The most impressive street murals around the world
Once illegal in many places, graffiti is now a respected art form practised worldwide and tourists flock to cities that are renowned for their street art. Here are 20 murals that are particularly impressive.
Dmitri Vrubel, “My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love” – Berlin, Germany
This political mural depicts a 1979 photograph where Leonid Brezhnev, the General Secretary of the Soviet Union, and Erich Honecker, the General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of the German Democratic Republic, share a socialist fraternal kiss.
It is located on the eastern side of the Berlin Wall and has become an emblem of the city.
Banksy, “Girl with Balloon” – London, UK
Arguably one of the most famous murals in recent years, Banksy’s Girl with Balloon was first painted on Waterloo Bridge in 2002, and other similar murals were also painted around London, although none remain today. In fact, in 2018, a framed copy of the painting spontaneously shredded while it was being auctioned, thanks to a mechanical device that the artist had hidden in the frame.
ChemiS, “House of Cards” – San Nicolas, Aruba
Painted as part of the Aruba Art Fair, ChemiS’s House of Cards takes up the whole façade of the Winter Garden bar restaurant and nightclub. Its trompe l’œil effect is really impressive!
Hosier Lane – Melbourne, Australia
Perhaps one of the most famous street art locations in the world, Hosier Lane in Melbourne is essentially an open canvas, meaning that any artist can go and add to the murals. The result is an impressive mishmash of different styles. You can get lost in this eclectic lane and revisit many times, having a completely different experience each time.
Belfast Murals – Belfast, Ireland
Northern Ireland has a complicated and tumultuous political and religious history and the Belfast Murals depict this, highlighting important moments and people of the last 40 years. One of the best ways to visit is with a black cab tour, to admire the works of art and learn about the local history.
Petit Champlain Murals – Old Quebec, Canada
Old Quebec is known for its beauty, and the Petit Champlain trompe l’œil murals are no exception. The area between this neighbourhood and Parliament Hill is home to remarkable works of art, including Fresque du Petit-Champlain.
Louis Gan, “Brother and sister having fun on the swing” – George Town, Malaysia
George Town is known for its street art (amongst many other things, of course) and this mural, Brother and sister having fun on the swing, is probably one of the city’s most photographed, because passersby can include themselves in the art!
El Mac and Gene Pendon, “Leonard Cohen” – Montreal, Canada
Montreal is a city renowned for its street art and holds the annual Mural street art festival. In recent years, two gigantic murals honouring the late Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist Leonard Cohen have sprung up on building façades. The most impressive one is located on Crescent Street and can be admired from the city’s Kondiaronk belvedere.
Tristan Eaton, “Audrey of Mulberry” – New York, USA
Painted in 2013 for the Little Italy Street Project and the Little Italy Merchants Association, Audrey of Mulberry is located at the corner of Broome & Mulberry at the entrance of Little Italy and depicts a black-and-white Audrey Hepburn with patterns of abstract colour.
Comic Book Route – Brussels, Belgium
In 1991, the City of Brussels authorities and the Belgian Comic Strip Center undertook the project of creating a comic strip route in the city of Brussels, covering up plain walls. The project has since grown to over 50 murals.
Patrick Commecy, multiple murals – France
Patrick Commecy and his team, under the name A.Fresco, have painted over 300 trompe l’œil murals to beautify existing buildings. Each piece is custom to the building it is located on to make sure that it fits the décor and story of the place. This one is “Levallois en fleurs.”
Wynwood Walls – Miami, USA
Once a neglected manufacturing neighbourhood, the Wynwood Arts District in Miami is now the heart of the city’s art and design scene. The Wynwood Walls are known worldwide as a colourful outdoor art gallery where artists constantly refresh the murals to make for a new exhibition.
Guido van Helten, “No Exit” – Reykjavik, Iceland
These beautiful black-and-white murals are based on Andrés Kolbeinsson’s photographs of a local production of the Jean-Paul Sartre play “No Exit” in the 1960s. They are located on the Loftkastalinn building, a former theatre space in Reykjavik, Iceland and were pained in the winter of 2013-14.
Keith Haring, “We the Youth” – Philadelphia, USA
Created in 1987 in collaboration with the CityKids Foundation and restored in 2013, We the Youth is the only Keith Haring mural that remains intact in its original site. The mural was painted to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the United States Constitution and is a play on the phrase “We the people.”
The mural is located at 22nd and Ellsworth Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
POW! WOW! Long Beach murals – Long Beach, USA
Just like the Montreal mural festival mentioned above, POW! WOW! Long Beach is a city-wide street art event that aims to create a public art experience for locals and visitors alike. Since 2015, dozens and dozens of murals have beautified the California city.
This piece, by artist Dina Saadi, was painted in 2019.
Lonac, “Nitpicking” – Rijeka, Croatia
Croatian artist Lonac created this photorealistic mural of a man (his father) focused on the model of a ship for the MMSU Rijeka Spajalica public art project. He used around 100 cans of spray paint with some 50 different colour tones and worked seven days to create this piece.
Millo, “Everyone Is Searching for It” – Milan, Italy
Painted in 2015 and depicting a man searching for love in the big city using a fortune stick and a woman hopefully catapulting her heart, Millo’s Everyone Is Searching for It is a great example of the artist’s signature style.
Multiple artists – Incheon, South Korea
Incheon’s mural, painted over silos, is the largest outdoor mural in the world, according to Guinness World Records. The mural resembles a set of 16 books and shows the story of a boy growing into an adult.
Muralis – Sherbrooke, Canada
The thing that makes Sherbrooke’s murals special is that Easter eggs are hidden in all of the paintings. Visitors to this city in Quebec are invited to try and find them thanks to an app—which also makes the murals come alive!
Artist unknown, “I love you so much” – Austin, USA
Perhaps not an impressive street mural per se, this phrase, graffitied on the side of Jo’s Coffee on South Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas, has become one of the most famous pieces of street art in the world and an attraction in its own right. Apparently, the owners of the coffee shop, who are a couple, got into a fight and one of them painted this love declaration on the side of the building.
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