How is urban art modifying the street aspect and the cities’ landscape?

the best urban art street

The XXI century is observing how murals, faccades and walls across the world are changing their boring aspect thanks to the urban art that artists paint in the street. Whether they do it legally or without permission, it’s a fact that their artworks promote the cities’ embellishment. In that sense, what are the local city councils doing to support emergent art circuits?

On one hand, we could observe how graffiti festivals, contemporary art fairs and other related events count with the experience and professionalism provided by both emergent & long-standing creators. On the other hand, walls located in public buildings/areas such as libraries, sports centers and parks feature collaborative projects led by the artists’ community.

Createors regularly use spray cans and wet paint to decorate surfaces, but it’s also common to see how artists use other materials/tools in their performances. Furthermore, professional graffiti writers use electric elevators and cherry pickers to access fairly high structures.

What are the different uses that urban art could have in the street?

Taking into account that urban art has increased its popularity in the street, we could observe how people enjoy it in many different ways. For instance, alternative travellers may now find tours and guided visits in the biggest and most touristic capital cities. However, that’s not the only example we will showcase today.

The artistic paintings developed by young adults could also feature social & political ideas. Moreover, it’s both the governing bodies and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), through private individuals, who are interested in talking about the problems that exist in the society. In the same vein, what is people doing to fight against injustice? Is there any mural in your city that you could recall about this issue?

Lastly, you should notice how small, medium and big entreprises use graffiti to decorate their businesses or launch advertising campaigns. At first, muralism was used to cover throw-ups & tags in mettal shutters, but due to its popularity companies prefered catching the audience’s attention with a beautiful decoration rather than with a printed board.

Graffiti murals with a social message

Social urban art in the street. Photographed in Berlin (Germany)
Eventhough many of our readers don’t speak German, they could figure out what’s the message

One of the greatest characteristics about the urban art developed in the street is that it has the power to connect with people. Not only will decorative murals make a city look better, but they could also lead citizens into a critical thinking. What are the topics? For example, our rights and responsibilities. It doesn’t matter whether the mural is featured in Germany, in the United States or in France. The goal is clear.

Due to a new wave of racism and xenofobia in our society, it’s important to clearly state the purpose. To fight against inequality and oppression. Essentially, the artworks which have been supported by local governing bodies could create an impact into people’s minds.

There even exist collaborative female-led & LGTBIQ projects which try to raise awareness on domestic and homophobic violence. That’s the case of ‘Six Sisters’ (Bristol), the UK’s largest street art project of its kind. For your information, it was held during the International Women’s Day.

The use of urban art in the street as a way of communication between brands and citizens

urban art advertisement in the street
Could you guess the company who promoted this advertising action?

Similary to what happens with other offline marketing techniques, urban art might be used in the street to promote a specific product or service. In that sense, big brands such as Pepsi, Adidas or Nike have already counted with the artits and graffiti writers’ collaboration to develop large murals. As a matter of fact, these walls are usually purposely located within highly dense areas, or the city centers. Even some hotel chains, included at, are using it to decorate their walls.

However, it will depend on the local authorities whether the advertisements might be displayed or not. That’s the case of Barcelona (Spain), where billboards might not include the development of a live graffiti artwork. According to the city council, any publicly accesible add, arranged within a private property, must be performed before hand.

Not only these brands try counting with the most skillful designers at any given country, but they also hire artists who are influencers. If companies are interested in getting the attention of the younger audience, that might be the way to do it. Don’t you think so? We live in the social network era! Check our Facebook and Instagram pages.

Political street art

Urban art against racism in the street
Picture by BP Miller in Los Angeles, CA

Last but not least, our readers could find artworks which make a political statement. For instance, the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement. As you may see, urban art developed in the street to support a specific group. Their mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities. Wherever they are.

The project is wide and it represents queer and trans folks, disabled, undocumented, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. As they demand, colored people should no longer be systematically targeted for demise. However, it’s not the only kind of policital street art that we could find around the world.

#Streetartagainsthate is another hashtag commonly used within the community to represent artists and followers’ demands. By including that keyword, people show their way of thinking on the net. The slogan: everybody is equal. There should be no discrimination because of skin colour, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation (among others)…

Who are some of the most famous worldwide urban art performers in the street?

First and foremost, you should know that Cooltourspain is an urban art project which evolved from the street to a professional multidisciplinary company. It’s been since 2016 that we have been supporting the local modern art circuit in Madrid (Spain). Our team members have years of experience in the field, but they aren’t still that famous as to travel out of Europe with their paintings & murals.

Eventhough our work isn’t comparable to the creativity developed the following artists, we are proud to represent the hardwork and perseverance of a local project in the Spanish capital city. At the same time, we love investigating about the ones who lead the street art ranking of the most famous artists around the globe.

Here is a brief list of artists that you should take into account while researching on the internet:

  • Vhils (Portugal)
  • Felipe Pantone (Argentina-Spain)
  • Kobra (Brasil)
  • Miss Van (France)
  • Faith47 (South Africa)
  • Lady Pink (Ecuador)

Os Gemeos, from Brasil to the rest of the world

Brasilian artists Os Gemeos
Picture by Daniel Lobo in Boston, MA

Otávio and Gustavo Pandolfo are not only twins, but also partners in crime. What we mean is that they perform urban art together in the street. Os Gemeos come from São Paulo (Brasil), but if you’re a street art lover you might have seen their artworks around the five continents, not just in their hometown.

As it happens with many other internationally renowed artists, this couple started in the circuit by painting illegal graffiti on walls. They started in Cambuci neighborhood, a humble industrialized area within the southern part of the city. From there, to the rest of the world. Curiosuly, their first projects included break dance performances!

What are some of their most famous artistic interventions?

  • Parallel Connection, an audiovisual artwork in Times Square (New York city)
  • A collaborative artwork with Banksy in 2013.
  • Boeing 737 for Brasil 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The urban art by Okuda, the Spanish street master

Okuda is Spain's most famous post-graffiti artist
Multicolored patterns painted by Oscar San Miguel Erice

Oscar San Miguel Erice is probably the world’s most famous Spanish contemporary living artist. He has painted urban art in such remote street locations and collaborated with dozens of international companies with advertising purposes. Moreover, he has launched several products such as eiderdowns, eyewear or jewlery thanks to his studio Ink & Movement.

His style is very colorful, including shapes and figures of many different kinds. Moreover, that’s what he exactly wants to achieve. Okuda belongs to the LGTBIQ community and his artworks represent freedom. Have you ever seen any of his artworks around the world?

Here is a brief list of Okuda’s most remarkable artworks:

  • Kaos Temple, a former church in Llanera, Asturias (Spain) turned into a skate park.
  • Denver’s International Church of Cannabis (Colorado)
  • ‘Skull Mirror’, a faccade artwork in La Valette castle (south of Paris)

Cooltourspain’s opinion about the urban art in the street

We love photographing the urban art in the street more than any other hobbie. Whether we’re driving on a car or walking with our friends, we feel stimulated by all the artworks that surround us. It’s almost an obsession for us. Doesn’t it happen the same to you?

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