Love Street Art? These are the World’s Best Cities to See It
Bombing Science, the website which celebrates and chronicles street art all over the world, is out with their 99 best destinations for graffiti and street art. In compiling their list, Bombing Science consulted Instagram and counted the number of times people in each location tagged their shots #graffiti. Heres where you can find some of the world’s best street art.
New York City appropriately ranked #1. The city’s graffiti artists are legendary, with many having started by tagging grey subway trains in the 1970s. The era was one of the inspirations behind the short-lived Netflix series, The Get Down, which used classic art by Crash and Daze. (Maybe the TV show should’ve just been about street art). Today, Instagrammers are enjoying politically-charged art like the murals painted by Iranian brothers Icy and Sot, who have been using stencils to make statements about human rights, social justice and other issues, frequently around Long Island City, Queens.
There has been quite a renaissance in Los Angeles mural art over the last decade and now it has been recognized by citizens and visitors to LA, which came in at number 6 on the list. The colorful Venice Art Walls make an already lively area that much more interesting. Los Angeles’ greatest murals are at once in tension with and celebration of the city’s entertainment industry.
In Canada, Toronto was ranked 12th overall. Toronto is home to an incredible number diverse cultures, and that shows in the diversity of its art. It’s also home to Brian Leitch, better known as KWEST, a multimedia artist and graffiti sculptor who once made the largest graffiti sculpture in the world. Toronto is unusually welcoming to contemporary art, hosting a one night, annual, city-wide celebration where artists are invited to transform the city from dusk to dawn.
Montreal was ranked just behind Toronto at 13th overall. Montreal is best known for hosting the longest-running graffiti arts festival in the world, Under Pressure. The city also once challenged the local painters to spray-paint whatever they wanted, with the winners received pay for their artistic creations. This resulted in some exciting graffiti, even in the city’s Old Town.
London ranked #2 overall on the list. Home of celebrated artist Banksy, London is a great place for international graffiti artists to write. Stockwell Park Estate, home of “the Pen,”, East London’s Brick Lane area, and the Trellick Tower area were cited by Instagram users as home to some of the area’s best art.
Paris, ranking at #3, is home to many talented artists, especially the artists on Rue de L’Ourcq on the 19th arrondissement. Their works are eclectic, whimsical, and colorful, as this mural featuring African cats by Mosko et associates aptly demonstrates.
São Paulo, Brazil landed in the top 10, at number 4. In a city of 12 million people, graffiti is a shared experience, as everyone enjoys the colors coating the walls that line 23 de Maio. Bogota, Colombia surprisingly snagged the #7 spot. The Colombian capital city changed the game several years ago by inviting graffiti artists to paint the entire city. This permissive culture caused several graffiti artists to resettle in Bogota and completely transformed the city.
Graffiti exists in every corner of the globe. Dubai, at #92, exists at a curious crossroads of culture: permissive toward westerners and visitors, but restrictive toward the natives who live in the UAE. That includes laws banning graffiti and punishing it extensively. However, recently Dubai has invited graffiti artists to paint and sculpt in carefully set aside areas, with the result of breaking the Guinness world record for hosting the longest graffiti scroll in the world.
True to graffiti’s roots, artists in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia are breaking the law when they tattoo the walls. However, there are plenty of exciting visual artists who think it’s worth the risk, making the KL the 98th best city in the world to view street art. Instagrammers love to capture shots along the Klang river bank as its arches brim with walls commentating on current events.
If you want to enjoy some of the best street art in the world, be sure you stop by these spots!