Art seems to have managed to struggle out the canvasses and onto the streets of Paris. Street art gives us a glimpse of the immense talent which would have otherwise gone unnoticed had urban artists decided to keep to themselves. Thanks to these creative individuals, Paris is holding its own against New York and London when it comes to urban art. Ephemeral, fleeting, temporary : street art pops out at us from unexpected places in this city. And so as not to miss out on any of them, here are some detours you should take to brighten up your commute:
If your timing is right, and if you are really lucky, you can probably catch a street artist in the act of creating another beautiful yet ephemeral artwork in the 11th arrondissement. At the corner of rue Oberkampf and rue Saint Maur is Le MUR, a wall-turned-canvas for street artists. This wall once displayed billboard advertisements, but in 2007 it became a city-funded wall which was given to the Le MUR association, founded by the artist Jean Faucheur. Different street artists are invited to put up their works on the wall every two weeks.
If you're around the area of the Centre Pompidou, it's pretty hard to miss Jef Aerosol's work, considering it's a 350 square meter stencil that towers 22 meters high along one of the most visited places in Paris. A self-portrait of the artist with his index finger against his mouth in a shushing gesture has been immortalized thanks to the mayor of the 4th arrondissement, building owner SGIM society and the band of urban artists who helped achieve this monumental work.
It's hard not to cross the Space Invader mosiacs while walking around Paris’s neigbourhoods, the French artist whose pixelized characters of the 1978 arcade game, Space Invaders, silently lurk underneath street signs or below famous monuments, observing our every move. This urban street artist invaded Paris - and 31 other key cities in France - before stealthily moving on to other countries like London, Cologne, Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Melborne, Kathmandu… there are too many of them now around the globe. These aliens have been documented in books and maps, and it's always a delight to turn a corner, look up, and discover a colourful mosaic in an unexpected place. A true legend in street art and pop culture, let's not forget that the first Space Invader was installed in Paris. Has this piqued your interest? Let Localers take you on a Space Invaders hunt, in the city where it all started.
Ever felt queasy while walking down the streets of Paris, as if someone was keeping a close eye on you? You may not be entirely paranoid; chances are you are being watched by CyKlops, the French street artist who converts boring street posts (the anti-parking bollards) into watchful soldiers. CyKlops started in 2007, painting eyeballs onto the tops of the bollards and using bright colors for the rest of the body. In 2011 he collaborated with students of the Paris school Saint-Maur, who helped him transform the poles of rue du Morvan in the 11th arrondissement into monsters. Keep your eyes peeled for these colorful creatures.
The 10th arrondissement puts street art on the map with Les 3 Murs, a project started in 2010 with the backing of the Conseil de Quartier Hopital Saint-Louis and the district's own city hall. There are now not only three but four walls which display the works of various artists, all are changed every three months. Past artworks by Harry James, France Dubaois and Arnaud Crassat have already graced these walls.
Addresses: 10 rue Jacques Louvel Tessier, 24 rue Alibert, 40 rue Sambre et Meuse, 101 rue du Faubourg du Temple in 75010.
Take a walk down rue Dénoyez or rue de l'Ermitage, both in the 20th arrondissement, famous for the graffiti and artwork lining its walls. The streets of rue de Mouffetard in the 5th arrondissement have been graced by the works of Jef Aérosol, Miss.Tic and and Jana & JS.
Other interesting places to catch the works of your favourite urban artists are the Bercy Skate Park (128 quai de Bercy 75012), Les Frigos (91 quai de la Gare 75011 - open only during Portes Ouvertes dates in springtime), and Point Ephémère (186 quay de Valmy 75010).
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