The French Artist Behind The Viral Paris Peace Symbol

#PrayforParis has been a common sentiment on social media networks after several vicious attacks left 127 people dead in France's capital city. More than 8 million Twitter users have used this hashtag to convey outrage, disbelief, and grief over the senseless tragedy. When Jean Jullien, a French artist, posted a rugged drawing of the iconic peace symbol with an image of the Eiffel Tower as the center, he had no idea the massive impact it would have. Jullien posted the image with the simple caption, "Peace for Paris," on his personal Facebook and Twitter pages. The image spread quickly. More than 23,000 Facebook users have shared the photo and 45,000 Twitter users have retweeted it. It is also dominating Instagram.
The simple imagery and message resonates with so many who are coming to terms with what happened. Jullien didn't expect the response. However, he was determined to use his art as an outlet for his emotions. "Usually when I draw I make an image that will make people laugh, or communicate," Jullien told The Telegraph. "But this time I felt like communicating something that made me and everybody very upset. It was just my way of sharing my reaction, of sharing a need for peace and solidarity in the face of such a disaster."
Jullien's image may gain him prominence as an artist, but that's not his intention. "It wasn't a piece to promote myself, sell anything or get anything. It was meant to be used freely, to encourage peace in Paris and peace in general," Jullien explained. That's one of the reasons Jullien told The Telegraph he was nonchalant about his drawing being attributed to Banksy, a popular England-based street artist. When a Banksy fan account tweeted the image with the same caption as Jullien, thousands retweeted the photo and assumed the drawing was created by Banksy. "I didn't care. It's not the time to claim ownership, or a price on something. It's not a time for concerns like that," Jullien explained. Jullien's image is now an iconic representation of global solidarity with France, though he wishes that weren't the case. "I wish I could say it feels great, but given the circumstances I can't. I feel completely shocked, angry, and sad."

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