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The best street art cities in the UK Jun 04
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From illegal vandalism to respected art form, Street Art has undergone quite a transformation in recent times. This is most likely due to the popularity of Banksy, an anonymous and controversial artist from Bristol whose work can now be admired on street corners around the world. With artists like Banksy often hitting the headlines for their work, Street Art has been forced out of the urban underground and into the mainstream, with elaborate, clever and colourful artwork becoming an increasingly visible part of the cityscape.

London and Bristol may seem like the obvious choices, but there are dozens of other British cities with an impressive street art scene to explore. Here’s our pick of the best of the rest -

Brighton

The seaside city is well-known for its alternative scene and a popular choice of canvas for local and international artists. Church Street, Kensington Street and North Laine in particular are notable for their stunning array of original artwork. Banksy’s famous stencil of two policemen kissing could once be found on the side of the Prince Albert pub near Brighton station. While the original has since been sold a replica has been put in its place. Protected from vandals behind glass, it’s a place of pilgrimage for other artists and street art admirers.

Visit Britain have this great round-up of the best street art in Brighton on their website -

  1. Music mural - famous musicians adorn the side of the Prince Albert Pub in Trafalgar Street.
  2. Replica of Banksy's 'Kissing Policemen' - Prince Albert Pub, Trafalgar Street.
  3. Star Wars AT-ATs - 30ft versions of the AT-ATs by local graffiti artist Paul Barlow can be seen along Ditchling Road.
  4. Run DMC mural - features a giant chessboard created by well-known British street artists Odisy and Aroe. Kensington Street, North Laine.
  5. i360 street art - hoardings around the i360 site (by West Pier) have been decorated by prominent graffiti artists. Big international names are also due to visit in October to add more artwork.
  6. Giant blue fire-breathing dragon - adorns a hairdressers on the corner of north Road and Robert Street. Created by Odisy.
  7. The Hair Cutter - completely covers a wall in St George’s Mews. Created by artist Snug.
  8. Urban Art Wall - started in 2005, this art wall is a centrepiece of New England Road.
  9. Cassette Lord - you don't need to go far in the city to spot a cable box playfully decorated by community steet artist Cassette Lord.
  10. Mural at Black Rock - an ever-changing 'unofficial gallery' on the wooden hoardings beside Brighton Marina reflects Brighton's lively graffiti scene.


Bigger than Banksy by BMiz / CC SA 2.0 (Image size has been modified)

Newcastle

Murals and stencils are now a common sight in the North East with Tyneside the epicentre of the contemporary art scene in ‘The Toon’. In 2013 the Victoria Tunnel was transformed into a gallery space exhibiting specially-commissioned street art by 12 international artists. The project, Xll: Into the Dark, saw attendees, (limited to groups of 12) don hardhats for a tour of Newcastle’s underground. The event sold-out within minutes for this unusual, 12-hour-only exhibition, and while the artists have moved on the tunnel is still a popular tourist attraction.

Also worth a look is a large mural of local heroes by art collective The London Police, which took 5 days to complete and can be found on the walls of the Ship Inn pub in Ouseburn Valley. Other hotspots include Unit 44, a gallery space known for producing their own work as well as showcasing cutting-edge artwork from around the world.





Pixabay by Digihanger / CC0 Public Domain (image size has been modified)

Birmingham

Birmingham is a real up and comer in the UK street art scene with artists starting to create work around its many canal-side walkways and terraced streets. Head to Selly Oak Park to check out the latest graffiti tags, and take a stroll down to the regenerated former- industrial quarter of Digbeth to see pieces to crop-up overnight from artists like Newco.

Pop into the Lord Clifden Urban Art bar in the Jewellery Quarter after a long day of street art spotting. A local artist haunt, this is the place to go to rub shoulders with the next big names in street art.

The City of Colours Street Art Festival takes places in the city on September 12th 2015, with 100 artists transforming the Digbeth area into an outdoor gallery with live painting, music, b boys, beat box battles, cinema screenings and more.

The Birmingham Mail have compiled this list of 16 must-see pieces in Brum.



© City of Colours


Newcastle
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