Street Art, a Love Story
One of my favorite posts I’ve done was this one on the street art of Montevideo, Uruguay. I focus mainly on urban travel (with a slice of beach), but not every city has such fantastic pieces everywhere you look. Since I spent the last ten years living in Philadelphia, a city with a phenomenal street art scene, I get delighted when I see good work.
Street art can come in many forms: commissioned murals, graffiti, posters, installations, stickers, stencils, sculptures. Basically it can be any media that fills up the public spaces of a city with vibrancy and life.
When you photograph street art in a city, you start to see themes, patterns, signatures that show there’s one collective or one artist behind several across the space you’ve covered. It’s exhilarating. Some of my favorite connections with people who I’ve made have been from sharing the street art I appreciate on Instagram and getting feedback from the artists or people who recognize them. It’s really rewarding to be able to send a street artist you admire your photograph of their work-giving back to the people who make urban spaces so rich.
The Street Art of Nicosia: Speaking out in a Divided City
I haven’t covered my time in Nicosia yet, but if you follow me on social media, you’ll have seen pictures and discussions about which Nicosia I am in. There is a UN buffer zone splitting northern Cyprus from the rest of the country. I’m still mulling the politics of all of it. Before you get here, guidebooks mention the separation, but mainly in a “how will it affect you, the tourist” way.
Being here, I see that how profoundly it affects the people of Cyprus and yet, how in how many ways it doesn’t. Some of my favorite pieces here deal with the divide in either a direct or abstract way. And beyond that, the act of claiming a public space as your own for artistic expression, in a city with guards and checkpoints and passport controls is a heady thing. Life here is like everywhere else, but at the same time you can look up at the mountains and see a giant flag of the self-declared Northern Cyprus staring down at you.
My Favorite Pieces:
When I pulled my photos to make this, I had over a hundred different examples that I liked. Here are my favorite of my favorites, trying to mix up styles, media, parts of the city, etc.
- For more examples of street art in Cyprus, check out this awesome website on Street Art in Cyprus. It’s *mostly* in Greek, but you can go through lots of cool examples (I didn’t see any duplicates) without needing to read Greek.
- My Cyprus Insider has a post on Must See works around the island. Again, I didn’t spot any duplicates, so definitely check it out if you want more.
- Wild Junket has another collection, and these all seem different than my examples and the ones on the above websites. I’m telling you, there is so much street art for such a small island.
- Finally, here’s an reader letter in the Cyprus Mail about a Nicosian street artist named SYD whose work focuses on tearing down the border in the city. He’s also tagged in London, and his work has won acclaim there.
What’s your favorite city for street art?