STREET ART IN PARIS
Artist John Fekner defines street art as "all art on the street that’s not graffiti", so please, when I say "Street Art", do not visualize graffiti or worse, tagging (which I detest), that is not what we are talking about. We are talking about very talented artists offering their creative works to the world on the most visible and popular canvas - the street. The street art in Paris was one of the highlights to our time there. In fact, between the artwork we viewed in the Louvre, the Pompidou Centre, Versailles, and elsewhere, the art on the street was perhaps the most exciting to me! Yeah, I said it. Of course, the Mona Lisa is a piece of art of great importance and the Venus de Milo is admittedly beautiful, but there is something wonderfully exciting about coming around the corner of a Parisian street and seeing a stenciled painting like the one above by Nick Walker.
This was the first artist I saw (the piece in the upper left was around the corner to our apartment in the Latin Quarter) - and so began this wonderful journey through Paris' ripe street art scene. With this artist, like many of the others, we saw a number of his/her works throughout the 2 weeks roaming the streets in random spots throughout the city. It was always exciting to see a new and different piece, and to recognize the style and know it was the same artist.
This artist's work was a fun discovery both times - I mean, come on, these pieces are awesome! The piece on the left was found on Rue Mouffetard in the Latin Quarter on a Saturday morning as Becca and I were heading there to the popular street market for some produce, cheese, bread, and wine. Less than a week later when we saw it again while in the neighborhood for dinner, a tagger had tagged over the entire head. Lame. Taggers and mean people suck.
Perhaps the most prolific street artist we saw, is actually three artists collaborating together to offer Birdy Kids. We saw these cute and colorful pieces all over the city. It's interesting to see on their website that they also sell products like t-shirts and toys. Saturate the street with a visual until it becomes recognizable, then introduce a product - it's kinda ingenious. No different than Shepard Fairey introducing "Obey" to the streets years ago, self-creating himself as a popular artist by inspiring curiosity.
It seems it doesn't take much to be recognizable on the street. What clearer mark than an "X" to mark the spot!? Of course, look closer and it's not as simple as it seems.
French artist Invader makes mosaics with colored tiles to depict characters from the game Space Invaders. He is one of the most prolific street artists alive with work all over the world. We saw many of his pieces throughout Paris. Oh, and it should be mentioned - these artists are recognized in museums and the finest galleries throughout the international art market. Invader has exhibited in many galleries and museums. One local Parisian told us that some art pieces have actually been stolen, where the thief will literally steal part of the wall (!) to get away and preserve the art.
(Love affair To Be Continued…)
If you know of any of these other artists not named here, please comment below and let us know. I am certainly no expert on street art, so insights by more expertly folk is welcome. I just know that I loved seeing all of the wonderful street art in Paris! With any luck, we will begin to see some pop up here in Maui.