Graffiti in Paris

The line between art and vandalism, lawlessness and charm is very thin.

The goal of graffiti artists seem to be to achieve some fame in the graffiti scene, making sure that the name is well visible and clear to everyone. The very first graffiti were just signatures and names. Over the years, I have been mesmerized by the personal expression, which appears to be the core reason that graffiti exists to begin with.

Graffiti raises the question: “Is it art or is it crime?”

Opinions are divided amongst those who criminalize, mostly municipalities, homeowners and shops that find often smeared walls and gates. On the other hand though, those who are close to the rap and hip-hop scene actually recognize graffiti as something that beautifies gray and anonymous areas of the city.

Certainly, the tradition of graffiti is somewhat similar, in my mind, to mural cultures. I particularly also find it interesting that graffiti artists like to make references to their influences. Take these Dali dedications, for example.

Perhaps this is a very tall claim, but I found myself mesmerized by the large graffiti like murals of Mexican artists Rivera and Siqueros’s work.

The practice is condemned, however, when it affects historic buildings and monuments. Whilst hating the graffitis in Italy, I did find myself enjoying those in Paris.

Here are a few pieces of graffiti seen mostly around Pompidou and Montmartre. I do think a cool graffiti is a piece of art, although most pieces do tend to be disappointing.

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