I have been living in Berlin for a month now and one of my favorite aspects about the city is the street art. There is always something new going up, or you go down a new street and a giant mural pops out at you so it feels like the city is constantly changing. Some of my favorite cities throughout the world have had amazing street art, bring the cities alive. I think it is such an individual way to brighten a dreary street and show cases the talent within the city. Here are some of the top Street Art cities in the world and also some of my favorites.
Pretty obvious I would start here no? Like I said before, Berlin Street Art is continuously pulling out surprises with new art appearing and also discovering old, in more hidden locations. Berlin is a popular destination for artists to move to. So many people I meet here, when I ask them what they do, it’s always “oh I’m an artist” or “I’m a designer”. Hey I can’t complain, I’m a designer by trade to and I headed to Berlin, it’s a magnet I tell you! Street art is a way of expressing opinions to a vast audience and for artists; street art can be a great way to build up name recognition. Also there is The East Side Gallery, which is a section of the Berlin Wall which has been covered in art but several arts and was restored to its former glory in 2009.
There is something awfully special about this city. I love it. It is home to some of the best designers I have come across and such vibrant happy people fill the streets! Walking around Reykjavik for the first time I was caught off guard by the creativeness of the street art and murals. They are also loved by the locals so they are kept in good condition, so travellers can enjoy them for years to come. Please street artists of Reykjavik, create some more wonderful art to colour your city!
New York would have to have the title, ‘Father to Street Art”. Through the years as popular art developed and changed, so did the mediums used for the Street Art seen in New York. Today in New York you can see art created from everything from stencils and wheatpastes to clay imprints and spray paint. Like Berlin, the suburbs with the high numbers of artists tend to have a higher volume of art pieces on the streets. Famous artists like Banksy, Swoon and Shepard Fairey have all showcased throughout New York in some point of time, raising the level to the high quality it is today.
In the past years Melbourne has earned itself the title of “Stencil art Capital of the World”. In small alleyways and side streets, walls have come alive with political and innovative art, reminding the viewers that street art is more than just random markings. It is a way of self-expression and blank boring walls make the perfect canvas. Vexta and Ha-ha are well known throughout the city as great influential artists, pushing the boundaries with their art. Crate Man is famous throughout Australia. Who makes them is a mystery, but as a person who has been known to build giant cardboard robots and stick them to friends bedroom walls, I think the Crate Men of Australia are just great.
Ok, maybe not up and coming, on the edge of cool street art but I will be the first to say I love the art murals found throughout Brussels. You can even nab yourself a map with all the murals highlighted and spend days navigating the streets, linking all the murals together. Famous comic strip, Tin Tin was written by Belgium author, Hergé and Belgians are very proud of these books. So it is no surprise you see his face often and also faithful little Snowy trotting along beside him. The murals are all designed in old comic book style illustrations and are mainly painted.
São Paulo is the mixing pot for artists from around the world. They head to South America’s most populated city to collaborate together in giant murals. One of my favourite artists who I first saw in Lisbon last year is from São Paulo is the duo identical twin brother team, Os Gêmeos. I just love the style of their characters and the colour palette they commonly use. They are influenced by traditional hip hop style and also the Brazilian Pixação, which is a form of graffiti native to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. On my first day exploring Berlin, I came across a giant Os Gêmeos piece in Kreuzberg, which is of course awesome and one of my Berlin favourites. Another São Paulo artist I love, love, love is Calma. In 2008 he moved to a small town in Brazil called Lençóis where he had the idea to paint a whole town with his art. I went to Lençóis in 2009 and saw some of his amazing art that is influenced by culture, history, religion and the people of Lençóis.
Tehran is a city where life is a bit harder for the average street artist. But that is the aspect that makes Tehran artists great. They have more to lose if they are caught in the process of making their art on public property than other countries, with tough penalties, but are still determined to showcase their right for self-expression.
London seems to me as one city that is starting to really embrace their street art and protect it from being lost. The famous street artist Banksy has been stencilling London for years, with the city now recognising his creative talent and setting up means to protect and preserve some of his existing works. I’m not sure if this is the point of street art though, isn’t it meant to be temporary and continually change with world events and views?
I dub thee “The unexpected street art gem”. I went to Napoli expecting amazing pizza, mafia hits and beautiful scenery. I got all three (well missed the mafia hit by a day, but saw the spot where it happened) and was pleasantly surprised buy the clever street art which crossed my path. Hidden down side streets or covering the front side of an abandoned house, just like the city, you never know what you will see and what awaits you around the next corner. The relaxed way of life means that the art work stays around a long time, only being removed when another artist paints over top. Napoli is filled with huge amounts of character and culture that the colourful street art reflects upon and adds to.
Well those photos turned out to be harder to put up that first expected but I struggled not to add more awesome artwork shots. Would love to know of any other cities you think are great, especially the ones like Napoli which aren’t famously known. I want to know about those hidden gems! So please let me know!