Show your work

When visiting Paris, one of the world's most popular urban tourist destinations, there is plenty of modern - albeit unofficial - art on display in the streets and on the walls of the popular locations. While I don't condone defacing structures, there are plenty of bare walls in the nooks and crannies of this city that seem to benefit from a bit of jazzing up. I am not a fan of tagging, nor of "crap" graffiti, but when you see the work of people who have both original concepts and good execution, it can be quite inspiring.

Montmartre, the 18th arrondissement of Paris and once the home of a bohemian artist's colony, is such a place. Once you skirt the usual scammers and tourist traps on the way up this steep hill, pass the basilica of the Sacre Coeur, and continue to the quieter streets beyond the tourist-and-artist-filled "Place du Tertre", you can find some varied and interesting work adorning the walls of buildings and roadways.

I quite liked the party girls/tourist girl that I've assembled into a tryptich. These large works were all some distance apart, on walls in different streets. The outer two are clearly the work of the same artist, but I suspect the middle one is not by the same person. When you start seeing the multitude of smaller works, noticing the difference in styles, it is quite overwhelming. The actual walls are somewhat messy, due to taggers and the aforementioned "crap" being sprinkled in-between the better works, but isolating some of the better pieces hopefully conveys how wonderful some of this art is.

My usual interest is in landscape/nature/outdoor photography, but I quite enjoy seeing the work of artists done in different media and styles from my own. In fact, the lesson for me in these works isn't so much technique or style, but that of the artists giving themselves permission to firstly create, and then show their creations to the world, particularly in light of there being some legal risk in this case.

It's good to remind ourselves that life can be surprisingly brief, and opportunities can be missed all too easily. Be brave: make your best art, and don't forget to  "show your work" while you can.