus are special.

How did the Nepalese people respond to the art?

The first reaction was curiosity: "why are you doing this and what does it mean?'" Most people have never seen anything like this and cannot understand why someone would paint a wall for free or for fun. Once people realized that there was no political agenda, they reacted with complete enthusiasm and support. They helped paint, an old man blessed me for cleaning the walls and the statue was even given offerings and worshipped. Newspapers and magazines wrote some stories. Soon local kids started forming groups and painting.

Describe the Bigfoot Project's transition from street paintings to sculpture.

The paintings are part of the bigger project to share street art culture through all possible mediums. When that started picking up, and locals kids started painting, I thought it was important to introduce a new medium for a new way of public expression. The sculpture took a little over a month of 10-hour days. I had not made papier-mâché since kindergarden, so there was definitely a learning curve.

What were you trying to say with the larger street paintings?

The character with the money coming out of his head or "dreaming of dollars" was painted on the oldest government college's wall. It was a statement about the corrupt politicians in Nepal and the future of the students. The mural of the character plugged to the TV was painted across the passport agency, where around 200 Nepalis a day wait for their passports, with idealistic visions of moving and working abroad. I wanted to make a statement about the impact of television and media. Most paintings have stories, but my main drive was to make the walls more beautiful rather then impose my foreign views and to explore some concepts of repetition that are so prevalent in urban art.

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible
Loading More...