The ‘female pirate printer’ who creates fashion from manhole covers

Artist Emma-France Raff decorates clothing and tote bags guerilla-style in the street using ink, a roller and manhole covers as her printing press

Its not often manhole covers and fashion are uttered in the same sentence, but for Emma-France Raff, these functional metal structures have a distinct charm.

So much so that she scours the streets of cities for ones with intricate details and textures which she uses as a printing press – painting them with ink and transferring their designs onto t-shirts, hoodies and bags.

The artist, who brings a whole new meaning to the term streetwear, gets some curious looks when she gets her roller, ink and equipment out, and starts printing on the ground in public places.




  • Raff copying designs from Berlin and Budapests distinctive manhole covers as well as a more abstract design from Portos tram tracks

But Raff, who has turned the streets of Berlin, Barcelona, Istanbul, Paris, Porto and Stavanger among others into fashion has always been fascinated with tiny details spotted while out and about, and finding inspiration in often overlooked elements of the urban landscape. The appeal of manhole covers, she says, is that they often have a local flavour.

Often drain covers will have symbols or letters that make them unique to that certain place. They have something from the city on them, she says. In Berlin, for example, they have the TV tower on them and other monuments.


  • Raff at work in Vienna in 2017

The Berlin one is very nice because it has a lot of details but I also like the abstract ones. Theres so much variety, you have thousands of different ones. Theyre special because they always have something local.

Raff, whose parents are German, was born in France. Her family moved to Portugal when she was nine, and she came up with the idea of using manhole cover as prints with her father while she was studying textile design in Porto.



  • Raff capturing a floral tile pattern in Barcelona

She went on to create experimental printing project raubdruckerin which means female pirate printer which is based in Berlin, although she travels to different cities to do the printing, and sells the t-shirts and other hand-printed merchandise via her website.

In addition to manhole covers, she finds other neglected patterns in city streets. I did a sign for bicycle parking in Amsterdam. In Barcelona we printed tiles on the concrete floor. If theres chewing gum I leave it on, sometimes you can see it on the print. It makes it very unique – its the idea that this print comes from one specific place, and maybe in two years it will not be there, so it has to do with time and place.

After the printing it can take between half an hour to an hour to clean up. She says she uses a water-based ink, which reacts with the fabric but it doesnt connect with the metal. Its like painting with water marker on plastic, it makes pearls.

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8 New Pixie And Brutus Comics To Brighten Up Your Day

Some folks are dog lovers, others are more fond of cats. But there are also plenty of us who adore doggos and cattos in equal measure. And we’re in luck because there’s a hilarious and cute webcomic out there that’s drawn by a talented artist who loves both cats and dogs alike.

Artist Ben Hed, the mastermind behind the webcomic ‘Pet Foolery,’ has drawn some more amazing cartoons, detailing the (mis)adventures of Pixie the innocent kitten and Brutus the German Shepherd war veteran. You can find Bored Panda’s previous posts about the adorable duo Pixie and Brutus here and here. But first, scroll down and enjoy the newest comics of the bunch.

More info: Patreon | Instagram


Ben’s comic ‘Pet Foolery’ is a real phenomenon on the internet. More than 2 million people (that’s right!) follow Pixie and Brutus’ stories on Instagram! Also, over 15,000 people support the artist on Patreon. “It was like one moment I was doing illustration on Instagram as a side-job for some extra money, then all of a sudden I had over a million followers, and illustration became my full-time job!” Ben writes on his Patreon page about his rise to fame.


In two previous interviews, the artist talked to Bored Panda about his work, his inspiration for the cartoon, as well as his dreams, hopes and plans for the future.

“Pixie is a tiny, joyful, energetic kitten. She’s innocent, and also somewhat oblivious to the serious, dangerous stuff around her,” Ben the artist told Bored Panda during one of the interviews. “On the other hand, Brutus is a large, scar-faced German Shepherd. He was adopted by Pixie’s owner after retiring as a Military Working Dog (MWD). Brutus, in many ways, is the exact opposite of Pixie. He’s… Seen things. He’s a very serious and intimidating military dog, but he has a soft spot for Pixie and does what he can to protect her from the harsh realities of the world around them.”

