Tag Archives: Public art

street art in paris PART 3

hello again, this here post centres on the stencil style of street art (as requested!)

stencil art is perhaps one of the newest forms of street art and is also perhaps one of the most involved and highly skilled media within the genre.  it’s labor intensive, it’s extremely risky and it involves extra equipment to achieve if you wanna do it right, yo.

to produce a piece with multiple colours or tones one must draw and cut the same number of stencils as are colours/tones. each stencil is sprayed onto the wall and later overlapped with another stencil and another layer of colour/tone (very much like screen printing if anyone has dabbled in printmaking) to produce a detailed, high depth work.  in between each layer is a waiting period, depending on the type of paint used, which can be a risky business when making ones art where people often pass by.  even in the wee hours it only takes one narrower-minded walker-by to pick up a phone and dial 17 (the number for the police here).

hence, my feelings of respect towards such individuals and the work they so lovingly produce is strong.  please scroll for a number of random works i am unable to credit very well (feel free to help me here if you can!)  and never fear, i have a handful more really superb stencil works featuring in my next post.  so watch this space!

enjoy…

by ‘jef aerosol’

i assume also by ‘jef aerosol’ as the style is remarkably similar
(esp. with the red arrows)
the red text on the windowsill translates as “the music soothes the walls”

i admit this one is not particularly skilled BUT i love the concept.  this work is also really well located, surrounded by a lot of expensive boutiques, restaurants and bars in one of the most wealthy arrondissements of paris – a nice little comment on some of the weath and status obsessed parisians… and it’s cute!

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street art in paris PART 2

space invader!

if you dig street art and haven’t heard of space invader my first question to you would most likely be, have you been living under a rock??! said with much indignation, buckets of disbelief and a hint of outrage.

probably one of the most iconic and infamous street artists in existence, space invader himself is based in paris (lucky me!).  the tally of his invasion of this city is currently at 704 which means that you’d have to have seriously impaired vision not to spot one of his works!  i’ve noticed that there seems to be more of them around the north and east of paris if you’re keen on hunting some down. also check out his website here for more pictures and info.

besides paris and the rest of france, space invader has left his mark literally all over the world.  again, check out his web site for more details.  perth and melbourne (in my beautiful country of origin) hold totals of 26 each (including one stuck to a shipping buoy in the middle of the ocean!).  however, it disappoints me slightly that sydney has been forgotten… he’ll just have to come back someday.

the things i love about space invader
*  his street art name is both clever and cute
*  staying true to the original video game he gives himself points for every invasion
*  each little character up on a wall is different
*  his visual style is really simple, iconic and fun
*  it’s such a nice surprise to turn a corner and bump into one here… sometimes i play a game to see how many i notice (and how many points i can accumulate) in a day.

please scroll to see some of my favourites…


on a side note:
i’ve noticed a few around town that look like they might be fake or copycat versions… can anyone confirm/deny/offer an opinion on this??

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street art in paris PART 1

i am a big fan of street art
sometimes i leave the house just to go treasure hunting for new pieces…

tags? NO
elaborate crap on the side of trains? NO
bathroom graffiti? NO
all of the above: JUVENILE

try beautiful posters, peepholes, mosaic pieces, clever slogans
think banksy, swoon, obey, JR, space invader, blek le rat and gaia (just to name a handful of some the most well-known).

a lot of people are currently debating the validity and value of street art these days.  artists such as banksy and space invader release films and sell iconic merchandise and in the tune of “selling out” i see their point.  people have even started cutting out pieces of concrete walls to own a ‘banksy’.  and if you’ve seen his film exit through the gift shop you will see that the subject of this film is a classic example of the “sell out” type.

