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Modern Art in Ancient Cities

by Caitlin Frances Chan
Modern Art in Ancient Cities | AIFS Study Abroad

Europe is filled with old historical buildings, paintings, and sculptures. If you are in any metropolitan area, I recommend stopping at a modern art museum, exhibition, or festival. Why? Well, recently, I got the opportunity to attend an art museum, specifically for modern, urban art pieces in the center of the old village of Cannes: Suquet des Art(iste)s. I met with four different in-house artists and asked them about their artwork and what inspires it. It’s an eye-opening experience to speak with artists whose canvases could be the future Starry Night or Mona Lisa. Just imagine the people who met Leonardo DaVinci or Claude Monet before they became world famous. If you can, try to meet and speak with the artists, because to be able see them in their own studio is incredible. You can even continue to follow their lives on social media. The current art culture is incredibly friendly and welcoming. While we should appreciate the pieces which started it all, we should also appreciate the things happening around us in the present.

Modern Art in Ancient Cities | AIFS Study Abroad

If you meet artists who are still alive and working you could meet people like:

  • Modern Art in Ancient Cities | AIFS Study AbroadBoris Wilensky, who started taking photos at a young age, but didn’t begin doing it professionally until age 35. Wilensky’s work and life story showed me that I don’t have to be insecure about my age, profession, and where I am in my life. You may not have your dream job until you are in your 40s! You may not even know what your dream job is just yet. Wilensky was a lovely gentlemen who made my worries about my future lessen.
  • Richard Ferri-Pisani, who began his artistic endeavors by restoring furniture, of all things. Now, he tells me that he is inspired by “nous”-everything. His paintings are colorful and have a sort of comic style to them that really conveys his passion towards loving every good thing this world has to offer. And of course, his cat–truly inspiring right? I think everyone dreams of becoming an artist who gets their cat to work with them everyday–amazing.
  • Grégory Berben, whose parents were a bit scared when he told them he wanted to give up his tennis career for art. Once they saw what he could create, they were no longer afraid.
  • Olivia Paroldi, who knew she was meant to be an artist from a young age and now does what she loves most; by creating pieces by carving intricate drawings of people into leather. To be able to see the process and feel the piece going through its stages is something you would never come close to doing to a painting at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Olivia’s art work expresses her inspiration of other people and the beauty of the human body. Little does she know, her inspired pieces inspire me.

Modern Art in Ancient Cities | AIFS Study Abroad

Even if you cannot meet the artists in person or in their studio, it is definitely worth it to see pieces that you know the artist is working on somewhere near, and that there are future masterpieces at work, that second.

A lot of times, modern street art is the thing that makes a specific city unique, and reflects the personalities and thoughts of the current citizens the city holds.

This post was contributed by Caitlin Chan, who is studying abroad with AIFS in Cannes, France.

Modern Art in Ancient Cities | AIFS Study Abroad

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