Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

On Street Art

As a (very) amateur photographer with a too-cool-for-words camera, one of my favorite pastimes is tracking down, and photographing, graffiti and street art.  The habit started in Senegal, where even the interiors of some university buildings were subject to spray-painted political slogans, and continued during my years in Morocco, where straight-up graffiti was less common but local-government-sanctioned murals reign supreme.  On recent trips to Syria and Chile, I’ve enjoyed finding unique and sometimes downright strange pieces.

One of the stranger pieces of street art I found in Damascus

I wish that I had read this great series by Mexican GV Author Issa Villareal before traveling to Chile; if so, I would’ve known the significance of this beautiful piece of organized street art I captured on Ave. Tucapel Jimenez in Santiago:

This incredible piece of street art is by Chilean artist Grin

In general, Chilean street art was pretty fantastical, encompassing huge spaces and playing off the local architecture and colors.  The Bellavista neighborhood in Santiago in particular had some incredible examples, including this one:

Found in Bellavista, Santiago de Chile

Of course, I don’t miss opportunities to photograph beautiful street art in my own country.  Though the only times I’ve come across Banksy’s work has been late at night, sans camera, I’ve certainly spotted other beauts, like this mural in San Francisco, that I’m sure was done with some sort of official sanction:

Beautiful piece between SF's Mission and Castro districts

Another favorite, from Central Square in Cambridge:

Central Square, Cambridge, MA

Graffiti and street art, no matter where you find it, and though it varies widely in style, has certain commonalities: It is usually fly-by-night and unsanctioned by local governments (with few exceptions).  And its ties to hip hop are visible all over the world…

An homage to hip hop, Damascus, Syria

Happy tagging!

5 Comments

  1. Oh you NEED to come to London. In Shoreditch the streets are literally a daily-changing art gallery. I need to write a post about this. I too have been saving pics from around the world. Your post has inspired me.

    And in my post I’ll bemoan the lack of Syrian street art. Where was the cow?

    • Eek, Anas would know the exact location of the cow better than I would…but it was in the old city for sure. There’s more somewhere on Flickr ;)

      And yes, Sasa, I need to come to London!

  2. It’s awesome to find art everywhere, isn’t it?

  3. I love this post, I feel pity I didn’t care too much to follow the graffities . I was somehow not in my right format, but reading that, and remembering the stuff I saw here and there, makes me feel I haven’t missed much ;)

  4. Speaking of Banksy, he tagged Boston lately. We need to go check it out.

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