“When good Americans die, they go to Paris”
by J. Mikal Davis
Well, it felt like I had died and gone to heaven as I found myself in the center of Paris the day before New Years Eve. The streets of Paris are filled with beautiful people, amazing places to eat, hella old buildings, and some great art.
Places like the Centre de Pompidou and Palais de Tokyo are pockets of saturated street art where the kids get up knowing full well that thousands of tourists a day come through on their way to see some great art inside these institutions. Imagine my surprise when I rolled up and there was a huge Katsu fire extinguisher piece in the courtyard of the Pompidou.
I think my favorite was a neighborhood called The 11th, which is kind of between rue de Republic and Bastille metro stop. The 11th is a hip neighborhood that houses the only rock-n-roll record store in Paris (“Born Bad”), amazing little shops and cool little galleries.
I found this great spot called “The Lazy Dog” on 25 rue de Charonne that had an incredible collection of Street Art books and magazines, cool clothes inspired by street culture, and a vast array of prints from some of todays’ sickest artists, like Dutch artist/graphic designer Parra and French print star Genevieve Gauckler to name a couple. They also had a gallery in a separate building next door where they were showing the prints of Evan Hecock – which was a great surprise as I had just become familiar with his work.
The streets in this general vicinity are crammed with some great stuff so keep your eyes peeled as you walk. There might be a Space Invader starring right at you.
I was also really blown away by crazy vertical pieces that were on the side of some buildings. At first I could not fathom how these kids were able to do it and why the verticality of it, but as I studied it more I realized that there are actual ladders (like fire escape ladders) on the side of the buildings that were just hard to see against the brick of the buildings. Kids will hang off the side of ladder and throw up a piece.
There were a few roller pieces on sides of buildings (Zoo Project being one of the best I saw) and the tunnels of the subway were filled with some nice traditional graff pieces, but the majority of the street art was wheat paste. As I was hunting around I met this guy Billy on the street who was doing the same thing as I was.
We got to talkin’ it turns out he has a blog of street art from Paris and all around Europe. Unfortunately, unless you know French you won’t be able to read sh*t but he has some great images of a lot more of the Paris scene.
Billy also recommended that I go check out Rue Denoyez, which was this little forgotten stretch of buildings that had seen better days (like starting in 1850), but some artists thought it would be a good place to work.
More artists followed and began painting huge colorful murals on the walls and…. well I guess you know what happens if you have been in NYC long enough to remember what Williamsburg, Long Island City, Gowanus, and Bushwick used to be like and what they are now.
So these are some of the pics I took while I was there of some of the stuff that struck me. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! Au revoir!
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