Monday, June 4, 2012
Parisian Street Art
As I travel to new cities, exotic or familiar, or even return to cities that I know well, I enjoy seeing the known sites, the icons, the beacons that are permanently seared in the collective cultural conscious, however, I also really enjoy just seeing the city belly: the shipping trucks, the bank buildings, the grocery stores, the food carts, the hordes of pedestrians crawling and strutting and cavorting about their daily business, the effusive trashcans, the dogs, the patterns of pavement, and the marks of graffiti art, works of anonymity masked by the cover of night, both transgressive and elusive.
Perhaps it is my own complete ineptitude to wield a can of spray paint that leads me to so deeply admire these images; I recall a certain afternoon before my junior year of college, having just moved into an old bland potato apartment, attempting to maneuver a can to cover a small book shelf in a hue of canary yellow. It is also an element of the mundane that draws me; stencils and sketches and tags and signatures cover at least parts of buildings and bridges and signs in most cities around the globe. They are ubiquitous. For a place such as Paris, always and forever a bastion of aesthetics, a salon for the cultivation and dissemination of new artistic movements, I love the juxtaposition of quick, dirty, and ultimately transient, fleeting, worn down by rain moments of creative expression against the milieu of the masters in architecture, painting, sculpture.
Staying in the tame touristic and student centered neighborhoods of town, I did not have much opportunity to discover broad and intricate murals, rivaling those I have seen in New York, or in the club-centric part of town in Barcelona littered with grubby disco youths. These are more idle, less pompous, a heavy reliance on stencil work; silly dalliances that made me smile, chuckle, caught my eye while meandering the gray streets, alone, wrapped in my camel trench