When I first came to Lyon, France, I had no idea that I was about to be bombarded by some pretty spectacular street art. My artistic Lyon immersion actually started with this #VuVor series by David Aubrey. His art is kinda like temporary street art that bridges the real and digital worlds because every polaroid he sticks to the wall comes with the hashtag #VuVoir. That’s it. Nothing else.
This little gimmick of his worked too, because people like me want to find out what the heck #VuVoir means and share this street find online! I remember thinking back to when I saw the first #VuVoir polaroid. It reminded me of the scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day off.
As I explored Lyon more, I came across even MORE great little gems! There was a bunch of nasty old tagging, but when I looked passed it, I found quite a few interesting pieces.
In particular, one that really caught my attention was the use of Kintsugi on the streets. Kintsugi is a type of Japanese art that takes broken pottery and fixes it with gold, silver or platinum. The philosophy behind this sort of practice is to embrace the flawed or imperfect which I think is a pretty cool concept:
Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated… a kind of physical expression of the spirit of mushin….Mushin is often literally translated as “no mind,” but carries connotations of fully existing within the moment, of non-attachment, of equanimity amid changing conditions. …The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as mono no aware, a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identification with, [things] outside oneself.
- Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics
There were also an incredible number of massive mind-blowing murals, too. Some of the paintings were spread over a bunch of houses. I was actually really taken by the first bit of art with the Cylon woman. The photo I took doesn’t really do it much justice because in person, honest to God, it looks like a snapshot of a real human.
There were a bunch of repeat art-offenders that I was pretty chuffed to see around Lyon. I’m not entirely sure if these are little mushrooms or what, but they are awesome and they’re everywhere!
And then.. these are my favourites!
This one is super cute, because I’ve never seen such a joyful simplistic image of art. What really sold me on this was the wine bottle. It’s just so… French! I mean someone could have put the bottle there, but it brought the entire story of the dancing square together.
Now, this art absolutely the cake as my most favourite bit of graffiti I have ever come across in the completely history of me. That’s not paint you see there… it’s moss. Now the thing with moss is it takes YEEEARS to grow. I have no idea how the artist got this bad boy on the wall, but it’s my favourite!
The French translates to “have some great dreams” which breaks down to how the French say ‘good night.” I really hope to see more moss street art around the world.. or even Lichen which is basically an algae or cyanobacteria. I’m a massive fan of organic art and this is my favourite in leaps and bounds!
All of this really awesome graffiti is pretty much in walking distance. And, I was thinking that if someone in Lyon organised a graffiti walking tour, I think they’d do really well. It’s well worth it.
Here’s a map of where I found most of the graffiti pictured above.
A girl gone walkabout in the great big world!