I started my college career at North Carolina State University (Go Pack). One of my favorite things about the campus was a small tunnel connecting the residence halls to the classroom buildings called the “Free Expression Tunnel.” This tunnel was NC State’s solution to graffiti. They designated a set location where spray painting was allowed (think of it like a smoking zone – but instead of smoke, spray-paint).
I was always drawn to art (get it? OK, no more bad jokes) but never has any real spray painting experience till college. And it wasn’t until then that I realized how extremely difficult it was to paint with. I did my share of “free expression” in the tunnel during my time at NC State and since then had an admiration for the larger than life murals and urban masterpieces you often see in big cities or creativity placed throughout walk able neighborhoods.
I want to share some of my favorite pictures I’ve taken over the last 10+ years traveling internationally and domestically and would love to see what pictures you have to share if you too appreciate unconventional street art!
Taupo, New Zealand had creativity dripping from almost every building stretched along its quaint downtown. I think I spend and entire morning walking along the downtown eagerly looking for new pieces of artwork like the examples below!
I love this picture, because everyone’s first reaction is “THAT’S A BIG BIRD!” But it’s actually just a mural and the cuff of my jacket makes it look like the bird is actually on my arm! This was one of those awkward moments when I was standing in a parking lot taking a selfie and no one around me knew what I was doing… Point of the story – if you have the opportunity for a great photo, go for it!
This photo was taken just around the corner from the enormous bird selfie (above). I got to pretend I was a superhero for a few minutes and show off my powerful super hero punch (and super tight jeans.. RIP. Skinny Jeans).
Some of my best friends and I all happened to be in Sydney at the same time and we took the opportunity to head to Bondi! Now that is a beach (even in the winter) I could spend all day at! Great people watching, cool shops and places to eat – and awesome picture opportunities with local artwork clearly geared for tourists like myself.
You might recognize this picture from my Dallas post. Deep Ellum has a piece of my heart – and I cant wait to go back and see if any of the art has changed since my last visit.
I was driving with my mom in downtown Phoenix one day, and I pulled over into the back of an empty building and had her snap this picture of these birds that inspired me (and happened to be ALMOST as busy as the shirt I was wearing).
This is another favorite from my Dallas post…
And I love this picture I took in Queenstown, New Zealand (or it may have been Auckland) which looks like a giant postcard. I wish every city in the world had a postcard picture opportunity like this.. even if it did wish I weren’t there, haha.
Melbourne, Australia has an awesome downtown area dedicated to street art as well! Above is a mashup of some of the art and creatures decorating the long alleyways of downtown.
I spent a few mornings roaming Melbourne and could spend an entire week exploring the colorful sites and sounds that city has to offer!
Not totally sure what was going on here – but I’m glad my outfit coordinated.
And also not sure what is happening here – but I’m enjoying it.
Art doesn’t have to be bold and bright to be beautiful – sometimes it just needs to make a point like these two pieces!
Lastly this final mural is located directly next to a funeral home just miles from our home. I thought it was really random the day I found it riding my bike through downtown Willow Glen. But then I realized what it was facing and saw the real beauty in its purpose!
And while this next piece isn’t exactly on its way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it still make me very happy! #LouisvilleAlumni
If you ever have the chance to get to Grand Rapids, MI – they hold ART PRIZE every fall which is a beautiful display of artwork throughout the city. I go there every year for work at the tail end of the display and I’m always mesmerized by what people create! This mosaic painted piece was from years ago but I have saved this image because the eyes are so striking!
Now these other pieces aren’t exactly murals are street art, but they were also on display in Grand Rapids and I loved experiencing them in person!
I’ve had friends recommend some awesome street art and free expression in San Francisco and other bay area spots. If you know of any, please send your recommendations my way! I’m hoping to stroll over to Santa Cruz soon and snap some pictures of art I’ve driven by and want to share!
As always, thanks for reading and please share some of your favorite pieces with me!