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Nice Street Art, the city sublimated

Where to see beautiful street art in Nice?

A few years ago, Nice, like other cities in France and around the world, was hunting for tags. Today, graffiti are real works of art created by recognised artists or by virtuoso graffiti artists. Mural frescoes are even commissioned by the municipality to chase the grey out of the city and to bring art closer to the general public. Follow us to discover the places where you can see beautiful street art in Nice.

After its underground beginnings in the 1980s, street art has developed worldwide and gained recognition as an art form in its own right with artists such as Basquiat and Keith Haring at the origin of the movement as well as Banksy (the most recognised) followed by Kaws (mixing pop culture and street art), Shepard Fairy (Obey)Bordalo (street art from recycled waste), Mobstr (committed artist), StikJonone... At the national level, we find JR and InvaderBando (the one who brought graffiti to France from the USA), Jef Aerosol (the first), C215 (stencil specialist), Miss. TicMr ShizMr BrainwashBlek le RatSpeedy GraphitoRoti

Actualité - Actualité: Lieux Incontournables de l'Art Urbain

In Nice, the policy for street art took off about 3 years ago, at the initiative of the deputy for culture, Robert Rouxa street art, urban art and contemporary art enthusiast. The latter has mobilised the talents of the excellent graffiti artist from Nice, Thomas Debatisse alias Otom. This artist also brings together many other graffiti artists in his wake, notably via his association specialising in urban culture (graffiti, bmx, music, dance, etc.). "Whole Street" has more than 15 artists (see focus below in the article).

    1) The pioneer and founding father of street art: Ernest Pignon-Ernest, from Nice!

L’artiste Ernest Pignon-Ernest
@site officiel de l’artiste Ernest Pignon-Ernest

Often described as a humanist, a rebel and a committed artist, Ernest Pignon-Ernest became famous in the 1960s for his wild posters in the streets of Paris. Even today, he remains an insatiable artist in his desire to post on the walls the " violence inflicted on men". His works are generally done in charcoal or black stone. Some of his works, such as the "Fusillés de la Commune" or the "Rimbaud vagabond" reproduced in thousands of copies, have become true icons of modern times. 

For fifty years now, Ernest Pignon-Ernest has been stigmatizing, with force and poetry, full-scale bodies, worked from live models, and displaying them in the streets of the world!Photo ci-contre : @Site officiel Ernest Pignons-Ernest).

Even if there is no graffiti by him on the walls of Nice, we could not start this subject on street-art without mentioning the great international master of urban art! You can nevertheless appreciate his immense talent in the Garibaldi tramway station where an imposing sculpture, signed Ernest Pignon-Ernest, sits majestically. The work is entitled "Pépin, la déesse et la mer" and reflects the rich history of Nice. It is a representation of the goddess Niké (from whom the city of Nice takes its name), inspired by the Victory of Samothrace , exhibited in the Louvre. On the shoulder of the goddess, the young Joseph Garibaldi looks down on passers-by and travellers. Behind the work, screens broadcast a live image of the exit from the port of Nice.

The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC) in Nice devoted an exhibition to Ernest Pignon-Ernest in 2016. This retrospective is available online..

Find out more about the artist:  or on the MAMAC website

   2) Gaïa and her butterflies: the first perennial and legal street art graffiti in Nice

Lieux Incontournables de l'Art Urbain

"Gaia and her butterflies" have been contemplating walkers and motorists since December 2017.

To see street art in Nice, go to the Fabron district, opposite the Voie Mathis exit.

This superb representation of the goddess of Greek mythology offers a reflection on the environment, reflecting the ecological concerns of its author.

Entourée de papillons et coiffée d’une couronne de fleurs, la belle Gaïa sourit à la vie et apporte couleurs et gaieté à cette rue très passante, à deux pas de la Promenade des Anglais.

Half pop culture, half comic strip, this street-art fresco in Nice was commissioned by the city. The territorial departments of the city of Nice have a participative budget intended to improve the living environment of the inhabitants of the district. The Territory Directorate and the neighbourhood committee would like to see all the spaces in the tunnel that have not yet been graffitied. The work is signed by Otom.

   3) Ambiance ta ville ! The free speech wall

Lieux Incontournables de l'Art Urbain

Resulting from a promise made by the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, to young people, the wall of free expression of the XVth Corps, allows graffiti artists to express themselves according to their desires.

The recent inauguration of this wall represented a historic moment for Nice's urban art. Indeed, it was the first time that Nice has hosted a wall in the city centre. Each artist can express himself freely. For the occasion, Debza, a graffiti artist from Toulouse, renowned for his inimitable style of lettering inspired by Japanese manga, and Ernesto Novo, a Nice native living in exile in Paris, came to collaborate with local stars (Otom, Brian Caddy, Chika, Guitou Top Gun, César M., Faben, Dzio, Wanjah, Artmakeroneright), to produce a fresco more than 70m long.

Open to all, this space is constantly evolving. The works can be covered and replaced by others, more or less successful, at any time. Thus, at the time of writing, the collective fresco created by 11 artists from the "Whole Street" association - who have been entrusted with the artistic development of this wall - is already different from the one presented at the inauguration of the wall on 31 January 2021 (see video below).

When you will have the leisure to pass near the Acropolis Congress Centre, you will certainly discover other works of street art than those I was able to photograph in March 2021 (see photos above and on the cover)... Never frozen, always in movement, this wall aims to embellish the district while letting the youth and art express themselves! A success! Not far from there, in the Avenue du XVème Corps, don't miss the beautiful fresco by César Malfi representing Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl.