You don’t always have to queue up before an art gallery to appreciate thought-provoking creations. Some cities are open-air galleries where you just have to keep your eyes open to witness a work of art. If the graffiti of the New York subway are the trendsetters, the street art in other cities are the torchbearers of this legacy. Be it the language of amity or the expression of unity, the spray-painted graffiti, street installations, and stencil work are saying it all through patterns, shapes, and silhouettes.
Let’s explore the top 6 cities across the world that have made their mark in urban art.
#1. Melbourne, Australia
Don’t form an opinion about Melbourne by looking at its Victorian architecture alone. You have to visit the alleys and unassuming corners of the second largest city of Australia and explore the hidden artworks before you can tell yourself that it’s a ‘Marvelous Melbourne.’ The walls of Hosier Lane and Rutledge Lane in central Melbourne have been donning different themes and paintings since the 90s. These walls are still inspiring a new generation of street artists to create without any inhibition. Places around Collins Street, Flinders Lane, and Bourke Street Mall also have enough surprises in store for art connoisseurs.
#2. Berlin, Germany
Berlin may be the ‘City of Museums’, but there’s a significant quantum of art to be explored outdoors. Kreuzberg, a trendy district of Berlin, is hard to ignore because it has the iconic Spaceman embellished all over the wall. It is considered the biggest stencil work in the world. Drip paint installations of Jimmy C also contribute to genuine works of art across Berlin. Ever since the graffiti artists started arriving in Berlin with spray cans and stencils in the late 70s, the city has grown colorful and vivid.
#3. Cape Town, South Africa
Murals have a special place in the heart of Capetowners. In this city of contrasts, where swanky towers and wobbly townships co-exist, art is “as common as the wind.” Bubbles on damp walls and peeling layers of paints are artistically hidden by graffiti. From the suburb of Woodstock to Searl Street Park, colors create a riot across the city. While some paintings reflect history, others remove “the greyness from the soul of the city.”
#4. Sao Paulo, Brazil
If you spot Albert Einstein riding a bicycle on the streets of Sao Paulo, don’t be baffled. Be amused, instead. It has been long since the graffiti artists have made this Brazilian metropolis their favorite haunt. The hilly streets of Vila Madalena is every bit an open-air art gallery where artists turn the walls into canvases that seem to make political, social, and cultural commentaries. An entire neighborhood, known for its dense concentration of graffiti, is named after a comic character, Batman. Beco do Batman is now a popular tourist destination.
#5. Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles not only has a weather to die for, but also has an artistic flair that’s both subtle and suggestive. From murals on Civil Rights to all-so-elegant Audrey Hepburn, you encounter painted walls at sudden turns and broad alleys. A city that leads a king-size life, rises beyond the daily rigmarole and paints itself in different thoughts. The Arts District in downtown Los Angeles is the place to stop for a while and wonder. The Great Wall of Los Angeles on Coldwater Canyon Ave, regarded as one of the longest murals in the world, might find you staring at it in admiration.
#6. Lisbon, Portugal
The graffiti-covered yellow trams of Lisbon are a constant reminder that an equally beautiful street art is lurking somewhere around you. Come to Fontes Pereira de Melo Avenue to see a series of buildings flaunting their art. To see the real prowess of Portugal’s street artists, come to Amoreiras, a quieter neighborhood in Lisbon. Whether you row over to Almada to see the waterfront with painted walls or discover the trackside graffiti during a train ride to the castles in Sintra, places around Lisbon also ensure that you are always on your toes.
Published On: Friday, November 6th, 2015