If art, like music, is widely considered a universal language, then is street art universal slang?
Similar to the temporary nature of catchphrase fads, graffiti is a form of street art that speaks to the underground culture of the moment, is relevant to time and place, and may last just days or fade slowly over the years.
What I’ve found interesting in my travels is the persistence of this art form. From scribbles to symbols, tags to full-on murals, finding graffiti around the world is a personal reassurance that modern voices are thriving beneath a bridge in Budapest, at a bus stop on the remote island of Mauritius, and on every wall, bench and transformable crevice in between. Here’s a sampling:
One of many pieces I found in a parking lot behind a main shopping street in Brisbane, Australia. Note how the environment (grass, electric wires, sign) seems to play into the art.
An example of stencil graffiti. I saw this spray can-wielding penguin many times around Penang, Malaysia.
A mural depicting capoeira (Brazilian martial arts dance) and other cultural images along a cobblestone street in Salvador, in the Brazilian state of Bahia.
Another stencil placed slyly on a wall in the Monastiraki-Psirri section of Athens, Greece.
Scratchitti is a term used for graffiti etched into a wall or surface. I came across this haunting scratchitti while on a tour of the Killing Fields in the village of Choeung Ek, Cambodia.
This image was part of an entire abandoned building alcove of wheatpaste graffiti (named for the paste used to adhere the image) on the Lower East Side of New York City. I use the term “was” because upon second visit, this piece and all of its counterparts had disappeared into temporality.
Have you snapped any shots of street art around the world? If so, send them our way: email@example.com.
— written by Brittany Chrusciel