A disused building in Reykjavik, Iceland, that has been used as a canvas for two portraits of couples close embrace.

Street Art found on our travels

In Life, Our Journeys by GaryLeave a Comment

Graffiti, Art and a little more

In the past, I’ve posted some Street Art pictures on our Instagram feed; you do follow us on Instagram, right?
Anyhow, it’s astonishing that an imaginative or inspired piece of street art can transform an often-gloomy back street, into a spot that raises a smile.

A beautiful black and white portrait of a woman on a disused building in  Reykjavik, Iceland.

Beauty, Reykjavik, Iceland

Quick Links

This then got me thinking - where do you find the best Street Art?
Is it in down-beat areas, up 'n' coming 'hipster' neighbourhoods, or just anywhere?

So, what is Street Art

Let's start with a definition of sorts; Wiki had this at the time of writing;
Street art is visual art created in public locations; usually, unsanctioned artwork executed outside of the context of traditional art venues.
Then I went a bit highbrow and shot off to the Tate Modern;
'Street art is related to graffiti art in that it is created in public locations and is usually unsanctioned, but it covers a wider range of media and is more connected with graphic design'.
Then I thought, what about the stuff that we found in Oviedo? Like the Milk Maid?

A brass statue of a milkmaid, along with her donkey, on the way to market in a square in Oviedo, Spain

La Lechera, Oviedo, Spain

Well, it turns out after a small amount of research that this is Public Art (I know, I should really be called Sherlock Holmes!). Again, turning to the Tate Modern's website for the definition.
'The term public art refers to art that is in the public realm, regardless of whether it is situated on public or private property or whether it has been purchased with public or private money'.
So originally, I was going to include both Street Art & Public art in this post, and I started to pull the images together and realised there was just too much for one post. So, here we're going to concentrate on Street Art & possibly a mural that may slip into a bit of the Public Art definition, but hey-ho.

So, let's start with some home-grown work

If you're talking about Street Art and the UK, then I guess you might as well start at the top - Banksy.

As I write this post, we still haven’t left the EU; nonetheless, our local Banksy has to be the Dover mural.
Or it was until some bright spark painted over it.

The mural of a worker chipping off a star from the EU flag by Banksy near one of the UK's major ports in Dover.

Banksy’s Brexit - as it was, Dover

Obviously, the spiritual birthplace of Banksy is much further west, Bristol. However, in December 2018, another Banksy appeared in Port Talbot, close to our friends Mel & Marcus of FlyDriveExplore.
They were there in a flash and created this Vlog of the experience.

Stepping back in time, all the way back to 2008, Janis high-tailed it to ‘The Cans Festival’ Street Art exhibition, underneath the Leake Street arches near Waterloo. A collection of work including another Banksy titled ‘Graffiti Removal’.

The Banksy piece - Graffiti Removal captured at the 'Cans Festival'.  It depicts a worker in a hi-vis vest jetwashing cave paintings away.

The Banksy piece - 'Graffiti Removal' captured at the 'Cans Festival'

However, it's not only Banksy, but those wandering around the West End of London may also happen upon this work by Bambi, another elusive artist.

A piece of street art in central London by the artist Bambi.  The mural depicts a Mary Poppins Character who is actually the late Princess Dianna floating above the two young princes.

As naughty as you want...

A hop across the Channel

In France, we were surprised to fall upon a piece in the wine-producing town of Arbois, that celebrates a famous son, Louis Pasteur.

A bright mural celebrating a hero of Arbious, the French scientist Louis Pasteur, on a wall next tot he towns public library.

Louis Pasteur mural, Arbois, France

A couple of murals that also popped out were at the home of Jules Verne in Amiens northern France.

A multicoloured mural of Jules Vernes and a octopus from twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea at his home in Amiens, France

Jules Vernes and a creature from the deep

The mural covering one edge of the Jules Verne House that depicts scenes from Around the world in 80 days.

The mural at Jules Verne Museum

While in Amiens, which sits on the River Somme, we also came across this.

A detailed picture of an allied soldier from the first world war on a building on Amien on the river Somme.

In memory - Among Us, Amiens, France

Touching portraits to the fallen.
Another big name in the Street Art world is the Frenchman, Jean-François Perroy AKA Jef Aérosol. We first stumbled across his work in Brussels on the Arlequin second-hand record store.

A collection of musical legends stencilled on the front of the Arelquin Record Store in Brussels by the street artist Jef Aérosol.

Arelquin Record Store, Brussels, Belgium

Brussels also sports a few rather attractive murals, all close to the centre of the city - what have you seen on your travels?

Let us know

Have you discovered a town that embraces street art, drop us a comment below as we’d love to take a look?

