Strolling between Graffiti and Street Art in Lyon on the slopes of Croix-Rousse district!5 July 2019
Graffiti and Street Art in Lyon are not to everyone’s taste! I will not tell you about the 1st edition of the “Fresh Painting” Festival, which you can find all the details and works on their Facebook page. No, I’m going to talk to you about real Urban Art; the one that is not sponsored by the city halls of Lyon! Yes you read well, in Lyon the official art is “conventionné”! The owners of the buildings have a “clean walls” convention with the town hall and the tags or works are systematically covered after 2 weeks. Even those of famous artists!
The situation of Street Art in Lyon still evolves in the city since some landlords (owners) and town halls support Urban Art projects. At the Croix-Rousse it is “Place des Tapis” that we can admire a huge wall of 120 M2 ! It is managed by the Association MUR69 and highlights artists from Lyon. While I’ve write the article; The wall was having a work by the collective BLAST which brings together three artists with complementary skills: the sculptor illustrator Romain Lardanchet, the graffiti artist Kalouf at the origin of this monumental work, and the light artist and architect Julien Menzel.
One year later it was an incredible artwork from BRUSK. An artwork done for the campaign “Paint (RED) save lives“; an international Street Art campaign to raise awareness and end AIDS. During my last visit in Lyon just between 2 lockdowns I get the chance to see an new artwork, just finished done by Monsieur S and Heta. This fantastic wall is really a must see before starting any Street Art walk in the district.
The best Street Art spot in Lyon is the district of La Croix-Rousse: Bastion of the irreducible graffiti artists!
You may not know it but I lived in Lyon and from as far back as I can remember the slopes of the Croix-Rousse have always been the prey of graffiti artists and urban artists. The proximity of the Beaux-Arts Lyon may be for something. Or maybe it’s just the fact that these slopes contain bars of all kinds, labels of independent music, which makes this district more open to Urban Art and other underground practices. Even if the plateau of Croix-Rousse has become more “hype”, it remains a popular with a lot of urban arts.
Hundreds of Blazes slamming!
Ooh La La ! You will tell me what is this jargon? Well Blaze is simply the name, pseudo or alias that gives the graffiti artist. His signature ! He has often chosen it for the harmony that forms the letters between them. Some graffiti artists invent thousands of typographies to decline their Blaze. Others have a single signature that is a work of its own.
I have always been fascinated by the different typos of writing that graffiti artists can imagine. I am not the greatest specialist in Blaze and I do not know all the graffiti artists; but the basketball court located rue de Nuits on the Croix-Rousse plateau is a gold mine for those who love graffiti!
If you do love graffitis, this place will certainly make you really happy. If it is sunny; you will see a graffer working, they are here everyday ! During my last visit I have meet the young graffer Twane, training new technicals !
I still managed to recognize some Blaze after taking hundreds of photos; for example we find GRIS1, and especially STERO with his very square Blaze, often accompanied by a blue monster. For STERO it’s quite easy because we find his character everywhere in France and in all colors! And also Lasco with its prehistoric animals and Kairos with its little birds.
Apart from the basketball court rue des Nuits; here are some streets where you will always find graffiti: rue Joséphin Soulary, rue Pouteau and its staircase, rue Diderot, rue Rosarin, rue Donnée, and Montée de la Grand Côte.
Two houses, very colorful, emblematic of Street Art at Croix-Rousse
These two fully tagged buildings are really the emblems of Urban Art at Croix-Rousse! Impossible to miss by stop and try to isolate parts of these giant frescoes to understand them, even decode them! The first one is an old garage rue Lemot at the top of the stairs rue Poteau. We can see comic characters from another time! By informing me a maximum of my contacts; no one could tell me about the artists who made this monumental fresco! If you have information, I’m interested …
The second house is down the stairs of rue Poteau. For this one the habitants say that it is the architect who lives in the house that have asked artists to realize this fresco. For the occasion we find artists from the Lyonnaise scene such as: Adyos, Spe, Xoner and Omik. But impossible to find their accounts on Instagram!
A concentrate of street art in Lyon: rue des Tables-Claudiennes !
It is certainly one of the least used streets of Lyon; but there is a concentrate of Street Art. Between the old fresco of “Gainsbourg” done by Yandy Graffer, and almost impossible to take pictures by lack of hindsight; the work of SPONE with his special characters and the frescoes of restaurants and cabarets; the rue des Tables Claudiennes is a must for anyone looking for Street Art in Lyon! Not to mention all the collages & other graffiti you will find in this street.
Every street has his own work of Urban Art!
Once past the streets that have a high concentration of Street Art; we find installations & works in almost every street of Croix-Rousse. So I made a small selection for the article; and you can find all my other discoveries on my Instagram!
One of the major works, which will certainly please you, is the look of David Bowie by the artist Big Ben, it is located in the rue des Beaux-Arts in Lyon; Neyret Street. This is really a must and it is for this reason that I chose it to illustrate the cover of this article.
Another artist who left his mark on the slopes of Croix-Rousse is Brusk. Originally from Saint-Priest in the Lyon region, this artist is internationally known and his style is easily recognizable as he is a follower of the “dripping” style. Although many of his works have been removed by the City Council; we find a beautiful string of monsters – perhaps aquatic – Montée des Carmelites.
You will understand, the Street Art in Lyon on the slopes of the Croix-Rousse is more than varied! Above you will discover a work by David Selor, internationally renowned painter – rue Lemot-. Or again, the unusual legs of the CAJ artist entering “straight into the wall” such as Marcel Aymé’s wall-pass, which can be found at the bottom of the Saint Sébastien climb, or even rue de l’Abbé Rozier.
Of course, you will come across Invaders; because they are now everywhere all around the world and Lyon is no exception to the rule. And inevitably you will fall on the roses & hearts, like tatoos of the artist Georges de Loup; because he remakes a work as soon as the Town Hall removes one of them! and lots of other small urban installations that I posted on my Instagram!
Even if Street Art in Lyon has a hard time because of the town hall, the Croix-Rousse is really resistant. Maybe the new Festival fresh paint will help changing the situation …
If you are a fan of graffiti & Blaze; I recommend my articles on Cadaques and Street Art City. And for those who prefer monumental murals, I would refer you to my discovery of the Bushwick Collective in Brooklyn, my walk in Lower Manhattan or the one in Boulogne-sur-mer which is stunning!.
We meet again very soon for a discovery of Street Art in Mexico City! Yes, you read correctly ! Until then feel free to share with your friends and leave me a little comment if you enjoyed 😉