Graffiti could hardly be called “neat.” In fact, many would argue that it’s the dirtiest part of the world’s largest cities. Bright, often illegible scribbles adorn the walls of buildings and the undersides of bridges and draw attention away from the beautiful surroundings. One young French artist, Mathieu Tremblin, set out to change this.
Tremblin has traveled throughout the streets of France to fix the country’s graffiti problem. However, the way he has decided to go about this is a bit counterintuitive! When he spots a wall that has been decorated by a graffiti artist, he stops to take a photo of the art. He then paints over the whole design using an opaque white paint. After the paint dries, he reconstructs the old graffiti in a similar size, color, and typography. He believes that this makes it easier on the eyes. We have to agree!
He tries to write exactly what the old painting said, though these messages typically don’t make much sense. Still, his sleek colors and computer-style writing are easier to read and give France’s previously dirty cities an air of calm sophistication.
Take a look to see some of his work…
Before, this doorway was a hodgepodge of colors, words, and designs. None of it was legible, and it certainly wasn’t very attractive. But, after Mathieu worked his magic, the door looks fresh and clean.
Of course, the words on the door still don’t make any sense (in English OR in French), but there is something oddly pleasing about the clean lines and bizarre layout that Mathieu created.
Take a look at some more of his work…
At least some of these words are actually able to be defined!
The most inspirational part of Mathieu’s artwork is that he preserves the original artist’s intention. He does not change what they are trying to say; he simply makes it cleaner.
We love the busy design and bright colors in this design! He used the pre-existing colors to highlight his handwriting and ended up creating something truly remarkable.
However, some have criticized his work. Though he doesn’t change the intention of the artwork, he does change its execution. Many graffiti arts say that everything about their art is intentional- even down to the style of their handwriting. By changing this, they argue, Mathieu ruins the quality of the piece.
Interestingly enough, though, what Mathieu does isn’t exactly legal… Though he makes the graffiti more visually appealing, he is still technically vandalizing a property he doesn’t own. So, his intentions aren’t entirely philanthropic. He is damaging the city just as the original artists did. Still, we think his work is beautiful and unique!
Graffiti has long been an issue for major cities around the world. Even though many think it is unattractive, is serves an important role in society. French artist Mathieu Tremblin recognized this role and has spent years trying to make it more presentable. Whether you love what he did or hate what he did, his artwork is truly impressive!