Paris is completely yours to discover. As much as the people who join this street art tours in Paris want just to see the street art, and not look at tags, usually they come with very little a priori knowledge of street art, nor graffiti, and so, this is why we feel it’s so important to give a little background on the street art movement, and not shrug off the graffiti tagging. Banksy may be as famous today as Andy Warhol, but he started out tagging. We believe it’s impossible to discuss the current movement and tendencies without understanding how it came to be. Indeed, before the term ‘Street Art’ became widespread during the 80’s, every piece in the streets was called graffiti.
Of course, ‘art history’ is present in graffiti and street art, too, it’s important stuff, but, we feel it’s also important to know the history of graffiti, and how books and movies marketed a sub-culture which in fact distorted its authenticity, making kids in Europe and other parts of the world believe graffiti was, and still is, merely a synonym for Hip Hop. Understanding the origins of graffiti tagging, even if it’s what people often fear and find unattractive, while usually knowing very little about its stylistic conventions or the culture, helps break down these stereotypes, helping our guests see past the scribble on a wall and understanding what lies underneath the ink: the act. More specifically, we want our guests to be able to make sense of the discourse: graffiti, street art, urban art, tagging, and understand the particular dynamic that brings them all together.
What we do on our street art tours, here in Paris, is show people beautiful art, as well as explain and show them a bit about graffiti, but more importantly, we ask questions – some of which we don’t even have definite answers to. All this in order that you come away with a deeper understanding of the graffiti scene, about how the larger street art puzzle fits together, and a new found curiosity, leaving you more able to question your relationship to your own environment.