Thursday, April 14, 2016

Paris Graffiti and Street Art, April 2016

You might not fully appreciate my love of good graffiti, but I walk a LOT in Chicago, and never get to see anything nearly this witty or just plain well-executed. The graffiti in Chicago is that same tired, self-aggrandizing and incomprehensible "tagging" that's some variation of initials or names, written large, and badly...

Okay, this guy was NOT graffiti, but I think someone sitting outdoors, playing a harp, qualifies as street art of the very finest quality!

Some of the graffiti is just small pieces on a wall (sometimes quite HIGH on a wall); and sometimes, you see a bike driving out of the building. Very Harry Potter-ish...

The first image was seen quite a bit, and was apparently part of the sponsorship project for the Paris Marathon. And the second was a small image, tucked in a corner...

Sometimes, you see people who are larger than life. I particularly like the way the window of the closed business was given a touch of whimsy.

Someone in Paris is doing a good job with their English!

Occasionally, there are works of art that are so large that they MUST have some kind of sponsorship or legitimacy. They're also a delight when you turn the corner and find them!

Yes, these are mannequins. They startled the daylights out of me...

A neon pig mermaid? Why not? And you want to stick up one of your snapshots under a street sign? okay...

The sign on the left is a standard "do not enter" symbol, altered to look like someone has been put in the stocks! The blue and green thing is just weird and interesting, and the building with the fake beehive embedded in the corner must have, at one time, housed some sort of honey shop? Logic isn't necessarily a big part of interpreting these things, however...

A shopping bag is only considered art in the most abstract and broadly interpreted way, but I loved this bag. And B found a gorgeous cardigan/blazer in this store... their things are lovely.

All large cities have street musicians, and some cities do a better job than others of vetting who's allowed to noise pollute the neighborhood. These young guys were both good musicians and amusing, cheerful entertainers!

One of the things that you see from time to time is a BEAUTIFUL old window, or mosaic, or other advertising piece from years ago, which has been preserved in direct contradiction to the current business on the premises. This was one of the walls of a Chinese traiteur...

For some reason, the Rue Taitbout had a lot of little graffiti/art pieces. I particular like the "austerite" poster - simple, clear, effective. 

Do you think that the proliferation of "art" in public spaces encourages or reinforces the idea of dressing and accessorizing in a way that is self-expressive?

 I still have photographs; I am going to tackle ALL of the jewelry photographs tomorrow!


NORDSTROM - Shop Women's Work Clothing


  1. I definitely think art is part of the creative juices flowing in a city, along with personal interpretations of fashion.
    In Carcassonne in the summer, there's a woman who does a kind of street performance art on the main pedestrian thoroughfare, meticulously embroidering an enormous tapestry in a medieval tableau.
    In Cadaques, Spain, the unsightly covers to boxes covering electricity and water meters have been painted with reproductions of Dali works (he used to hang out there).

  2. Funny thing about the dancing girl street art (left to the closed business photo you posted): Two weeks ago I was in Berlin, and took a guided tour on street art. Apparently there are many similar dancing girls in Berlin by the same artist (called SOBR) who also did the Paris one. The guide explained the artist is taking photos of people dancing in raves, at the time they are losing themselves to the dance, and then creates his works based on these photos. There's a link about these girls here:

    1. Thank you Janice for the street art of Paris and thank you Red-lia for the link. The dancing girls are awesome.

  3. I think the strange blue and green thing is a storm trooper from Star Wars. Paris looks like a lot of fun!

    1. My thought exactly! --photographer friend

  4. I love street art! Shared beauty, shared joy apart from commerce... Beautiful! In the little town where I visit friends, a couple of hours north of Toronto, all the high school students collaborated to paint reproductions of Canadian "Group of Seven" painters giant on all sorts of buildings and billboards. It's breathtaking! Every time you turn a corner, there's a classic of Canadian art (and they tended to paint the surrounding landscape... so it all fits in together very well.)

    That window dressing looks like Banksy to me.

    Thank you for the inspiration this morning! I was just reading John O'Donohue's book Beauty - and this is exactly what he's talking about!

  5. Europe is blessed with great street art. In the US, the most amazing graffiti is to be found on railroad cars! On our many trips to Augusta, we are "fortunate" enough to sit and wait at the crossings. The artwork on some of the cars rivals anything you will see in a museum for color and originality. Nest time you see a freight train, take a minute and enjoy the show!

  6. What fun! Thanks so much for sharing these photos.

  7. Walking in Paris is such a visual feast. I tried to explain to someone that I was an "urban walker" who really enjoys graffiti, shop windows, street artists and style watching more than "nature". Paris is, I believe, all about self-expression rather than about conformity and urban blandness. Thanks for sharing the fun.

  8. Love walking in much to delight and tantalize...
    Looking forward to more...
    Thank you for elevating my morning!

  9. Love graffiti! Love your photos!

  10. Thank you for sharing your photos. The whimsy and humour always lifts spirits. We have a whole town in British Columbia on Vancouver Island that is painted. They were facing poverty and became creative. I found many humorous sculptures and art in Latvia and Estonia, plus inventive and talented street performers.
    Deb from Vancouver

  11. Thanks for these! I am always intrigued by clever and talented street art. Your photo of that cat-in-a-frame graffiti piece brought me right back to Paris - I know exactly where that was taken (and have taken photos of it on my visits also) - nancyo

  12. I love these - very inspiring! Thank you for posting them. Also, I like Loft clothes, and used to buy them when I went to Paris on a regular basis. There is a shop in London, but its not quite as much fun as shopping in PAris

  13. I think all art is inspiring! Even if it is not your taste it causes you to think! Last year our town held a week long art experience. They had several graffiti and street artists from around the world come and paint large art murals on buildings in our downtown. The theme of this was "The Unexpected". The focus was to spark interest in art in our kids and students. It was fabulous! It got so many people out to look! Of course, not everyone liked it but what a project! 11 different murals in a week! I am including a link if anyone is interested. I always love your Paris posts!

  14. As someone who works in the public art field, I absolutely believe that proliferation of art in public spaces unleashes creativity of all kinds and encourages creative thinking and non-conformity. Hurray! Thanks for sharing! -- Queen Lucia

  15. Fun fact: beehives were generally put on banks. They were symbolic of industry (bees) and the rewards thereof (honey). Happy to hear that you had a nice holiday! :)

  16. Yep, I'm in with the street art crowd - often witty and/or thought-provoking, and it speaks of a creative, perhaps unruly spirit in the town. Our traffic-light boxes are painted by schoolchildren and community groups, and there are fun pieces that appear in lanes and on hoardings. A northern country town has reinvented itself as a mural town like others mentioned above. Sometimes it can get a bit 'organised' looking when officially sanctioned or promoted but left to itself it's a fun form I think, and often technically interesting too. Thank you for sharing these pics from the home of wit and sophistication, Janice.
    Robyn in Tasmania

  17. If you want to see great street art, visit Bristol in England. Home of Banksy!
    Rachel x

  18. Meanwhile, back in Chicago, there's the cow on the side Talbott Hotel!

  19. The blue/green thing is a storm trooper from Star Wars but I don't know what's happening with the squashed igloo above it... Thanks for sharing these! Last time I saw good/creative street art of the graffiti kind was in Oslo--lots to make you smile/think. There are some great murals here in Atlanta, though.
    Leah from