It just dawned on me that I never did finish sharing my wonderful experiences that I had in Paris earlier in the year. And so, we will leave the great outdoors and head back to the City of Love.
Graffiti is a growing artistic trend in urban settings, and there are now world renowned graffiti artists. They are known to travel the world leaving their temporary art on random buildings in the cityscapes. In my quest to find things off the beaten track in Paris, participating in a Graffiti Mural Workshop with Street Art Paris sounded like a great idea.
This was more than just a walkabout finding works of art on the walls, but a hands-on graffiti art workshop where we get to create our own works of art. Traveling to a more residential area of Paris, we met our guide and group before heading over to a Skate Park where it is permitted to spray paint to our heart’s content.
When we arrived, we were greeted by a large and magnificent mural of Napoleon and his white horse. Painted by Eduardo Kobra, a Brazilian graffiti artist the artistic skill his mural demonstrated took my breath away. I stood mesmerized while the guide attempted to break the group of thirty into smaller groups of five or so to begin brainstorming.
Then before I knew it, and to my horror the guide began to demonstrate how holding the spray can nozzle and the angle and distance of the can to the wall can create different line widths….ON NAPOLEON ! Oh horrors, how dare he deface such a magnificent piece of work. But that is the point of graffiti, or so I got the impression. That it is considered temporary art. To be fleetingly enjoyed. This was a rare piece by Kobra (in my humble opinion) as it was different than his usual work.
And so, with a big sigh I had to let go of my fondness of Napoleon and began working with our small group to create a new piece of art. We quickly learned that this workshop was so much off of the beaten track, we were the only ones not Parisian. Luckily, there were several participants that heard us speaking English and decided to join us to help us out. Selecting a person with some level of artistic ability that would sketch our idea (not me..I can’t even do stick figures) we started throwing ideas around.
The idea is to create a piece that tells a story. That has a message and meaning. Starting first with the idea of an American in Paris, it quickly went to a global concept and then it became more about the earth and man on the earth. The graffiti artist guide walked around and helped guide each group to help refine their idea and to create a piece of work that is suitable for the spray can technique.
It took us a while to get something that we thought would work, and began first drawing the outline of the earth and painting in the solid background areas. We tried to make it the best that we could. The Graffiti artist guide then comes by and fine tunes our artwork, defining the outlines and making corrections to help things flow better in the display. At long last our artwork was complete.
There is a message here, and even though we ended up far away from where we began, the multicultural and age differences in our group came up with something meaningful.
This outing was a super way to experience Paris off of the beaten track and to be part of the local culture. Even if the workshop was primarily in French, there were enough people there that spoke English and made our adventure thoroughly enjoyable. And so I leave you with more works of art from the Skate Park that day.