Named for engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the Eiffel Tower, the 324 metres entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair was initially criticised by artists and intellectuals for its brutal, industrialist aesthetic. 130 years on, it appears that French creatives Ella & Pitr have created an artistic “monument” to rival Eiffel in scope. What started as a subculture of “tagging” or scratching names on the streets of New York in the 1970s, began to inspire artists like Keith Haring who elevated the street art from with his chalk drawings in the New York City subway system. Yet, with countless books written and studies on the history of street art in the USA and the UK, France, in particular Paris, was perhaps the most prolific bastion of Graffiti art.
Though Paris enforces strict laws, up to 10 years jail time and fines up to 150,000 euros, against vandalism and damaging of public property and monuments today as a result of the uncontrolled proliferation of street art and expression, France has always nurtured a revolutionary spirit as a pioneering instigator of social-political change in our modern history. Taking 8 days to complete, French creative duo Ella & Pitr rendered their world-record breaking mural spanning 25,000 square meters across the rooftops and streets of Paris. Titled in French ‘Quel Temps Fera-t-il Demain?’, translated: ‘what will the weather be tomorrow?’, Ella & Pitr’s Parisian street mural is the world’s largest socio-political message for the next generation – if we do not take responsible stewardship of the planet, what will the weather be tomorrow?
Ella & Pitr came to fame through their use of urban spaces as a canvas for work, from tackling the global refugee crisis with a 47 metres high mural covering the exterior of Piney’s Dam in La Valla-En Gier in the Rhone-Alpes, France to the (second) largest mural in the world, designed and executed for the 2015 edition of the Nuart Street Art Festival in Norway, the French art duo’s own ‘Quel Temps Fera-t-il Demain?’ mural (25,000 square meters versus the 21,000 square meters for ‘lilith and olaf) stretching across Paris parc expo broke their own Norwegian record.
Ella & Fitr’s What will the Weather be Tomorrow? mural incorporates their message of climate change and environmental stewardship by depicting an old woman pointing forlornly at the cars speeding along the Parisian highway; meanwhile, a plastic car floats overhead. While the street art’s central thesis has a global premise, it appears that rendered in French red, white and blue, the artistic pair has placed the hope of future generations in the namesake Paris Accords, an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance, signed in 2016.
Ella & Pitr completed the expansive graffiti work with the use of magnetic stones which shaped the outline of the massive illustration and then with the help of a team of volunteers and friends, working 12-hour shifts, managed to complete the mural which can only be seen by drone or from a higher building in the city (perhaps from the top of Eiffel with a pair of binoculars?).