While we don’t spend very much time in school learning
Not all artists are architects, and not all architects have emotional attachments to the cities their work is in. Street art virtuosos all over the world have illuminated their hometowns with supernatural talents visible from blocks away.
Run-down places are often in need of a creative eye or two. Here are seven citizens of the world who pledged allegiance to their countries by donating radiant colossal street murals.
Blu – Rome, Italy
Italian street artist, Blu, is recognized for his “epic scale murals.” Without any official authorization, Blu paid homage to all frustrated teen artists forbidden to paint on their bedroom walls, and enveloped his home building, Porto Fluviale, in a 9,687.5 sq ft cloak of faces. In a span of two years, he used 48 of the building’s windows as eyes for the eerie portraits, bringing life to the old military warehouse.
Mehdi Ghadyanloo – Tehran, Iran
Iran isn’t necessarily the country you think of when asked, “Where do you think the most beautifully decorated place on Earth is?” and it isn’t, but it’s getting there. Thanks to Mehdi Ghadyanloo and Tehran’s beautification project, the capital has undergone years of transformation through vibrant and contemporary street art. Mehdi’s hundreds of murals are almost too impeccable to believe at first sight. Taking over entire buildings and blocks, each piece is more refreshing to marvel at than the last.
Phlegm, RUN, and Christiaan Nagel – London, UK
The metropolitan city of London is constantly cycling through construction and demolition. Last Breath is an independent organization that invites local and foreign street muralists to beautify abandoned buildings days before they’re annihilated. The artwork produced is then showcased in an unofficial exhibition as the building’s final wake. British artists Phlegm, RUN, and Christiaan Nagel were invited to embellish East London’s Blithehale Medical Center in Bethnal Green, granting it with its last breath of life before the anticipated demolition.
Inti Castro – Santiago, Chile
Hecho en Casa is a Chilean ten-day art festival in Santiago that transforms the city into an interactive space for its habitants. Murals, exhibitions, and installations are set up by renowned artists and bring color to the otherwise drab urban streets. Inti Castro is a native street artist invited to create a double mural in Santiago’s busy metro stop, Estacion Bellas Artes, replacing Spanish designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada’s former artwork. Pedestrians got a chance to witness the process that transformed their city’s block as it properly lived up to its name, “Fine Arts.”
Faith47 – Durban, South Africa
This year, the 25th annual International Union of Architects World Congress was held in Durban, South Africa, and invited native graffiti artist, Faith47, to paint murals in honor of the anniversary. The self-taught contemporary street artist chose Warwick Junction, a public transport hub in Durban with over four hundred thousand commuters and eight thousand informal traders, to complete her six murals. Faith47 chose six traders as subjects for her paintings, all of who belong to different markets, portrayed as ordinary people with extraordinary hidden life stories and experiences.
Fauxreel – Quebec, Canada
Like every passionate street artist, Fauxreel’s intention is to question the notion of public space with his work. The Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec, Canada is home to Dan Bergero’s project, Les Portraits en Papier. Much like the aforementioned UK organization, Fauxreel wanted to give his native paper mill a last breath before its predestined demolition. Fauxreel’s photo-based interventions feature former mill workers on the only public memorial left since its unfortunate closure in 1999.