Where to see famous street art
Cities are sometimes the best canvases. Here’s where to spot the world’s best (and most surprising) street art.
Some call it vandalism, but street art is gaining worldwide acceptance for its quirky and expressive images. Concrete jungles are being transformed into large storybooks, with thousands of murals popping up in urban cities almost overnight.
Max Zorn’s art has been sticking to the streets of Amsterdam since 2011. The fine artist uses packing tape to create intricate silhouettes of people and landscapes that are illuminated by the glow of street lamps at night. Disguised by a surgical mask, Zorn scales lampposts all over the world to unveil his latest works, created just hours before in his studio. Nothing sticks for too long; the artwork is often stolen by admirers. However, prints and original pieces can be purchased from Zorn’s website.
The art of not getting caught can be just as complicated as creating the artwork itself. British street artist Stik started painting playful murals after discovering that rendering just a few lines and dots was the quickest way to paint a human figure without getting caught. Cities worldwide now beg him to create graffiti works on their buildings and structures. One of his most recent murals, in New York’s Lower East Side, honors generations of immigrants who made the city their home. The mural took five days to complete and can be seen on the side of the Tenement Museum.
Graffiti often gets a bad reputation. It’s illegal, for one thing. But many skilled artists are transforming cities one can of spray paint at a time. Banksy, one of the world’s most famous and celebrated graffiti artists, pulls off some amazing stunts, such as creating three-story murals behind security fences. His works are thought-provoking and often controversial. While his dark take on a famous amusement park closed after just five weeks, admirers can hunt for the street artist’s murals in places such as London, New York City and San Francisco.
Don’t forget to look down when you’re on the hunt for public art. The sidewalks of Savannah, Georgia, spring to life each year during the Sidewalk Arts Festival. Local high school students, along with alumni and undergraduates from the Savannah College of Art and Design, create colorful chalk masterpieces, with more than 900 squares of sidewalk in Forsyth Park covered in art.
Seattle, known for its grey and gloomy skies, has a treat for tourists and locals who stick out the rain. Rainworks are hidden messages and images, made from a sort of invisible ink, that appear on sidewalks only when the concrete is wet. Local magician Peregrine Church has created about 30 magical messages around the Emerald City to give people a smile on a rainy day, and would-be artists can even purchase the special invisible spray to create hidden sidewalk art of their own.