In Rio de Janeiro, street art can be found everywhere from the walls of the favelas to buildings in upper class neighborhoods. The graffiti and artwork are both bold and diverse. The ever-evolving Brazilian street art scene was further fostered by a law that was passed in 2009 that decriminalized graffiti. Like many other cities around world, street art in Brazil is completely legal if done with the consent of the owner. Continue reading
The famous Lennon Wall in Prague was named after and inspired by John Lennon and the Beatles. The youths of Eastern Europe were moved by Lennon’s western songs praising freedom, something that did not exist in communist Czech Republic. These pop songs were banned by authorities and embraced by young activists. When John Lennon was murdered in 1980, he became a hero to the pacifists. An ordinary wall was turned into a makeshift memorial to the man that was admired by many for his fight for equality, peace, and freedom.
With its unique history, Berlin is a city like no other. A broke metropolis at the end of the First World War, Berlin began to thrive in the Twenties leading the way in avant-garde art, music and literature. With Hitler’s rise to power, the city became the base for the Third Reich. After the Second World War, Berlin found itself occupied by the Allies and embroiled in the Cold War. The city was further divided with the erection of the Berlin Wall that cut it through its heart. From a crumbling city after the Cold War, Berlin rose from its ashes as the Wall fell in 1989. The iconic images of Berliners celebrating the reunification are famous around the world representing the dawn of a new era for Germany. Continue reading
Art critic Emilie Trice has called Berlin “the graffiti Mecca of the urban art world.” In addition to the artwork of the East Side Gallery, Berlin is rich with lots of beautiful street art throughout the city. Everywhere you look—from the walls of buildings, to doorways and even garbage cans—you’ll find murals, stencils, paste-ups, and many other artistic experiments staring back at you. The colorful public art helps to brighten the cityscape and inspires Berliners and visitors. Evolving trends result in an evolving art scene.
I love street art. So when I was in Berlin, I couldn’t pass up a chance to explore the stirring art of East Side Gallery that has come to represent Germany’s turbulent history between East and West. This large open-air gallery is an international symbol of freedom. It is the longest remaining part of the Berlin Wall at 1.3 km long and located along the banks of the river Spree in Friedrichshain borough. After the Wall was brought down in 1989, artists came from around the world to transform the gray barriers into 105 paintings, each a testimony to victory of the human spirit. Continue reading
This past June, Fausto went to the annual Society of Actuaries Health meeting in Atlanta and I tagged along. While there, I had a chance to explore the city’s small but growing street art scene. Atlanta has hosted the annual street art conference called Living Walls, The City Speaks, where artists from all over the world are invited to create street art. The large murals are often painted directly on the side of the buildings throughout the city, with permission from the owners of course.
Unlike Sydney, Melbourne has fully embraced street art and it is very much a part of the city’s personality. Melbourne is recognized as one of the leading street art capitals of the world, with it being an attraction for locals and visitors wanting to experience the city’s creative expression. The city understands the importance of public art and how its art contributes to the vibrancy of urban culture. The many mediums of street art include stencils, paste-ups and murals but not tagging which is considered vandalism and is illegal. The artwork in Melbourne is very progressive, in fact was early to embrace stencil art and is now considered the “stencil capital of the world”.
Sydney, like many other great cities around the world, has some incredible street art. The difference between Sidney and other cities is that they have a strict policy against graffiti. For the past decade, the city has continually inspected “hotspots”and removed many great murals as they get made. The government has a zero tolerance for street artists, and it is against to law for anyone to sell spray paint to a minor. It’s also against to the law for a minor to have any graffiti tool in their possession, and violators will be fined heavily. The stakes are high for these artists who wander the Sydney streets at night armed with spray cans, wanting to express themselves. Continue reading
Graffiti Alley in Toronto
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile (thanks for following!), you’ll see me periodically post pictures of graffiti art. I’ve always liked art, but my love affair with street art didn’t start until I moved to New York. To me, urban art is unexpected and sometimes quite beautiful. On my short trip to Toronto, I made it a point to visit the widely known Graffiti Alley in the hip Queens Street West neighborhood. In Toronto, programs such as Street ART Toronto encourage and promote street arts as a way to add character and pizzazz to the neighborhood. Continue reading