street art

Meet the Artists Literally Changing the Face of Medellín

The Editors

The trip takes travelers through the streets of Comunas 1 and 3—rarely seen by outsiders—with KGP’s artists as their guides. The tour spotlights the neighborhood’s graffiti and murals, and the guides share their own stories of growing up in Medellín amid its changing social fabric—and how art is playing a pivotal role in redefining their city, and their own futures. As Medellín designs a new identity, in large part thanks to the bold take of today’s youth on art and design, the geographically diverse and culturally rich nation of Colombia continues to evolve as a destination ripe for discovery.

Capturing the Graffiti and Street Art of Porto, Portugal

John David Rowley

The best way to discover Porto is on foot, allowing you to explore its many nooks and crannies, from steep staircases and laundry-festooned alleyways to huge, tree-lined avenues with monumental buildings and many churches. One thing you notice almost immediately is the graffiti. As with many southern European cities, graffiti is rampant. There is a lot of “tagging,” the modern equivalent of writing “Kilroy was here,” I suppose, but somehow not nearly as charming or attractive.

The Yarn Bombing Movement Hits the Streets

Nancy Lackey Shaffer

Yarn bombing, yarnstorming, knit graffiti, guerilla knitting, urban knitting—regardless of the name it goes by, the art form is unmistakable. Colorful knit and crocheted materials have been popping up in urban spaces all over the world, as tree cozies, pole warmers, statue scarves and numerous other decorations. Bicycles have been bound, cars covered and entire buildings blanketed with cleverly woven yarn pieces. And make no mistake: yarn bombing is a new type of street art, often full of as much intricacy and artistic expression as a work by Banksy or Retna. 

The Urban Art Movement Gains Momentum

Enzo Scavone

The movement has risen in popularity and sparked the interest of a broader public. But to those not active in the art scene, the term remains vague. In a first step to improve the understanding of urban art, one needs to look at where it originated: the movement started on the streets of urban environments where works were put up illegally, conveying messages the artists felt were otherwise not being heard by the masses. At this stage--when it can’t be sold or exhibited in a gallery--urban art is considered street art.

The Street Art Phenomenon Sweeps Paris

Carol Berens

About three short blocks from place Fréhel, an empty lot on rue Ramponeau is surrounded by a former factory that contains artist studios and is now known as La Forge or La Kommune. The surrounding walls are constantly changing canvases whose styles and images cacophonously overlap. Upon close viewing, however, individual talents and messages emerge. The “Belleville Zoo” consists of an overlapping montage of images each vying to be on top. At first, the wall appears to be a mass of color, but individual characters shine through.

In Chile, Street Artists Turn Drab Concrete into a Carnival of Color

Christopher Moraff

In Santiago -- a sprawling metropolis that is home to well over a third of Chile’s population -- barrios like Patronato, Lastarria, Quinta Normal, Santa Isabel -- and especially the bohemian quarter of Bellavista -- are internationally recognized centers of street art.  An hour-and-a-half away, the gritty port city of Valparaíso is equally renowned for its graf culture, its crumbling walls and narrow alleyways home to a thriving community of artists and crews. 

How Street Art Went Hollywood

Adam Chardis

Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Brooklyn-born painter who sold a piece for $14.6 million post-mortem started his career as a graffiti artist under the name, “SAMO.” This could be argued as the first modernistic conversion of basic graffiti into pop art, but is there even a significant difference? For more than 25 years, New York has been a hub for graffiti artists, so why is Los Angeles now declaring itself the street art capital of the world and, more importantly, why is no one challenging the claim?

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