Everyone has their own vision of Paris, but most people think about the Eiffel Tower, the Sacre Coeur, the Champs-Elysées, the Seine, the Louvre… you know, the typical touristic things. Paris is also known as the city of love, the city of fashion, a city rich of culture! But what does culture mean exactly? Of course we glorify the remarkable architecture, classic art and historic tales. But what about the new ones? Paris has a side to it which is actually in full view, but no one seems to see it. Well, actually I think many people see it, but don’t really realize what they are looking at. You must be wondering what the hell I am talking about… I am talking about Street Art!
Let’s face it, at first I didn’t really pay attention to Street Art either. However, after following this fascinating street art tour I won’t be able to walk down the streets like I used to anymore. The passionate tour guide explained us many things about the Street Art culture which I never even had thought about. Let’s dive into my tour with a photo diary and I will talk about some fun facts and some beautiful places to visit!
This beautiful piece of art up here is made by Kensa, an artist from Lyon who works with vinyl records! Don’t you think that must be quite hard? If I would try that probably I would ruin all the Vinyl haha. As you can see there is lots going on around the wall in the picture below. First of all: do you notice that all of the street art is higher than 5m above the ground? That has a funny story behind it! Apparantely the French government only covers your insurance for the first 5 meters, after that they won’t pay for your paint if you want to paint over the grafiti on your wall! Since the street artists don’t want to see their art painted over, they are very careful with this rule and make sure to place it in higher spots!
Furthermore, you can see that there are lots of different artists putting their stamp on the corner of Rue de la Fontaine au Roi. The cute little mosaic guy who seems to come from a Mario game is from Megamat: people often confuse his work with that of the famous Space Invader but this guy is often way more detailed and serious, that’s the trick to keep them apart! The diamond on the right side of the wall comes from La Diamantère: he placed more than 500 diamonds around Paris! Why you must wonder? He just wants to make the city prettier! He started this project during the economic crisis in order to create a feeling of wellness. How considerate of him :) If you look closely, you might also notice a piece of a bike stuck to the wall: this is the work of ‘Ride in Peace‘, who wants to give the abandoned bikes of Paris a new – artistic – life, actual recycled 3D art! Who needs museums?
You might have spotted a funny little octopus in the previous picture as well, and here is one again! The street artist Jeesup is known for placing more than 500 of those babies around Paris, all in different shapes, sizes, colors, expressions, and themes. The reason why they are famous is because Jeesup strategically places all of his artworks right next to the work of other famous artists, so they pretty much function as an indicator. Which brings us to the next artwork: Le Module de Zeer. This artist should seriously hang in museums with his works because they are beautiful! His concept comes from the starting point of one single cell: which keeps spreading. His doodles become art for which he doesn’t have an explanation. He wants you to see and interpret your own reality… how philosophical!
This beautiful artistic street can be found in the 20th district of Paris named Belleville. Fun fact: every truck in this neighbourhood gets covered in graffiti and streetart, this way the artists like to spread their art troughout the city.
The left picture down below is a commisoned work by an artist from Barcelona called ‘El Pez‘: he is famous for his signature fish with a HUGE smile on his face. That definitely brightens up your day now doesn’t it? :)
Fun fact: do you see the street art in the picture above? As you might have noticed someone tagged ‘TOY’ over the Statue of Liberty. This is the way for street artists to mock the others work, as it comes from the abbreviation TOYS: Tag Over Your Shit. This is considered highly disrespectful on the streets and you might want to start a war if you dare to TOY someone else’s street art!
The artworks above are also commisioned and excecuted by the artist Seth: he started out in artschool and traveled around Europe to discuss the concept of culture and art. He loves children and especially to teach them, which we can also see in his artworks. His signature is children going trough portals or looking in a direction of which the spectator can only guess what can be seen on the other side… mysterious and calm. The reason Seth is respected as a street artist is for his skilled shading, extensive detailing and his respect for the environment.
Yay! we spotted another octopus from Jeesup there! If you look closesly you see why: under the octopus there is an original artwork from the real Space Invader hidden! Almost in camouflage blending in with the grey walls.
Another comissioned wall that we passed by on the tour, and perhaps my favorite! Not only are the colors beautiful, but it’s amazing to see how all these seperate artist can make completely individual works but still blend in with the rest. Hopare, the artist who was the creative director for the project, is the one responsible for the artwork up here, the one of the woman looking up. I mean… WOW! He is just 25 years old and is known for his incredible details, figurative and linear style and the photographic elements in his artwork. He was never schooled in art and developed his style completely on his own… I can’t wait to see more of him in the future! The best way to end the tour, without a doubt!:)
Funny! After the tour was over, we spotted another Space Invader on our way to the Metro! Walking around Paris will never be the same again… ;)
What do you guys think about streetart? Will you be paying more attention from now on? Let me know if you spot something cool!