All forms of art are subjective, although one of the least socially accepted one is probably graffiti. Street painting has been looked upon as vandalism in a lot of societies, but instead of disappearing into thin air, graffiti has flourished because of this restriction. Today, graffiti is also known for the speed with which its artist-writers need to conceptualize and produce their works.
Whether you’re just looking to admire pop art or you’re in search of a naked wall to practice your own skills, below is a list of places you must visit. In these spots, not only is graffiti legal—it’s celebrated, too.
In Sydhavnen, to be exact, there’s a big graffiti wall that’s tagged a must-see for locals and tourists alike. Expect a crowd watching with you as an artist exhibits his craft, or watching you if you intend to show off your skills as well. While the wall is massive, it’s also popular enough that no one piece lasts for more than a few days.
If you really like one spontaneous pop art, you should probably take a photo of it. It’s bound to be painted over very soon.
What used to be just a boring silk mill by the lake is now a concrete canvass for graffiti artists in Zurich, Switzerland. Called Rote Fabrik, it’s currently managed by a group of artists and supported by the city. Here, drawing on walls (as long as you’re good at it) is not just allowed by the law. You’ll actually be encouraged to practice your freedom of expression here.
At the Venice Beach, there’s a famous wall called the Venice Graffiti pit, and this wall is never left gray and boring. Just like the Copenhagen wall, it’s an open space for any street artist, and it’s actually quite entertaining to watch a talented artist at work. It’s just too bad, though, that no one piece of art lasts very long, here.
There are a lot of street artists in California, and before you know it, your favorite mural has already been painted over by someone else.
Legally speaking, there are a lot of wall spaces you can paint on without getting arrested. Paris, is, after all, the city of free art. However, you will have to watch out for graffiti groups. They tend to be a little bit territorial and won’t think twice about resorting to violence if your paint over their work of art. Know your spaces well.
If you feel like expressing your art in Poland, just look for Topiel Street. Stencil artists are welcome to show off their skills here. You don’t have to sneak in at night to do it, either. The Polish police won’t be at your heels. Of course, if you’re performing in the daylight, speed will also wow your audience. At least, though, you’re not rushing your art just because you’re about to be detained.
Australia is known for not just for its extreme sports but also its extreme art. Graffiti is legal here as long as you do it on Hosier Lane. This is located at the southernmost portion of Melbourne, and is actually pretty popular among tourists as well. When you let the art flourish, you make way for competition among free artists. What’s produced is actually a thing of beauty.
This entire strip is featured in travel guides. The shop owners actually protect the artwork by putting up Perspex screen over them. Actually, graffiti is celebrated in other streets in Melbourne, as well, but the most publicized (and probably the best) artworks are in Hosier Lane.
LATER EDIT: Apparently, it is more complicated than just finding a wall on Hosier Lane. Check the comments below the article for more info.
Queens, New York
Some people look at this side of New York as cold and grimy concrete. Another way to characterize Queens, though, is to say that it’s the haven for graffiti artists. In a particular block dubbed 5pointz, you’ll see buildings practically covered in graffiti, you’d think you were in a Gorillaz music video.
For all the presupposed freedom, though, only approved artists by the Meres One are allowed to exhibit their spontaneous pop art in this Long Island neighborhood. Mural spaces are also allocated, with the exhibition period based on the quality of the artist’s work, and of course, its durability.
While it doesn’t scream graffiti haven, Taiwan’s Taipei doesn’t have strict rules linking graffiti to vandalism. When interviewed, police officers told us that unless a store owner complained, they won’t arrest graffiti artists caught in the act of drawing on walls, now will they try to cover up the artwork.
While the thrill remains (after all, you never know when the baker’s going to scream at you for your art), if you draw something pretty, you’ll probably be left alone. Survey the street, first. Pick a poorly maintained gray surface, and make the wall prettier only when the store owner appears meek and agreeable.
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