Here today, gone a week from Saturday

Meg Robson Mahoney
3 min readNov 28, 2016


There’s a black wall on Rue Oberkampf in Paris. It’s called Le Mur — the wall. We arrived on Saturday when its transformation had begun. There was an artist known as Snake, a ladder, some cans of paint, a few folks watching.

He was already underway when we arrived for a street art tour. We’ve walked through street art in several cities now, which has turned disgust to curiosity and often unfolded beauty where there was blight: Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Lisbon. Now Paris. I don’t love it all, but I love the treasures and the insights that emerge.

11:00 am and underway

At 2:00 we came back for lunch…

At 4:00 we left, but Snake kept on. At 5:00 he finished, and a friend kindly sent a final photo.

Yes, those are words — on the chin is soldat, French for soldier. At 5:00 Snake finished by adding a tear. Final photos by Alison McAllister

The wall changes 24 times a year as street artists whose passion is to transform walls illegally paint legally for a day, in full view. Almost — anonymity is preserved.

The art won’t last. A week from Saturday another artist will arrive and paint it over. That’s the nature of painting in the street.