i agree that yes, there’s a charm in the idea of the starving artist, making art in the name of passion and truth but in my opinion everyone’s got to make a living!  i, for one, am certain that retaining integrity and making money is possible!  debate aside…

the reasons i love good street art:
*  it’s free for all to see
*  it’s very temporary and ephemeral depending on the weather, the street cleaners, the building’s owner etc
*  the element surprise when you turn a corner
*  there is no particular style or limit as there is no one from whom to gain permission or approval
*  the element of risk involved in putting the piece on the wall is exciting
*  the anonymity of the artist and this kind of secrecy is fun
*  the artists doesn’t ask permission therefore doesn’t have to endure long and arduous processes to have their work displayed/exhibited.

please scroll to see 5 of my favourite treasures so far
and stay tuned for more in the coming couple of weeks.


goliath – le marais

goliath – le marais

NB: these are all images taken by yours truly during the 8 months i’ve been traipsing the streets of this glorious city.
ALSO: if you happen to know the names of any of the artists i haven’t credited please do tell, as i would be keen to put their names in lights and learn more about their work.

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basquiat

 

so this is a post about the  jean-michel basquiat exhibition i recently visited at the modern art museum of paris here in the 16th (which is just next to the must visit restaurant, tokyo eat at palais de tokyo).  i studied his work briefly at university and at the time i remember being intrigued.  to be honest my main thoughts were, ‘how could he have become so famous just by painting like a child?’ which i think might be a common thought when viewing his works and others of a similar style.

but famous he certainly was and still is, the evidence in plain sight upon trying to see this exhibition week after week, always with a queue halfway down the block.

i think a lot of the answer to this question may have something to do with his famous friends. some include blondie (whose music video he once starred in), david bowie (who later played the role of andy warhol in ‘basquiat’ the film) and madonna (who he briefly dated).  in the later years of his career he collaborated for some time with andy warhol who became a close friend. it all goes a long way to reinforce the old saying about who you know as compared to what you know!

raw use of colour and ideas on the black/hispanic/african experience in north america, on consumerism and on the constraints of convention on the individual dominate much of his work (click here or here for more background info – it’s far too much for my little blog).  basquiat’s background as a poor, black/hispanic, terribly intelligent child seems to have a lot to do with where he and his art ended up.

i believe that as a teenager and in his early 20s basquiat was a serious rebel but quite an intelligent one. the beginnings of his public art making was the graffiti he scrawled all over lower manhattan with a friend, al diaz.  they called themselves SAMO and although basquiat moved from walls to canvas the style of the work changed little.

text was a common feature of all of his art.  for me a lot of it didn’t make much sense and wasn’t totally coherent with the images presented.  i would have loved the chance to speak with the artist himself!  it is apparent that a great portion of the work was thrown out onto the canvas stream-of-consciousness style, my lovely man asked me towards the end of the exhibition, ‘was he schizophrenic?’

indeed the sheer quantity of work is overwhelming and it’s evident that this guy had a serious and sincere compulsion to express himself, to create.  probably due to his visual style, one interviewer asked basquiat if there was anger in his work, to which he responded, ‘it’s about 80% anger’.

i felt this strongly while at the exhibition with many pieces that looked to me to be two-thirds finished with a plethora of paint drips on the canvasses and scribbled out text and images.  some say this kind of process could be interpreted as a rejection of conventional, institutional or more rigid forms of art – even a casting off of conventional society in general.

it is no secret that the artist indulged in drug use throughout his life-time. perhaps inevitably basquiat developed a serious heroin habit which likely contributes to the “schizophrenic” scribbling evident in most of his work.  a combination perhaps of the pain from his childhood, his struggle with fame and the fortune and certainly the drug use itself, the artist became intentionally more and more reclusive and eventually died of a heroin overdose at 27 years old in 1988.

somehow i find his life slightly more interesting than his work – maybe a nice little quote from the man himself which might best sum up his life:

i had some money, i made the best paintings ever.  i was completely reclusive, worked a lot, took a lot of drugs.  i was awful to people.

sounds like, sadly, a life half-lived to me.  i don’t know how illuminated that is, besides the brightness of his spark that never quite reaching its optimum clarity.

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