A little further afield

On our travels through Portugal, on both our visit to Lisbon and our Portuguese Road Trip we found some interesting artwork.
Now with our trip to Lisbon, we didn't get time to visit the LX Factory, home to part of Lisbon's cool district, but that didn’t stop us admiring some pretty eye-catching work.

A piece of street art depicting a tram guard waving on Lisbon's city trams in a  typical scene

Trams in Lisbon, Street Art, Lisbon, Portugal

Once, we were on the open road and ventured to further Portuguese towns, we discovered a little more. There was the stunning mural in Aveiro, which was of the salt production that the town was renowned for.

A mural on a rugged-looking sailor who works the salt pans in Aveiro, Portugal.

Salt panning street art, Aveiro, Portugal

Something a little more urban was a shop in Amarante.

A mural on a shopfront in Amarante, Portugal, of a silhouetted woman next to a shopping line with clothes drying in the breeze.

Amarante shop front, Portugal

However, the real magic happened when we arrived at Porto.

In the lanes of Gaia where we bumped into a giant rabbit, constructed from recycled materials.

A giant rabbit covering two sides of a corner of a building in the back streets of Porto, Portugal.  The work is constructed of recycled element and reaches to the roofline of the building.

Recycled Rabbit, Porto

This was before we visited a Port Cellar! Along the lanes you'll find further work;

A piece of street art depicting a group of binmen drinking and relaxing amongst the refuge sacks in Porto.

Refreshing the binmen

Time to cross the border

A reference guide

Our recent new found love is Portugal, it is such a beautiful country. While planning our trip, I used the DK Eyewitness books. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our north to south Portuguese road trip, now you can grab the revised copy.

We find ourselves in Spain

Let's start in the north, in the region of La Rioja, and that’s Logroño, and follow 'The Way' - The Camino de Santiago, where the traveller collects stamps in their 'Pilgrims Passport'. This guy's wearing his passport.

A mural on the end of a large building in Logroño of a barechested weary old traveller whose body is covered with 'tattoos' of the stamps of those who follow the Camino de Santiago.  Logroño is one of the many stops on the way to Santiago de Compostela.

Well travelled - Logroño

Another town in the north is Burgos, the birthplace of the graffito artist Cere, and his 'interesting' work.

A weird piece of street art by the Spanish creator Cere depicting a sausage with 2 groups of 3 legs and a 'head' section that looks as if it's going to explode as it scurries along the street.

An abstract piece of street art by Cere, Burgos, Spain

We now travel south-east to Valencia, and the birthplace of paella wouldn't you know.
Guess that's the inspiration behind this impressive work.

This Diva sings of her love for Paella (Okay, I have no idea - but it can't help bring a smile to your face)

Diva, Valencia, Spain

But the city has more, so much so I created the mini gallery 'Street art through the lanes of Valencia'.

A helpful guide

There are so many incredible places to discover in Spain and I love planning road trips. I often use the DK Eyewitness books, I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our Spanish road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.

It’s not all cheese in the Netherlands

Our visit to Rotterdam far exceeded our expectations, the mixture of architecture is incredible. Then intertwined with the old and the new is captivating Street Art.

A psychedelic mural with the head of a chimpanzee taking centre spot on a street in central Rotterdam.

Money Street Art, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Then when we were wandering around the tranquil lanes and canals in Haarlem, we came across this serene piece of Street Art.

A delicate stencilled piece of street art of the branches of a tree with a songbird perched on one of them on a little lane in Haarlem.

A stencilled bush in Haarlem

Land of fire and ice

Yes, that’s right we’ve arrived in Iceland, and the works of art in Reykjavik are genuinely astonishing. Huge murals emblazoned across old warehouses and colourful pieces in the smallest of corners.

A black and white detailed image of a gorilla's head and shoulders with a red love heart above his head painted on a wall in a street in Rekyavik, Iceland

Love the Gorilla

A mural of three guys possibly breakdancing on the side of a  building in  Reykjavik, Iceland.

Performing - Street art

A disused building in Reykjavik, Iceland, that has been used as a canvas for two portraits of couples close embrace.

Lovers - Street art, Reykjavik, Iceland

Our visit to Iceland not only included a stay in Reykjavik but we also planned a road trip around Iceland’s ring road, and boy some of those towns are remote. Although it didn’t stop us finding this little gem.

A mural of a troll on a wall in the north of Iceland with the hashtag #TrolledInIceland.


These are just a selection of what we’ve caught on our travels. There are so many talented folks out there, they bring imagination and life to an otherwise dull environment.

* This post may contain links to affiliated sites where we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

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