A gallery of pixel art tile mosaics all over Paris
If, in your Paris wanderings, you've perhaps glanced up once or twice, you've probably seen a few pixel art mosaics, usually in the form of little low-res aliens, like something out of a 1980s arcade game. I've always really enjoyed spotting these things, mentally cataloguing my favorites, pointing them out to friends, et cetera, so a couple years ago I started taking pictures of them whenever I happened to notice one. I don't know much about the history of these things, and frankly I'm less interested in the who or why and more so just in the enjoyment of spotting them; all I know about them is that the trend was popularized in the 1990s by a French street artist who goes by the name Invader (see the Wikipedia article about Invader). But he might not be the first guy who ever had the idea, and there are a million more guys who've taken the idea and run with it since then. So I don't know which of the below pieces are Invader's, if any, although you can definitely recognize his style in some of them, and you can also see some other, totally different stylistic patterns in some of the other ones that show how other artists have explored the idea in different directions.
Many of these are in the Latin Quarter, including the above, and I'd definitely say that's the neighborhood where you'll find the highest concentration of pixel art mosaics, and other street art in general.
Pixel art in the Latin Quarter. That little guy reminds me of Dig Dug or Bomberman or somebody, but I can't place it.
I've been fascinated by pixel art in general forever, and I've spent a lot of time making my own, although not in public places like these; just on my computer (see my pixel art gallery). Recently I had the opportunity to finally combine my love of both pixels and Paris: I was hired to design an old-school video game for my friend Alexis' old band, where you wander through a pixellated version of Paris and kill lots of zombies. Check it out: Toxic Sonic: Zombie Massacre! The game is meant to be pretty easy, so you can take your time and enjoy the my low-res interpretations of Paris: there's a pixellated Eiffel Tower in there, as well as the Moulin Rouge, Notre Dame, Sacré-Coeur, etc.
Pixel art space invader in the Latin Quarter.
This scary guy is hidden in a private courtyard near the Centre Pompidou; I zoomed in through the gate.
Oscar the Grouch pixel art mosaic on Rue Michel Le Comte. This guy was just a block from my apartment in the Marais, and he made me smile whenever I passed by. I learned from my girlfriend that Oscar and Sesame Street aren't known in France, so I wonder who decided to put this guy here, and why.
Rue Michel Le Comte again. Many months later, I found (what I thought was) an exact copy of this piece in the Les Halles neighborhood. A pic of that is coming up.
Another space invader pixel tile mosaic in the Latin Quarter, next to the nerdiest place in Paris!
Another space invader in the Latin Quarter. Snake Street!
Hey, no fair! A stencil!? That's cheating! It fooled me from a distance though. Latin Quarter again.
This is on the little place by Métro Odéon. Not quite the same as the video-game inspired art, but I like it. You'll recognize this style in a few pieces all over town.
Rue du Four, in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area.
Rue du Four.
Rue Bonaparte. If you happen to go see the hotel where Oscar Wilde died, this is at the end of the street on your right if you're facing the hotel. It's just in front of L'école des Beaux-Arts.
Rue Bonaparte again.
I like this one because it's broken, and also because those shiny bits are mirrors!
Next: on to part two!
Related junk from Cool Stuff in Paris:
Neat statues representing different countries.Paris' coat of arms