Caution: risque content ahead
Back on June 22, 2020 I posted a piece about Jim Bachor, who fills in Chicago’s potholes with colourful mosaics. That posted can be found by clicking on:
Some of Jim Bachor’s works:
I recently became aware of Jim Bachor’s French equivalent, an artist who goes by the tag Ememem in his city of Lyons and who is more commonly known as “the pavement surgeon.”
According to Emenem, his footpath, road and façade repairs are “a poem that everybody can read.”
He has been at it since 2016 and his works are lovely to look at, often times suggesting a piece from a bygone day, age and structure. These days he fills holes everywhere in France, not just Lyon. “It’s a succession of a lot of places and reflections, experiments I did before. I had done similar things, with other techniques, other supports, and finally, when this one emerged, I knew I found something that I was going to keep doing for the rest of my life,” he says.
Before and after
Before and after
Bonus Item #1:
German street artist Jan Vormann carries out repairs all over the world using not tiles but Lego bricks.
Vormann’s creative, colorful repairs are called Dispatchwork by him and he psosts images on his website.
I must be honest, I am not a fan of the Lego repairs and I find it intrusive in the older walls and buildings, much as I don’t like to see yarn bombing on trees.
Bonus item #2:
Back in 2012, complaints to the authorities the pockmarked streets of Yekaterinburg in Russia, fell on deaf ears. Local blog URA.RU turned to ad agency Voskhod to create a campaign whereby under the cover of night they painted the faces of local politicians around the most unsightly potholes and shamed them into action.
According to Ads of the World:
Quality of roads is the eternal problem of Yekaterinburg – the fourth largest city of Russia. The local site URA.RU, which writes about life in the city, decided to remind politicians that it is their duty to repair the roads. The problem is – our politicians don’t care about potholes. Their only worry is their own public image. We associated road holes with the images of certain politicians. In the night, on three potholes in city center, we drew faces of the governor, the mayor and the vice-mayor. The news about caricatures became a sensation. With this intense PR the politicians were no longer able to sit idle. The holes were fixed. The news about the action was released in more than 300 media venues, the website traffic on URA.ru doubled. The officials at last started to do their jobs.
Bonus Item #3:
In 2015, an anonymous UK person who goes by the name Wanksy started spray painting giant penises around potholes as a means of prodding Manchester Council to repair them. This was based on the rationale that potholes take ages to get fixed whereas rude graffiti gets attended to quite quickly.
According to Wanksy, "The roads of Manchester are in an appalling state... I have cyclist friends who have been hospitalized. They damage vehicles. Sometimes it's hard to know which pothole caused the damage because there are so many."
Within 48 hours, potholes began to be repaired, sometimes with the original artworkd still showing.
"Been there 8 months at least. A bit of art and they are filled in 48 hours,' wrote Wanksy.
However, the attention may now no longer be working. According to Wanksy “They don't always get filled, in fact, I think the council maybe deliberately not filling them in now."
A Manchester Council spokesman told the BBC that this type of art will not impact scheduled road work. "We understand and accept that residents are unhappy with the number of potholes in the borough, and we have a programme of scheduled works to fix them," he said. "Painting obscenities around potholes will not get them repaired any quicker."
The same tactic was adopted in Kansas City in the US in 2019:
I have no information on whether it worked.