Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Paris Street Art? Graffiti? Whatever you call it, it's pretty interesting!

Paris street art woman from classical painting
From WHAT painting is this taken? I should know...

I'm still feeling a bit like the north end of a south-bound skunk (as my sainted father would have said!), but I wanted to start sharing my Paris photographs and observations with you. As you've probably noticed, I'm fascinated by the graffiti/street art in Paris. They work so HARD on it... and some of it's a real contribution to otherwise ordinary walls on ordinary streets - at least to me.

One thing that I think is significant is the degree of artistic quality present in much of this work. Even on the streets, you can't just toss any old half-baked thing out there and expect it to be accepted. High aesthetic standards!

Paris street art man with bright geometric design
Who is this man? Should I know him?

When I first saw this wall below, I thought it was some Star Wars -ish movie poster, but when I looked at it more, I couldn't tell. It's got layers of all sorts of interesting images... 

Paris street art layered science fiction movie images

I've seen these pixellated images in the US too, but the Parisian ones are much more whimsical! 

Paris street art pixellated images

Paris street art marker drawn detailed X
Just someone doodling with a marker...

I loved these! If you've never been to Paris, you might not realize that the sidewalks are lined - MILES of sidewalk - with black metal posts every 4 or 5 feet. The purpose is, I think, to keep people from driving up onto the sidewalk. It's always been my experience that people just drive BETWEEN the posts...

But someone decorated a few of them - how genius is this?

Paris street art decorated traffic control black metal poles

Django Reinhardt. Where in the US do you see graffiti of a long-dead guitar hero? Oh wait - Jimi Hendrix...
Paris street art Django Reinardt stencil
 Drawn in chalk... This would take me a week!
Paris street art chalk drawn Celtic motif circle

This is a "built-in" architecture detail, with fascinating snake (or ear of corn) texture inside the design. I particularly appreciate the whimsy of the guy drinking the pop, sketched below...

Paris street art architectural detail Deco period
 Images on buildings are as old as the buildings themselves. I'm pretty sure that this represents a cobbler, which would of course indicate a shop somewhere in the building. No idea how old this might be, but the fact that it's still there make me deeply happy.
Paris street art antique sign for a cobbler's shop


Something we noticed, but couldn't really photograph, is that a lot of street art is now being stenciled onto the sidewalk surface itself, which by definition means that it's temporary in nature. Get your message out, without permanently defacing anything.

Do you appreciate street art, or consider it vandalism? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts!

love,
Janice
Discovering street art in Paris, France

28 comments:

  1. I love it. Especially that Rembrandt-like woman. I think the quality of even the billboards is often very artistic, especially Galeries Lafayette.
    Like Jaques Brel (and Johnny Hallyday), Django Reinhardt was Belgian.
    Cadaqués, Spain, all the doors of the electric meter boxes have been turned into art, usually reproductions of famous works (Dalí lived there).

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  2. The painting is Delacroix's Jeune Orpheline au Cimetiere.

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    1. I KNEW someone would know it - thank you SO MUCH.(you are such a good librarian!)
      hugs,
      Janice

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    2. Good morning sewing librarian, could you recommend any historical story books regarding sewing/quilting that I could read to my sewing students ages 6-12? Thank you.

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    3. Sewing W/kids, let me research that. Can I contact you at your linked website? I don't want to hijack Janice's blog. ;)

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    4. Yes, please. Thanks to Janice for the connection. I enjoy Vivienne Files daily!

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  3. When I went to Paris with my mum for her 60th birthday in 1990 we walked the length and breadth of Paris during our week there and not once did I see any street art. Were we blind or do you think this is a new phenomenon? Sharon. U.K

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  4. Thank you for sharing this amazing art form! It's hard to call it vandalism when it's so well done and added to otherwise blank spaces, not over architectural detail from the past. I especially love that you included the portrait of Django Reinhardt. I recently discovered his musical style when we had the opportunity to hear The Hot Club of San Francisco in, of all places, the Quad Cities (Iowa) where we live!

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  5. Over the past 10 years or so Richmond, VA has added many "building paintings" and most are very nice. They tend to be more abstract and cartoonish, but have really improved the character of many neighborhoods - especially some that were deteriorating. The city even paid for many of them.

