For some 30 years, the “white men” by Jérôme Mesnager have been found all over Paris – and also elsewhere and abroad. As with street art in general, many of the "men" appear only for a short while, others remain, like e.g. on the large mural painting (from 1995) at Menilmontant. His art is of course also for sale at galleries (see e.g. below his version of Botticelli's "Spring"), including at the “Galerie Ligne 13” (where I once acquired a small painting he made with his friend Mosko and where he will again exhibit as from March 13 in cooperation with another street artist, Artiste Ouvrier.
I had the pleasure to visit Jérôme’s home and workshop in the Paris suburb Montreuil, a fabulous place, which must be some kind of dream for an artist.
A long and nice moment over a glass of “pastis”.
It’s nice to see how these street artists work together. On a wall, you can see Jérôme’s portrait made by Jef Aérosol (see my post here). On the outside wall of Jérôme's house you can see a giraffe by Mosko. The paintings made together with Artiste Ouvrier were waiting to be delivered for the exposition at “Galerie Ligne 13”. Just across the street, another long-time friend, Nemo, had painted a man….
Leaving Jérôme’s place, heading back for Paris, I took a walk through parts of Montreuil, an area completely unknown to me. You will find a very mixed architecture with a lot of individual pavilions, an area which during the last centuries has been the home of a number of smaller industries and workshops (some traces, ruins… still to be seen) and with a politically left-wing dominance - today perhaps less and less evident. Some street art examples included a faded hammock by Nemo. In the municipal library there was exposition devoted to one of Montreuil’s inhabitants, Tignous, one of the cartoonists killed during the Charlie Hebdo attack.
Approaching the Paris border, you can find the offices of C.G.T., the General Confederation of Labour, one of the leading French trade unions. A wall on one of their buildings is dedicated to Georges Mélies, who produced some 500 films between 1896 and 1903 in his now disappeared studio in the area. If you wish you can have (see below) a look at the “Trip to the Moon” from 1902. The Lumière brothers and Pathé also had their studios here.