Street art is one of the most intriguing artistic movements of our time, transforming cityscapes around the world into open air galleries. Regardless of where you go in the world today, it’s likely that you’ll come across street art in all its many forms. As city authorities (and businesses) have grasped the potential of street art, they have begun to harness its power to promote themselves as creative hubs, both for business and tourism.
It’s remarkable how many places I’ve visited that have building-sized street art. As all but the most repressive societies embrace it, a whole new cadre of artists has been very publicly introduced to the world. You’re now as likely to spot Belgian street art in Australia, as you are in the streets of Antwerp. The world has changed since the zero tolerance policies of 1990’s New York, when the tagging form of street art was Public Enemy No. 1.
Instead of being a casual and passive recipient of street art, I’ve started seeking it out. It helps that I live in Berlin, a true global crossroads for street art, but over 2019 I’ve encountered street art in the heart of Budapest’s old Jewish Quarter, scattered across fascinating neighbourhoods in Tbilisi, in hip downtown Amman, in the narrow streets of ancient Leon, in the Lutheran ‘capital’ of Wittenberg, and on apartment buildings in Warsaw.
Here’s a selection of my favourite pieces from 2019 and a happy New Year for 2020 …