Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Lives Next Door

Ok, at long last, an entry on Paris…

Just when it started looking like Paris was still all about annoyingly grumpy parisians, endless strikes and rude, eternally malcontent, cab drivers (a mere thirty minutes after leaving the airport, I had my first lecture on how shuttle buses from the airport where stealing work from cabs and how he usually never picked fares at the shuttle station)…

I noticed this guy sleeping (passed out?) on the sidewalk downstairs from Sarah’s flat, next to a bunch of what looked like miscellaneous pieces of trash… so far, nothing out of the ordinary, whether in Paris or SF…
But later during the day, I caught him, perfectly awake this time, studiously painting on one of the giant canvas he had been using as a shelter…
and his stuff was pretty interesting too…

There were even occasionally people, who apparently knew him, stopping to chat on the sidewalk and check out his recent paintings…

When I asked Sarah this morning, she told me that, yes, he had been consistently living there for a few months. People would quite often come by and bring him cheap whisky on which he’d drink himself stupid in between two painting sessions…

I don’t know what part of my fascination here comes from the guy and his paintings, and what comes from the common but eery resonance with other famous hobos or with the fact that, despite all the downsides of this city, you can’t help but feel like you are surrounded by all kind of art, in the most unexpected places and times…

Today, it’s raining and he’s nowhere to be seen.

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