Street art and cinema: A complementary relationship

The 74th edition of the Cannes Festival returned on Wednesday, July 6th. This year is a very special one. As you all may already know, last year the event was cancelled due to the pandemic. In addition to that, all cinemas have been shut down for almost a year. It caused damage to many professions linked to the 7th art. This year’s festival is celebrating its renaissance on an international scale. We want to use this opportunity to talk about how film inspires street artists. It is the perfect occasion for us to dig up some awesome murals that manifest the connection between the two worlds.

The most famous French actress Marion Cotillard is under the spotlight during this festival. The actress plays a famous opera singer in Leos Carax’s new movie “Annette” which opened the festival. This intriguing and poetic film will be another turning point for the already successful actress. The portrait of the beloved French actress can be seen at Canal de l’Ourcq (located in Seine-saint de Denis). This mural was made by BK Foxx, an American artist from New York. She admires the actress for her engagement regarding environmental issues. BK Foxx’s hyper-realism style is something to be admired, even more so regarding the fact she is self-taught. Indeed, the portrait looks exactly like the original photo taken by Studio Harcourt. She wants us to be conscious of the reality of her world. Marion Cotillard is an interesting choice, she is the incarnation of French chic and glamour.

Photo credit: @BKFoxx
Photo credit: @BKFoxx

Mk2, a French cinema chain, has just opened a Hotel Paradiso last May in Paris. It is the first hotel cinema in the city of lights. There is a private screen in every room. This new concept hopes to attract film buffs from all over the world. To inaugurate this new place, famous photographer JR produced two large paste-ups visible from the windows of the hotel. It completes the idea flawlessly by paying homage to some of the greatest legends of the movie industry. The first one depicts a scene from Charlie Chaplin’s movie called “The Kid” (1921).  The second is from Harold Lloyd’s “Safety Last” (1923). It is a great example of street art corresponding with the environment. The artworks transport us to the silent film era, far away from today’s preoccupations.

Photo credit: @JR
Photo credit: @JR

Spanish artist Btoy has also paid a tribute to the silent film era. In the 13th arrondissement, among other XXL murals made by worldwide known artists, stands the portrait of a forgotten actress named Evelyn Nesbit. The American actress was also a dancer and a cabaret performer during the crazy years of the 20s. She began her acting career in 1914 and was considered America’s ideal woman. Btoy’s real name is Andrea Michaelsson. Her nickname Btoy comes from ‘’Be a toy” which is her statement of disconnecting herself from the graffiti subculture (“Toy” in graffiti slang is an insult). Through her art, she celebrates historical women, who have inspired her. This colourful and detailed stencil wants us to think about the fight for equality between women and men. Often forgotten, many women have contributed to this world. The artist wants to pay tribute to them. With this motivation, she creates remarkable works. You can book a tour with us, to come and admire this work and others located on Boulevard 13!

Speaking of gender equality, this giant version of a César is a direct comment on what happened during the ceremony of 2020.  Despite the confirmed accusations of child abuse, director Polanski won the César for the best director. It caused turmoil and outrage among the feminist movements and a never-ending debate in the world of cinema. The question, “Should we separate the artist from the man?” Everyone has his own opinion about the subject and with this artwork artist Djalouz makes a strong statement. This reward was an insult for every woman and as the artist wrote it in his work, it is a shame. The statuette is diverted from its original meaning. We can see a child being beaten, or the face of a woman who is scared. The number 12 may be a reference to Polanski’s victim’s age. The place of women in the cinema industry is still very undermined. Plus, many have reported sexual harassment at some point in their career. The artist wants to shed light on these stories. Gold colour is always part of his work. Gold represents luxury and is now accessible to everyone in the street.

Photo credit: @djalouz

To end on a lighter note, let’s have a look at these wonderful stairs painted by artists Zag and Sia. Located at rue du Chevaleret, the anamorphic painting depicts the meeting between the Pioneer of the animation – Walt Disney with the face of the surrealist painter Salvador Dali. The background is inspired by Dali’s universe. Walt Disney is portrayed as a shadow with a bluish tone in a contrast to a lively and colorful portrait of Dali. It is a reference to the short animation movie “Destino”, a collaboration started in 1946 that was finally finished and released by Disney’s studio in 2003. This is where art meets cinema at its best.

Photo credit: @Street-heart.com

To discover more street arts related to Cinema, you can check out this Instagram account: @streetartcinema. For more information, you can also book a tour with us. Don’t forget to look around you when you go out, you may see beautiful artwork hidden somewhere while you’re on your way to see a movie on the big screen.

Writteny by:

Lola Bikindou

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Street art in Chatou, the island of the impressionists: When street art helps to defend the fight against child labour and trafficking

The Island of the impressionist is actually an archipelago composed of a few natural islands. Chatou – where painter Renoir painted his famous work of art ‘’Luncheon of the Boating Party” (“Déjeuner des canotiers”) – is one of them. During a period called La Belle Epoque, it was the place where many mythical French artists like for instance Monet, Degas, Manet or Courbet used to meet, chat and needless to say paint. It is an inspirational place that mingles the heritage of French art and a legendary moment of French History, when the country was peaceful and when a new art movement could emerge. It is not far away from Paris, so it’s worth the visit. Today, we are talking about this place for a specific reason. Now it’s time for contemporary artists to pay tribute to it. Not with intimate scenes of everyday life delicately painted on canvas but with colossal frescoes that shed a light on different important subjects in today’s world paint with spray paint, brushes and roller. Six artists have been chosen to express their personality and point of view, while fitting into the surroundings, through 8 giant pieces of works executed in 8 days. Why? It is not only a matter of beautifying the area. In reality, this project was conducted by the city of Chatou in association with the American NGO Street Art for Mankind who works with the UN and The Kailesh Satyathi Foundation (Nobel Prize winner in 2014). This NGO works with over 80 street artists around the world. Their goal is to fund resources to stop the atrocities of child labour and trafficking. The artists that have transported their vision of the word in Chatou are Lula Goce, Victor Ash, Carlos Alberto GH, Vinie Graffiti, Emmanuel Jarus and Vesod. Let’s take a closer look at the murals.

