Throw Ups, Bombs and Tags
is some of the new language I learnt on my Street Art Tour today. This is street talk for graffiti dudes.
Graffiti is alive and well and prolific throughout most of Paris, although there are certain areas more so than others. Our charming and passionate guide Jason put us in the know.
The 16th arrondissement for example, the upmarket area around the Eiffel Tower is void of graffiti and if an attempt at putting some up is made, it is very quickly cleaned up. If you are caught walking down the street with a bomb – street talk for a spray can of paint, you are in trouble.
However the more artistic areas like the further afield 20th, 13th and the 10th is where street art is tolerated. Some of the artists are ‘really old’ as Jason referred to the artists who have been around many years and are now in the 50’s. Some have created businesses from their work, which is quite ironic for some, when their motivation is to provide political or moral warnings about freedom of art and freedom of speech and remarks about capitalism and then turn themselves into marketing machines offering products emblazoned with their art.
When 15-20 people turned up for the tour, I was a little weary, I was hoping for a smaller group, although in the end it didn’t really matter. We were all there for the same reason, to watch, listen and learn and take photos. Jason the guide was very knowledgable and patient with the stragglers like me interjecting and asking questions, which was encouraged.
I learnt the difference between a throw up and a simple tag, where just a quick name is all that is required, wheat paste where the art is created at home and then pasted to a wall and it goes on.
Although I struggle with the idea of defacing private and public property, it can’t be ignored that some of the graffiti artists are very clever and talented. Some travel far and wide to exhibit their art and some who have become famous and are able to sell their pieces for handsome sums, still share their art for free on the walls of Paris.
Australian artist VEXTA was commissioned to do this protected piece on a wall in Paris.
KESA recycles old vinyls to produce work such as this.
FRED LE CHEVALIER a Parisian based street artist produces these charming wheat pastes that can be seen around Paris.
DIAMANTIER, salvages old broken mirrors from the street, recycling rubbish into art to create his easily identifiable graffiti.
An unkown artist leaves his mark in the way of poetry
This absolutely spectacular piece was commissioned by the city of Paris to beautify an old wall. The artist hailing from Portugal, chisels his art into the stone walls.
Overall all the Street Art Tour by Underground Paris was really worth it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The tour provided me with more knowledge about graffiti, pointed out items that I could have missed and gave me a fascinating glimpse into the world of street art.
I met a charming English man, who as it happens is going to Jim’s for dinner tomorrow night, so I will now have a travelling companion to head out to Jim’s famous Sunday night dinners.
A final word on street art talk – don’t get TOYED – basically it means your work is shit. This can be for a number of reasons, painting over someone else’s art. Making grand statements about capitalism and then selling yourself out. Either way once someone has grabbed a bomb (a can of paint) and sprayed TOY over your work, then you have lost respect man!
Some useful links:Street Art Tour of Paris – official link to Underground Paris Fred Chevalier Street Artist – official link Australian Street Artist Vexta – official link Kesa Street Artist – offical facebook page