I am fascinated by the anonymous, and not-so-anonymous art on the streets of Paris. Some might call it graffiti, but to me, it's art. There are sprayed-on stencils all over the sidewalks as well as on the walls of buildings.
This one was on the wall of an old building right off of the Place des Abbesses in Paris, also home of The Love Wall. I have no idea who this guy with the goatee is or what the stencil means.
Most of the stencils have a purpose and meaning. The mystery and fun is in figuring out exactly what that meaning actually is. There are some that I have been unable to figure out, nor have any of my Parisian friends shed any light on them. So they remain a mystery. If you can take a look at this one and have any ideas, do let us all know.
This one turned out to be a really smart advertisement for a new DVD from End of the Weak, a US hip-hop record label who has franchises all over the world. (Official US site, French franchise MySpace, US MySpace) As you walk along, if you see that logo enough, especially if you live near Chateau Rouge and La Goutte D'Or (drop of gold, also a song by Aristide Bruant), the Little Africa of Paris, you will start recognizing it and start asking about it. Then you'll want to buy the T-Shirt and DVD. Brilliant free advertising.
Here's another great one that I took on a recent rainy day. It looks like there's a pink person crying out for help. "I'm in the Paris sewers and I can't get out!"
The Paris sewers are an interesting story in themselves, and have been since the 13th century. You can tour parts of them. But there's also a group of anarchistic people who like to sneak in and hold meetings, even to this day...probably figuring out how to overthrow King Philippe Auguste. (They haven't been upstairs in a long time.) They are in good company with Victor Hugo who said about the Paris Sewers, "Crime, intelligence, social protest, liberty of conscience, thought, theft, all that human laws pursue or have pursued, have hidden in this hole..." (Les Miserables; Jean Valjean, Book II, chapter 2).
I have tons of photos of Paris Street Art and take new photos every time we go out for a walk. So I'll be uploading them for your viewing pleasure. Some mysteries will be easily solved. Others will remain unknown.