Note: Scroll down to the bottom for my street art album!
When you think about what makes a city unique, what is the first thing you think of? Is it the crowd of people? Perhaps the local dishes? For me it’s all these things, but before everything, it is the art. From the eloquent architecture and grandiose facades to wall murals and historical statues…even the local painter selling his 9×12 charcoal drawings of the city streets. This is what makes adventure fascinating. And this is where travel and art collide.
Wander through Lisbon and you will immediately know where you are by the art. It is the very fingerprint of the city! The urban, imaginative style here is unique and dreamlike in contrast to, let’s say, Berlin, where the graffiti arts are strong and symbolize the free thinking and future ideals of German artists. Through the art, we can see the past, present, and future of where the people are going.
Without further ado, here are 5 Street Artists for Your Travel Agenda. Check out these talented visionaries and add their work to your travel itinerary.
The London Police
The city of over 1000 canals and even more bicycles. Look for the street art and you’ll find it. Or you can wander your way to the world’s largest street art museum to see the collections and visit the spots. I also recommend visiting MOMA. Located behind the Rijks Museum. MOMA is a smaller hideout which dedicates its space to all things Dali and Banksy.
As far s the city streets go, artists from all over the world congregate in Amsterdam, such as Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra, who is responsible for the vivid display of the face of Ann Frank. It’s a whopping 240 square meters. As far Dutch artists go, The London Police and the black and white sky high art seen throughout the city takes authority. Scroll below for a peek. The grey-scale and playful composition is unmistakable.
Okuda San Miguel
Where do I begin? After living in this city less than a year ago, I have come to see some pretty progressive graffiti art in barrios such as Chueca, Lavapies, and Malasana to name few. Before settling into a 100 Montiditos bar stool or corner café to pass the siesta with sangria, try a street art tour. Lean on this crew to find out who is who and where to go.
It is completely impossible to name only one artist in this town, but I noticed a pattern as I saw this particular visionary spread his work from Spain to the USA: Okuda San Miguel. He has made his mark through murals, sculptures, paintings, you name it. And they all appear 3-D and super bright.
I recently stumbled upon his work in Miami as well, but this artist has been all over the world. I recommended you see his work in person. Put Okuda down in the agenda.
I will admit, I have yet to take a full bite out of this city, but if Wynwood Wall located in the (fittingly enough) Wynwood section of Miami, is a small taste, then this must be a street artists’ paradise. As stated earlier, the work of Okuda San Miguel is also found here, both on the streets, and inside the gallery. It cannot be missed. Literally.
Another artist who keeps the heartbeat of graffiti art beating in Miami is Maya Hayuk . Though not originally from the city, her abstract interpretation on walls and canvas lets her viewers slide through the kaleidoscope of her imagination. She takes linear lines and depth perception to a whole new level. Using spray paint like a paint brush, her work highlights the city of Miami. Even Starbucks once used her work as inspiration (albeit “crossing some lines” while doing so). Note to reader: Her work also splashes the facades of cities like London and New York.
Porto & Lisbon
The life of both Porto and Lisbon breathes through the street art. These are two cities which push the boundaries in distinct ways, using still standing telephone booths, bookstore facades and alleyway passages. Examples can be seen down below as well.
Political undertones and Portuguese cultural inspiration ooze through much of the graffiti work. It’s difficult to pick just one artist, but Bordalo II stands out using creative recycled material to tell a message. After viewing the world through this artist’s colorful point of view, you wonder if you’ve been viewing everything in black and white. Viewers question social norms, traditional politics, and conventional standards- taking you off guard is his goal. Question everything. And enjoy the ride.
To see additional Portuguese art is Lisbon in a more traditional manner, head into Museu Coleção Berardo, a relatively new museum that seeks to merge culture and art while involving the public in a very deliberate way.
The “street art museum culture” is moving forward with no signs of slowing down. Even when economic situations rise and fall, artists find new ways to create- whether they be spray painted or cardboard assimilation. The creative juices in today’s world don’t quit. And neither does Agostino Iacurci. When you see work by this artist, you will think big…really big. And geometric. Iacuri uses select color palettes and solid colors with lots of saturation; his talent has been noticed by Adidas, Urban Outfitters, Penguin Books, and dozens more. When this artist’s eye fits the bill, brands who collaborate are taking a smart step forward.
After visiting and viewing the magnificent works by the godfathers of art, their ceiling murals and the cascading sculptures mimicking mythology, don’t forget to stop and smell the fresher paint by today’s artists. Rome’s most popular graffiti tour by M.U.R.O. should satisfy your artistic appetite.
I’m just going to jump right in. Below are examples of street art both in the EU and USA. These photos are my own travel tokens.