The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Graffiti of Grenoble

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The Good The Bad And The Ugly Theme by Hugo Montenegro ( 2 min. 46 sec.)

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The mighty arm of paint

I have always considered myself to be a law-abiding citizen. When I have encountered graffiti, I have always looked upon it with some disdain. How dare someone pick up a can of spray paint and deface someone else’s property? Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines graffiti as the “unauthorized writing or drawing on a public surface.” I never would have condoned (or at least, tolerated) graffiti until I arrived in Grenoble, the first real city in which I’ve ever lived and where I have encountered more graffiti in a week than I had ever seen in my entire life. Since our move to France, I have started appreciating the talent of those rogue artists who express themselves so colorfully. What would you rather look at—a dull, bland wall or a vibrant colorful expression of imagination?

The best time to catch “shutter loads” of graffiti is on Sundays.  That day, most shops are closed in Grenoble, and the shutters protecting their shop windows and doors are pulled tight.  Our strolls around town have offered the opportunity to catch this art work at its best and worst that day. Graffiti here runs the gamut from tagging (graffiti writing/vandalism that usually uses the bubble type letters in one to two colors) to stenciling or often, to humorous works and fine trompe l’oeil (fool the eye) illusion.

Don Q?

It becomes apparent that many of the shutters are not painted by amateurs, but rather by talented artists. When I started reading about graffiti art, I found that there are many websites devoted to showcasing it, and there are well-known and respected artists in this genre. I think many of them are living right here in Grenoble.

Some of the art is whimsical; others have a darker side to them. Regardless, there is a message that is conveyed with style, beauty, and imagination. One of the upsides to this type of decoration is that the taggers tend to keep a “cans-off” approach in respect of the art. All I know is that I whip out my camera whenever I encounter a “graffiti-moment,”  and now I hope you will appreciate what I’ve found!

So, please check out the SlideShow that I’ve created.  When I find more I’ll add them.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barbara J
    Dec 13, 2010 @ 03:23:21

    Great Post, Maureen! As always, I enjoy your insight into life in France. It looks cold and snowy there. You look very French in your hat and coat. Still jogging?
    We are getting ready for the girls to arrive form Germany on Friday. They will be here until January 7th. We can’t wait. We will go to Williamsburg with the family Sunday to Wednesday. Evidently Busch Gardens has winter shows and lights and even rides. We always love to go to historic Williamsburg at Christmas time. It should be great.
    I am working on my Facebook ability. Lots of pictures of our Sunday School class Christmas party at our house if you want to check it out.
    Maybe we can Skype this week.
    Stay warm—Barbara


    • steveandmo
      Dec 15, 2010 @ 15:59:28

      Hi Barbara, Yes it was very cold as is today. As I write this snow is flying, but the sun is out! I went for a jog this morning and could have used another layer on my bottom half. Not usually a problem, but it was cold and windy today. I found a Bio store (organic store) and got some poppy seeds for muffins. I’ll take them to my French-Eng. lang. group on Friday morning. We have café et thé, and I think they’ll enjoy them. I made cranberry bread before Thanksgiving. They had never had anything like it, and everyone took seconds!


  2. Lori Millette
    Dec 13, 2010 @ 18:59:51

    What great pictures! How much more fun it is to see art than drab buildings.


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