My story on street art has just been published at National Geographic Travel: 7 Cities to See Powerful Street Art
Given a limit of seven places and the intent of geographical diversity, many deserving cities could not make the cut. So here are a few more favourites.
Boda Bar, Leith
At Condé Nast Traveler, I wrote about one of my favourite areas in Edinburgh: Leith.
Leith never used to be so cool; in fact it was a pretty bad neighbourhood when I lived in Edinburgh, just a few years after Trainspotting, which was set there, was made into a movie.
Now, the area is filled with hip bars (like Boda Bar above) and shops and is home to some really interesting festivals, particularly the arts festival LeithLate. One of LeithLate’s initiatives is the Shutter Project and Mural Project, which brings street artists to the area to paint shop shutters and other vacant spaces. This mural below was one of my favourites. Painted by Guido van Helten, it depicts one of the last surviving members of the 1915 Quintinshill rail disaster in his old age. 200 men lost their lives in the disaster — the worst rail crash in the United Kingdom. Most of them were soldiers from the Leith Battalion heading to Gallipoli.
Guido van Helten, Leith
There are murals throughout the neighbourhood, including this one by Skint Richie on the shutter of Origano. But to see them, you need to get there early, before the shops open for business and the shutters go up.
Skint Richie, Leith
Read more about Leith at Condé Nast Traveler.
I went (back) to Puerto Rico last month and saw some amazing street art, primarily around the Santurce area. As well as beautiful art works, these pieces were really striking for their thought-provoking takes on such themes as imperialism, capitalism.
Though not quite the city of The Wire fame, Baltimore has its rough edges and character that is expressed beautifully through its vibrant street art scene. In the few hours I had spare during my weekend trip to Baltimore, I got a very small but sweet taste of Baltimore’s street art scene. (I am clueless about the pieces, so if anyone knows the names of the artists, let me know).