Illustrating Paris Life

Earlier this month, the mayor of Paris handed over 1,000 of the city’s municipal signs to Japanese illustrator Kanako Kuno in order to display 50 different images of Les Parisien’s at play

Earlier this month, the mayor of Paris handed over 1,000 of the city’s municipal signs to Japanese illustrator Kanako Kuno in order to display 50 different images of Les Parisien’s at play…

Impressed by a new illustrated book on the city’s inhabitants published by the popular My Little Paris website, the city hall asked the book’s creators to create a series of images for an outdoor exhibition which would make use of signage in the Champs-Elysées, Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Barbès areas of the city.

My Little Paris is a phenomenally popular site that reveals the hippest boutiques, bars, restaurants and special events in Paris to its subscribers. The idea started in 2008 as an email from Fany Péchiodat to her friends, commenting on her finds, and illustrated by Tama-Art graduate Kuno.

Today My Little Paris has over one million subscribers, 50 full-time employees, and has published three books, the most recent being Les Parisiens – Ce qu’ils disent, ce qu’ils font, ce qu’ils pensent (Parisians – what they say, what they do, what they think), by site co-founder and copywriter Amandine Péchiodat and illustrated by Kuno.

On seeing the book, the Mairie de Paris (Paris City Hall) contacted the website with the idea of staging an outdoor exhibition which warmly celebrated and poked a little fun at Parisian life.

My Little Paris also opened the project up to its subscribers, asking them to suggest moments that illustrated the typical Parisian. They received 500 emails.

There was no fee for the project; instead, the Mairie provided access to unique sites in Paris – with Les Dîners Volants (Flying Dinners) offered up as prizes for My Little Paris subscribers.

Says Amandine: “In Paris, we live on top of each other, so naturally we start to resemble each other. Our illustrations aren’t intended to be cruel or cynical, instead, they give Parisians the chance to do what we do best – to laugh at ourselves.

“I see people pause in front of our posters, read the caption, maybe explain it to their kids, and walk away smiling. That’s what we wanted, to bring joy back to the street.”

By popular demand, the exhibition will be extended from September 12 to October 3 around the Hôtel de Ville. There’s no question of a Parisian missing out just because s/he’s on holiday for the whole of August.

More at lesparisiens.paris.fr. A teaser video for the project is here.

Illustrator Kanako Kuno and My Little Paris’ Amandine Pechiodat

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