Not all forms of wall graffiti are acceptable – most are viewed as vandalism. But in the case of French street artist Patrick Commecy, homeowners actually invite him to paint on their walls.
Along with his team of muralists, he transforms boring, dull patches of wall into vibrant scenes, full of life. In fact unless you have a ‘before’ picture, you might not even realize it’s a painting.
Patrick and his team travel across France, painting hyper-realistic windows and balconies on bare walls that resemble the rest of the building. They dress up these painted windows with plants, birds and sometimes even rocks and waterfalls.
It all looks so real that it’s confusing for a moment – it’s hard to tell the difference between a real tree and the painted one.
The phenomenal artist works his magic in several ways, transforming plain walls into vibrant cafes, bakeries, playgrounds, schoolhouses and more. In some of his works, he also incorporates paintings of popular figures and influential people who belong to the town that he’s painting in.
You have to look closely at his murals to spot some of these people standing in a balcony or peeking through a window.
For instance, on the side of the first Guides Office, within view of Mont Blanc, he painted a mural depicting 20 pioneers of mountaineering.
In the city of Montpellier, he used the ‘trompe l’oeil’ technique on a building, featuring six famous figures and residents from the city, including chemist Antoine Jerome Balard who discovered bromine.
The murals are fun, educational and surprisingly easy to maintain. People of all ages are entertained by Patrick’s art, which is now becoming a major tourist attraction as well.
Residents of the various towns that he’s painted in, admit that his work has improved the quality of their lives, by highlighting their identity and history.
All over France, Patrick is being regarded as a hero – giving ‘facelifts’ to otherwise obscure towns and improving their brand image.