Graffiti artist brightens French streets with tile art

A French street artist is brightening up the streets of Rouen (Seine-Maritime, Normandy) by painting tile-like traditional designs onto pavements, to make them “more charming” than the usual concrete.

3 June 2020
By Connexion journalist

Nicolas SoulabaÏ, aka InkOj, uses original stencils and spray paint to create the designs, which, when finished, resemble the colourful, traditional tiles commonly used to decorate old entrances to houses and shops.

(Photo: Inkoj / Instagram / Screenshots)

Since January, the artist has created 11 pieces in the Saint Marc neighbourhood of the city. Each piece takes several hours.

He makes the stencils himself using a craft knife and then applies them to the concrete pavements to produce the work usuing traditional colours - such as yellow, terracotta, white, and light blue - to create the effect.

(Photo: Inkoj / Instagram / Screenshots)

He explained that he is inspired by old, traditional houses, and spaces in the city’s Place du Vieux-Marché. “Concrete has no charm. I am intervening to make it more charming,” he said.

Perhaps unusually for a street artist, Mr SoulabaÏ also has the support of the local Mairie and Rouen residents.

He said: “[The Mairie] gave me permission to continue, saying: ‘Knock yourself out!’.”

One resident of a building with the artwork outside told news service FranceInfo: “To see it in front of your place is such a beautiful gift.”

Mr SoulabaÏ shares his work on his Instagram account, with a number of photos showing the variety and colour of his work.

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