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Nice, a street art paradise?

Après de nombreuses années de « chasse aux tags », la capitale de la Côte d’Azur ouvre progressivement sa porte aux cultures urbaines. Désormais, plusieurs artistes exercent joyeusement aux quatre coins de la ville. 

"There are more and more requests. The debate has really opened up," says César Malfi, a young street artist from Nice. Until a few years ago, our city was one of the many that turned their backs on tags. That has changed.

Évolution du Street Art à Nice. Les artistes sont compris à Nice
Photo : Noémie Meffre, Nice-Presse

On walls and facades, in neighbourhoods, or even on the front of certain shops... Urban art is now helping to beautify the city. 

"It's becoming more and more integrated, and it's continuing in that direction. Some orders are even initiated by neighbourhood committees. This inevitably opens up the field of possibilities a little more."

Evolution of mentalities

At first sight, "Nice la bourgeoise" may seem to be little open to this phenomenon. It would seem that, in the end, it is.

However, it should be noted that it had some difficulties at the start, as Robert Roux points out. Robert RouxDeputy Mayor Christian Estrosi, in charge of Culture.

"Originally, it is true that the city was not favourable to street art. It developed mainly in industrial wastelands and in very deprived areas. Places that we don't really know here."

Évolution du Street Art à Nice
The work of César Malfi. Photo: Noémie Meffre, Nice-Presse

"We have a very nice period architecture, which is well maintained. So there are fewer abandoned places where street artists have been able to create and make a name for themselves."

Then the construction of line 2 of the tram began (opening in June 2018). "One of the first thoughts we had was: 'so there's going to be scaffolding, palisades everywhere... Why not use it as a place for exhibition and expression?'"

So a call went out: and it was a great success. “The artists were all thrilled. They came to participate in the beautification of the place. »

This project has therefore made it possible to show this work, but not only. “We can say that it had a training role with the people of Nice. She realized that there was a huge difference between degrading graffiti artists and street artists.". »


Link between generations

From now on, this practice is well established in our walls and is developing more and more. According to Jen Miller, who has been practicing since 2009, "A lot of things have changed thanks to the association Whole Street. »

"That's democratized. Now, we feel a very warm welcome, whereas before the people of Nice could seem a little cautious" - Jen Miller, abou street art


She remembers her performance in public, in front of the Galeries Lafayette, Place Masséna: “It was incredible. All generations came to meet us to discuss our work and ask us questions. It was super nice. »

Nice, paradis du Street Art?
The work of Jen Miller. Photo: Noémie Meffre

Brian Caddy, quant à lui, pratique depuis huit ans à Nice, « j’ai participé à plusieurs projets, notamment à celui des travaux autour du tram. De fil en aiguille, on a pu faire plusieurs choses pour la Ville. »

For him, painting in public places “is very interesting. It makes art accessible to everyone. » 

“I will soon be doing a fresco on the double bridge of Magnan. The passage of people will be very important, they will ask themselves questions, develop a critical sense. »

However "there is still a little reluctance". 

“When you go to Toulon or Marseille, you can see large panels and facades. Which is not yet the case in Nice. But either way, "there's a lot going on and that's pretty cool!" »


Noémie Meffre