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The Mysterious Face of Paris

Words:

Edd Norval
June 22, 2018

John Hamon is the name and, well, nobody really knows much more than that. His face appears on posters all over Paris and have been for over 15 years. In a city with a reputation and history of artistic excellence - he's presenting the ultimate parody.

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Contemporary art takes a lot of stick. Many fat-cat buyers will purchase pieces based as much on the artists persona as for the art itself. John Hammon, whoever he is, seems to have noticed this and shown the world that artists can develop a reputation, despite not actually creating any 'art'.


Before the street art phenomenon emerged around a decade ago - his posters probably looked more like political propaganda or local election posters than anything else. His curly-haired and bespectacled face has made its way everywhere. It's something of a running joke in the city - but who exactly is the butt of it?

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Certainly the art world appears to be one of the intended targets of the joke. Hamon has made a name, he's become a well-known face associated with art - a true hero to the people, except no one really gets it. Should they laugh? Would they be laughing at themselves?


The resulting admission seems to be that 'yes, we may in fact be laughing at ourselves but it's still funny. This John Hammon fellow has managed to stick to it for 15 years - that's dedication. The least we can do is crack a smile. After all, we all love a good mystery.


With the exact same image that he had been wheatpasting, he turned it up a notch and started projecting them onto some of France's most iconic landmarks. Ignore me now, France. It goes a long way in showing the value of self-promotion. If you ever meet an artist that is known for their chameleonic ability at rubbing shoulders with the bigwigs - don't fret. John Hamon feels your anger. Simultaneously, don't feel bad when you see an extremely talented, yet shy, artist go unnoticed. John Hamon feels your pain. Whatever the situation - he's a great example to cite.


With his 145k followers on Instagram and his smirking face next to the line 'It is the promotion that makes the artist or the zero degree of art.' You wouldn't be the only curious one. But in a day and age that everything is public knowledge. This is a welcome enigma.


Check him out here: www.instagram.com/john_hamon

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