la joie de vivre

From California to Lyon, France: living & studying abroad…and coming back!

Lyonnaise Street Art

I’ll always remember these little guys as a symbol of Lyon:

They’re a design called “BirdyBrain” that came from the graffiti artist K’Nar. They are incredibly cute and unique to Lyon.

I guess he tagged the city with these cute little dudes, but then they got so popular that the city decided to incorporate his artwork into Lyon.

So now you can see it in skate parks and in some other places around the city, like a child’s play toy by Hotel de Ville. These birds were also the symbol of the most recent Street Day celebrating graffiti art.

Lyon (“Lee-on”) sounds like lion, so they commissioned him to create a little lion in the same style. So here’s the Lyonnaise Lion:

I got a kick out of this art because it’s very pleasant to see it around the city. It adds a lot of character, cuteness, and color. But have you heard of the broken windows theory (Wilson, J.Q., & Kelling, G.L., 1982)? It’s the theory that if there’s something that’s already wrong (e.g. a broken window or a graffiti mark), then it’s more likely that people will add to it (e.g. more broken windows, more graffiti).

It’s only one of the reasons why lots of graffiti, even really cool ones, get cleaned up.

But if they’re in sanctioned places, like these little dudes are now, I suppose it’s a different story!

Image credits: multiples (, lion (, green birdy brain graffiti (, kid’s toy (

For more reading on the broken glass theory, see Wilson, J. Q., & Kelling, G. L. (1982). Broken windows. Atlantic monthly, 249(3), 29-38.


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This entry was posted on June 10, 2012 by in General.
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