GREAT STREET ART CITIES
Urban art is making its mark around the world
The largest and most controversial canvas in the world was undoubtedly the Berlin Wall upon which graffiti art began appearing in the 1980s when the wall was raised to 4.2m. Artists from around the world flocked to West Berlin to tag the Wall, while the forbidden East Berlin side remained blank. While almost the entire Wall has been removed, visitors can still view segments at Potsdamer Platz, the East Side Gallery, and Bernauer Strasse. Best precincts for spotting graffiti art include Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Mitte. This September, Berlin will open a street art/urban art museum called Urban Nation aimed at showcasing urban contemporary art. Join Alternative Berlin Tours, which offer street art tours plus workshops.
Canada’s most multicultural city is also home to the most established street art in the country. And you don’t have to wander far from downtown to find it. Sprouting a name like Graffiti Alley, there’s plenty of urban art to enjoy in this compact kilometre of colour. Some attribute the explosion of graffiti art to the calibre of creatives who are drawn to Toronto. Even Britain’s secret scribbler Banksy has contributed to a few pieces on buildings around town here. Also check out Kensington Market, Ossington and Chinatown. Take a free walking tour of the main graffiti hot spots with the Tour Guys or a street art and street food tour with Foodies on Foot.
Boasting more major murals than anywhere else in the southern hemisphere, Christchurch’s street art story is a ruins-to-riches tale. In 2011, an earthquake devastated much of this New Zealand city, but it is now emerging as a global street art leader. Expat Englishman George Shaw, who owns one of the largest collections of works by Britain’s Banksy, curated a major exhibition featuring international street artists in 2015/16 and the city is now home to almost 50 major murals. Check out the Canterbury Development Corporation Building here. Also visit The Auricle at 35 New Regent St, Australasia’s only sound art gallery, which combines sound, movement and light. Watch This Space: Christchurch Street Art, is a new interactive map featuring a large selection of urban art.
Mention Melbourne and street art immediately springs to mind as this is Australia’s capital of cool. With its labyrinth of laneways, streets, facades and venues within one city block, you can experience a cacophony of colour. Even its acclaimed bars, restaurants and hotels are in on the scene, sporting multicoloured murals, art work, projections and sound. Check out the Rose Street Market with its everchanging wall designs. Other popular spots include Hosier and Rutledge lanes, Union Lane, Degraves St and Centre Place. Be sure to visit the controversial “bogan wall” along Fitzroy’s Brunswick St, which depicts an overweight man drinking beer and smoking. Join Melbourne Street Tours, the first and only one of their kind to be run by street artists in Australia.