“Honestly, Pixie and Brutus were just another random comic idea I had while at work. I was never planning on making them a series; I just thought it would be a funny idea to introduce a cute little kitten to a big intimidating war dog. So I made the first Pixie and Brutus cute animal comic and people liked it so much, I just kept making them,” Ben explained the origins of the friendly cat-and-dog duo.


In another interview, Ben went into more detail about his expectations for his comics: “I do worry about each comic’s performance, but I worried about that before I created Pixie and Brutus too.”

Ben noted that he gets “tons of feedback” from his fans: “What they liked about the comic, what they thought was going to happen, ideas for future comics, ideas for new characters. There are probably a couple of funny comics in my feed that are entirely inspired by a comment on one of my posts.”

He also said that the comics have evolved over time: “Their designs are a bit different from the first P and B comic, and I guess Brutus has gotten gradually less hostile towards other characters as of late, but other than that. It’s pretty much the same.”

“I thought it would be cool to have them adapted into a TV show, but that’s long term. Probably won’t even ever happen… but maybe,” Ben expressed his hopes for the future.






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Paris’s Pompidou Centre to open gallery in Shanghai

The modern art gallery, which also plans to open branches in South Korea and Belgium, has been in talks for more than a decade with China

The Pompidou Centre in Paris, which houses the worlds second biggest collection of modern art, is close to signing a deal for a franchise gallery in Shanghai.

It will show around 20 exhibitions over five years in a wing of the new West Bund Art Museum, which is being built in the cultural district of Chinas commercial capital by British architect David Chipperfield.

The Paris gallery, which also has plans to open branches in South Korea and Belgium, has been in talks for more than a decade with the Chinese authorities.

Last year it staged its first show in China called Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou 1906-77 featuring work by Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp and other big names at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre.

The gallery said it had signed a protocol with the publicly-owned West Bund Group for a renewable five-year deal to stage exhibitions in the new museum from 2019.

The company has been turning part of the formerly industrial Xuhui district of the city into a 11km (seven mile) cultural corridor along the Huangpu River.

The Pompidou hailed the deal as the most important long-term cultural exchange project between France and China and said it would give an important place to contemporary Chinese art in the new gallery.

It said its new franchise would be called the Centre Pompidou Shanghai (West Bund).

The West Bund Museum is due to be completed at the end of 2018. It will be a major boost to the areas attractions which already include the private Long Museum West Bund, the Yuz Museum and the Shanghai Centre of Photography.

The Pompidou Centre which also houses a library and cinemas was an architectural sensation when it first opened in Paris in 1977.

Its collection of more than 120,000 artworks is regarded as the second most important in the world after the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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I threw away $100m of Picasso and Matisse art, says dealer in Paris theft trial

Co-defendant in Spider-Man trial says he destroyed five paintings stolen in 2010 from Museum of Modern Art

A co-defendant in one of the worlds biggest art heists has told a court he destroyed and threw away five art masterpieces worth more than $100m that were stolen by a thief nicknamed the Spider-Man.

Yonathan Birn was among three people who went on trial in the case on Monday. The five paintings stolen in 2010 from the Museum of Modern Art in Paris a Picasso, a Matisse, a Modigliani, a Braque and a Fernand Lger have never been found.

I threw them into the trash, Birn repeated three times at the court bar, in tears. I made the worst mistake of my existence.

Neither the investigating judge nor other defendants at the trial believe Birns claims. The investigators believe the five paintings have been taken out of France. Birns co-defendants testified he was too smart to destroy the masterpieces.

The main suspect Vjeran Tomic, dubbed the Spider-Man by French news media, has been convicted 14 times in the past, notably for thefts. Authorities found climbing gear at his home: gloves, ropes, a harness, climbing shoes and suction cups.

Tomic testified that at about 3am on 20 May 2010, he broke into the museum near the Eiffel Tower with apparent ease, taking advantage of supposed failures in the security, alarm and video-surveillance systems.

Spider-Man removed the glass from a bay window without breaking it, cut the padlock of the metal grid behind it, allowing him to then move from one room to another without arousing the guards suspicions.

Tomic was there to steal a painting by Fernand Lger and possibly a Modigliani ordered by a third defendant, 61-year-old antiques dealer Jean-Michel Corvez, who confessed to being a receiver of stolen goods. Tomic said that when he came across the Picasso, the Matisse and the Braque paintings, he decided to take them as well.