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  6. It's Art, called "Street Art" many wonderful practitioners all over the world. One of their objectives is to push people to look at their surroundings and really see what is there. One well known street artist is Banksy. A good film about street art is "Through the Gift Shop" - it used to be on Netflicks, don't know if it still is. Enjoy

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  7. Philadelphia has a great mural arts program which started as an anti-graffiti program. They gives tours of the murals throughout the city

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  8. My hometown has a mural done by Michael Pilato. It is a stunning work of art in a parking lot. http://www.pilatomurals.com/murals/inspiration-lycoming-county/ and some better pictures: http://travelwp.com/2014-1019-williamsport-murals-page.htm

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  9. Those black poles are called "bollards" - they are intended to protect sidewalks, buildings, and people from stray vehicles. These are particularly slender, and very whimsically decorated! - nancyo

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  10. A good friend, John Lineberger, has beautifully chronicled the amazing street art and unique architectural bits of New York City. Please scroll through his Instagram account listed "conifernyc" to see his photographs if you love these photographs from Paris.

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  11. I noticed a lot of street art in Paris when I was there but never saw anyone actually working on creating these statement pieces...a LOT of work indeed and thank you for sharing both these images and that quote of your fathers'

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  12. I am really impressed by street art in Paris. Like Hostess, I have never actually seen anyone working on it. When I visit Oaxaca in Mexico, there is fantastic wall art and some provocative (social justice/political) graffiti. The powers that be remove it but it always reappears. Not vandalism but public expression.

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  13. I wanted to comment on getting sick when out of whatever country you are home in: I travel so much this has happened to me several times. Things that rarely happen at home (California) seem to happen more frequently when away. So I now have the habit of taking every known medicine (including cough syrup) when I travel. I let my health insurance know I am going because in 20+ years, I have had several real doctor visits and a couple of procedures
    - and can get reimbursed when I get home.

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  14. These are wonderful images. Thank you so much! Would you be able to tell us the location of the Delacroix one. My daughter will be in Paris in a couple of weeks and would love to see it. Lynette from Melbourne

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    1. 90 Rue St. Honore! I was able to look up the location of Hapimag, which is the business on the left. I couldn't find multiple locations, so I think this is right.
      Tell her to have a wonderful trip!
      hugs,
      Janice

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    2. Thank you for going to that trouble Janice. She is in London at the moment. We lived in Europe for 7 years as she was growing up and she is over there with her boyfriend for work/holiday and to introduce him to her Europe and some special friends over there. They are having a ball! Lynette

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  15. Street art is often fun as well as being fine art. On the fun side, in my town the city council invited volunteer groups to paint the traffic-light control boxes, and we have an active group of yarn bombers. Recently, a photographic artist has been pasting up moving, sepia-toned, C19th-style portraits of non-Anglo-looking people with the simple caption, 'A Real Australian'. I would like to see more decorative work in car parks though, like the murals Virginia mentioned. I so often see parents with children coming and going from these utterly dreary sites and think what enjoyment they (and I) would derive from painted walls.
    Robyn in Tasmania

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    1. Yarn bombing is amazing... I would love to do that sometime... A black and white light pole?
      hugs,
      Janice

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  16. Not vandalism - much of it is real (street) art. I must view it. Thank you

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  17. My hometown, Joliet, IL, sponsored a big public art/mural project in the 1990's. Interestingly, one of the two project managers was a Joliet native who was living in Paris when the project started. It's been 20 years, and I don't know how the murals have fared, but they were preserved in a book, a copy of which I own. The murals celebrate Joliet's cultural and industrial heritage.

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  18. Most of these images are murals, and the revival of murals is a hot urban cultural event in many cities. We have a big mural festival here (Montréal) every early summer; artists come from around the world to create such pieces. It's sponsored by the city, who prefers murals of the quality you show to a wall full of boring tags. A blank wall was recently painted with the graffito "PUT ART HERE".

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  19. I would love to see some travel wardrobes based on street art.

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  20. The very next day after your post I was in a local computer goods shop and saw the "Star Wars-ish" poster on display. It's promotional material for a video game called Metal Gear Solid V. It's amazing the connections one can make in life if you but follow The Vivienne Files! Seriously, you are an inspration and have helped me organize my closet and simplify my morning routine. Thanks from your fan in GMT+2.

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  21. When I lived in NYC, I loved to see DeLaVega's chalk drawings and writings on sidewalks... I still have a post-card of his on my bulletin board.

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