As we sat on a bench by a fountain, a familiar face approached us. It was one of the Wasted employees. He joins us on the bench and we ask him what’s a must-see in Paris but he’s not sure. He’s not Parisian, he’s from Normandie. Only eighteen, he was trying to figure out how he would move to Paris to become an established fashion designer. We learn that we met him on his first day working at Wasted and it was just a trial. “I hope I get the job.” He crosses his fingers and clenches his teeth like the weight of the world could match the weight of his hope.
When I ask for his name he says “Arty. It’s like ‘party’ but without the ‘p’” he explains in his lovable French accent.
"Do you like to party?"
He says not like he use to. “I am eight months sober.” He talks like an open book, proud. He tells us he’s been clean from coke and dope and how he can be around it without doing it. No one pressures him but he admits it can get hard when he’s the only one sober. “All my friends, I see them…” He presses his finger down on a nostril and exaggerates an inhale. He laughs. He’s happy-go-lucky and he’s grateful.
He shares with us the story behind his tattoos. He’s drawn all of them. He’s an orphan, an artist, a liberated gay guy, and a gypsy. The writing on his arms translate to There, all is order and beauty, luxury, calm and pleasure.
"What inspired you to become a fashion designer?"
Arty thinks for a moment and says “I have nothing. No skills, no parents, no school, no degree. The only thing I have is my drawing.”
He smiles with certifiable dignity like the weight of the world would never match the great weight of his passion.