Several hours after the burglary, Tomic said, he offered the five paintings to Corvez, who said he was totally stunned by them.

Corvez said he initially gave Tomic a plastic bag containing 40,000 (34,000) in small denominations just for the Lger because he was unsure he would get buyers for the other paintings.

Corvez became worried about keeping the artworks in his shop after several months and showed them to his friend Birn, a 40-year-old expert and dealer in luxury watches. Birn said he agreed to buy the Modigliani for 80,000 ($68,000) and to store the others in his studio. The Modigliani was hidden in a bank safe, he said.

Birn said he panicked when police began investigating and, in May 2011, he retrieved the Modigliani from the safe, returned to his workshop and broke the stretcher bars on all the canvasses before throwing them all into the buildings trash.

Tomic is charged with stealing public cultural property, while Corvez and Birn are accused of receiving stolen goods. The three men are also accused of taking part in a criminal conspiracy to commit the thefts.

Both Corvez and Birn can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Tomic could up to 20 years in prison as a repeat offender. The trial is expected to resume later this week.

After he was questioned, Tomic said he was sure Birn didnt destroy the paintings and wanted him to say where they were located. These are my artworks, he said.

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‘Spider-Man’ burglar on trial over 100m Paris art theft

Vjeran Tomic goes on trail for theft that included works by Picasso and Matisse from citys Modern Art Museum

A burglar known as Spider-Man, notorious for daring acrobatic heists, goes on trial Monday for the 2010 theft of a 100m haul that included works by Picasso and Matisse from a Paris gallery.

Vjeran Tomic, 49, who is facing 14 charges, will stand trial along with two accomplices charged with handling stolen goods.

The three were charged over the May 2010 robbery at the Modern Art Museum of five paintings by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Ferdinand Leger and Amedeo Modigliani.

On 19 May, 2010, a thief cut through a padlocked gate and broke a window to get into the gallery, one of the most-visited museums in Paris on the leafy banks of the Seine, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

The museums alarms had been awaiting repair for several weeks and the thief somehow managed to knock out a security camera.

Three guards were on duty that night, but the paintings were only found to be missing from their frames just as the museum prepared to open to the public the next day.

When police arrested the Serb in May 2011, Tomic told them he had initially broken into the museum for Legers Still Life with Candlestick from 1922, not thinking he would also be able to steal another four.

Henri Matisses La Pastorale (Pastoral, 1906). The artwork was one of five paintings stolen from the City Museum of Modern Art in Paris, in May 2010. Photograph: Universal News And Sport/EPA

Besides the Leger canvas, the other works stolen were Picassos cubist Dove with Green Peas from 1912 worth an estimated 25m ($26.8 million) alone French contemporary Matisses Pastoral from 1905, Braques Olive Tree near Estaque from 1906, and Modiglianis Woman with a Fan from 1919.

All but the Modigliani were hung in the same room in the museum, located in the well-heeled 16th district of Paris, which is run by the city and is home to more than 8,000 works of 20th-century art.

Tomic said he took them all because he liked the paintings.

Authorities put the total value of the haul at 100m ($107 million), but some experts said they were worth twice that, while admitting it would be totally impossible to sell them on the open market.

French police arrested Tomic after receiving an anonymous tip. Surveillance cameras from the night of the heist recorded only one person entering through a window but the person could not be identified.

Tomic, an athletic 1.90m (6 foot 2) rock climbing enthusiast, earned his nickname for clambering into posh Parisian apartments and museums alike, to steal valuable gems and works of art.

Authorities said he was spotted by a homeless man as he roamed around the museum in the days leading to the theft.

And they say Tomics mobile phone or that of one of his accomplices showed a signal coming from that area during the heist.

They trailed the signal to a Paris metro station then to a car park in the city centre. Authorities believe that is where he may have sold the paintings to a first dealer.

A second dealer claimed he held on to the paintings for a short time before he dumped them in a garbage can, which authorities do not believe.

International police body Interpol put out an alert to its 188 member countries in the hope of recovering the five paintings, but so far they all remain missing.

There has been a spate of art thefts in Europe in recent years.

The most recent, in 2015, involved the theft of five paintings worth 25m by renowned British artist Francis Bacon in Madrid.

Spanish police arrested seven people last year suspected of being involved in the theft.

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