From Street art, Graffiti to the Mosaic tiles of Invader. Le Marais is the perfect area to see those urban artworks as this area is well known as the district of art and culture. Street art literally means artwork that you see on streets. Street art is open and available for everyone but still the most famous artist work at night, in attempt to hide their identity,.
As post-modernism has started, the difference between art and doodles has become less obvious. Thus, some people consider street art is harming the landscape and it is actually illegal and banned in some countries.
Street art started in Russia. To provoke artists after the Russia revolution, Vladimir Mayakovsky once said, "Let's consider streets as our palettes." This sparked an interest in people and street art was then situated as spectacles and propaganda.
This portrait of Dali by Jef Aérosol is located at Fontaine Stravinsky, situated between the Pompidou center and Saint-Marie Church. You will have more clear idea about the boundary when you compare this mural and the graffiti below.
Gregos is the artist who create street art with human faces. When you encounter this kinds of art in the streets of the world, there is a huge possibility that it is done by Gregos.
A very well known street artist among Parisians, John Hamon. John persues the fine arts, pasting his photos ouside of Paris souvenir shops. He has continued this art for more than 15 years with the thought that his photos show his unique identity. He himself calls his art "Sales Promotion Art" and left the message on the back of the photos. The messages existing between the portraits and walls create something from nothing.
He already held the exhibition at Palais de Tokyo in 2002, and after with more developing more skills, he is planning some other exhibitions at Fondation Louis Vuitton, Pompidou center, and Guggenheim Museum(Bilbao).
Invader's artworks isn't only in the Marais, but all around Paris and all over the world. Different from the name 'Invader', His arts add liveliness to the city, designed with mosaic tile pixels, not harming the landscape of the city.
He named Invader after 'Space Invaders', which is the arcade game sold by Japanese company Taito Corporation. At that time, the characters in the game were made simply with pixel graphics, now those graphics are replaced by developed graphics, and thus, pixel graphics remind you of old times.
Invader is also well known for working at night like the world famous street artist, Banksy. It rather comes in through the city, than invading the city.
In 1998, Invader also invaded Louvre Museum to leave his artwork for criticizing the system of society. After, he did not show any radical activities and returned to familiar and humorous concept. Proposed by ESA(European Space Agency), he cooperated with NASA and ESA to install his artworks in 7 ground stations. Invader also worked on big projects invited by many organizations in USA, Italy, Austria, and Korea.
There is an application called 'Flash Invaders' which you can download and collect Invader's artworks in the world by taking pictures.
Thoma Vuille is the artist of Mr. Chat, the cat character. The above picture was taken while he was working on it at Le BHV Marais.
Mr. Chat started in 1997 when Thoma attended the workshop as a Art school student. He started to draw Mr. Chat at his hometown, Orléans, after he saw the Grinning Cat character which was created by a Pakistan girl. After, he extended his stage to Blois, Tour, Rennes, Saint-Étienne, and La Rochelle and landed in Paris, drawing the biggest cat in front of Pompidou Center.
However, end of March, 2007, he was arrested by police officers from Orléans, as it was illegal to draw on walls, and became more like a street artist. Even though he had many controversial issues, Mr. Chat is still giving happiness to many people in the world.
GZUP is a street artist named after "GZ UP, Hoes Down" which was among the album Doggystyle by Snoop Doggy Dogg. He got the ideas of design from the game 'Wonder Boy' from SEGA. GZUP describes all the characters as octopus and puts them very high. So, try to look up sometimes, you might encounter his artworks.
The little diamond in the picture is done by the new artist, Viou. Viou repuposes thrown mirrors on the street, making one mans trash into another mans artwork.
"I want to show that street art is for the city. Because the city with white walls are the place without contentions, just a dead city."
Street art has very different charms from the art you see in museums. Take a stroll through Le Marais, the perfect area to enjoy street art, but never draw on the walls as you can get fined.
Written by Jihye Choi
Photographed by Jihye Choi, Vicent Sacau
Translated by Yuna Lee