This mural was created by French artist Vinie Graffiti. The artist from Toulouse has a very recognizable style with an endearing character, a manga-inspired girl with an afro that represents diversity. Diversity of color but also the diversity of the genre. Here, her colorful afro are words like woman, biodiversity, equality, different religions… There are clouds in the background, which may indicate that the girl is dreaming… dreaming about a better world where diversity would be accepted everywhere. She performed her work in a lot of places around the world, and she explores different forms of art like a sculpture. 


Victor Ash was originally known as Ash2. He was the pioneer of street art in Paris when it spread in the 80s. He started in Stalingrad and in La Chapelle alongside JonOne, Mode2 and Jay1… He was even featured in the book Spraycan Art by Henry Chalfrant. In Chatou Victor Ash made two murals.  This one has a strong message and tries to convey the importance of the democratization of the culture. The little boy is holding a pile of books, and on those books, we can see the face of the great writer Guy de Maupassant. It might be a political message which echoes the recent event. During the 2nd wave of the pandemic, the government closed the bookshops, saying books aren’t a necessary need. It was as if the government looked down upon the culture. Culture that is a big part of French History. Outside this controversial aspect, the mural also celebrates the city of Chatou which is a city of culture and music. The second mural is a bluish portrait of the Jazz musician Hal Singer, and it’s obviously located at the entrance of the Hal Singer cultural space. With these works, we can see that the artist enjoys playing with contrasts.

This is my personal favorite. Mexican artist Carlos Alberto GH from Guadalajara makes 3D artworks and likes to put himself in the action of his works after painting them. His main theme is the preservation of the fauna and flora. Luckily, it is also one of the main concerns of the city of Chatou. That’s why the fresco was painted on Auguste Renoir Middle school. The problem must be taken seriously right now in order to secure a better future for the children. The birds and the flowers are in the hands of a human being, which translates that nature is now in the hands of humanity. Most of the time, the artist paints tropical animals, which brighten up the place. This mural is what we can call a trompe l’oeil in French. 

Source: @vesod
Photo credit: @superkant

At first glance, this one might give you a head spin. This is the work of Vesod, an artist from Turin whose father is Dovilio Brero, a surrealist painter. Born with an artist’s mind, he began graffiti in the 90s. He got his inspirations from renaissance art, futurism, but also from his love for mathematics. In his world, space and time are no longer something that we can process with our brains. What reminds us of Nolan’s movie is the mirror effect, which makes us lose our eyes on what we’re supposed to look at. A bridge that doesn’t have an end, but leads to a Paris that seems lifeless. 

A woman sits between both, she’s stuck in a time loop, but she’s calm at the same time. Her body is transparent and lets appear the Seine behind her, almost like a ghost. Made with a roller, this mural is a truly astonishing work that requires some knowledge in geometry to be precise as it is. 

This mural represents perfectly the combination between the artworks of the impressionists and the current rise of street artists. Emmanuel Jarus, a Canadian artist who called himself Youngjarus depicts the human experience in his environment across the world. This is his own version of Monet’s Women with a parasol.  His work has always a humanist approach through the depiction of a human being. However, here, it’s more like the woman is protecting from the rain than protecting from the sun. With these shades of blue and the melancholic stare of the woman. This is not the first time that Emmanuel Jarus collaborates with Street Art for Mankind. In 2020, he created a historical mural in Manhattan for the 75th anniversary of the United Nation. 

To celebrate the city’s garden, artist Lula Goce painted an orange-colored fauna with a woman in the middle who is looking right at us. Lula Goce was born in Galicia in Spain. Her work is inspired by classical paintings such as Valazquez, Goya and Caravaggio. Her hometown is part of her inspiration too, the orange which reminds the dryness and the prolific nature. Recently, we went to the inauguration of the brand-new mural made by the artist on the Mercure & Ibis Hotel in Montmartre. It is also in association with Street art for Mankind for their project #GenerationEqualityMurals. With the making of this mural comes the help of UN woman, Manpowergroup and the 18th arrondissement town hall as well. The mural projects the future of equality between men and women: A little girl looking up at the sky on the shoulder of her mother. As said by Lula Goce, in the world of art the equality between women and men is not yet achieved. Women have more struggles when it comes to finding the finances for their projects. With this new kind of project, we hope things will get better in the future. 

You have to visit Chatou during this month. It’s a beautiful place, and you can show your support to all the artists and to Street Art for ManKind. According to the Kailesh Satyathi Foundation, there are still 152.1 million child labourers worldwide. This project might make a difference. You can donate through the website of Street Art for ManKind: https://streetartmankind.org/ and you can follow them on Instagram to discover more murals across the globe: @streetartmankind.

In the picture – Kasia Klon – owner of Street Art Tour Paris with a reproduction of Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir in the background

This is a reminder that art can have an impact on social issues and can help our world to move forward in a better direction. 
We are organising a hike there on Sunday, July 18th, if you wish to join us, reserve your spot here.

Written by:

Lola Bikindou

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