Thierry Noir was born in Lyon, France but moved to Berlin, Germany in his 20s in 1982. This was a time when the Berlin wall was still up and movement between East and West Berlin was severely restricted.

Noir started painting the wall in 1984 with considerable personal risk. The part of the wall that he painted on was located entirely in East Berlin and was therefore, out of bounds for Noir. If he was caught painting the wall, he would have been arrested.

However, for Noir, the painting of the wall was an act of protest and a move meant to belittle the significance of the wall.

The multi-coloured heads that are his signature have strong lines and basic elements.