Novel paintings: How graffiti went literary


We love books, we love art, and we love a radical gesture, so literary graffiti? We could not be more psyched about that! Here are ten killer examples.

beckett mural2

US-born graffiti artist Alex Martinez (aka SHINE) is responsible for this intense Samuel Beckett portrait in London’s Blenheim Crescent in Notting Hill: we reckon the decay suits old Sam!

woolf mural

Skipping over to Guadalajara in Mexico, this upper-colourful Virginia Woolf mural used to grace the wall of a Woolf-inspired café; we’re not sure the café’s still around, but the world would be a sadder place without this beauty.

sylvia plath mural

If you’re heading Portland-way, be sure to check out this Sylvia Plath picture on Hawthorne Boulevard. The mural is by Jane Brewster, a designer and illustrator from New Orleans, and the quote is from Plath’s only novel, The Bell Jar – one of our all-time faves.

watership down mural

This old railway building in Virginia was given over to graffiti artists once the company no longer needed the structure – how cool is that? In this case it’s a stunner based on Richard Adam’s Watership Down – maybe the best book about rabbits we’ll ever read. Photo © orderlyschism

maya anglou mural

Here’s the indomitable Maya Angelou, poet, novelist, actor, singer and political activist, outside Brockley station in south-east London, alongside her poem, Life Doesn’t Frighten Me. Inspirational! Photo © Ben Sutherland

neruda mural

This portrait of poet and political activist Pablo Neruda graces a wall in the Bellavista neighbourhood of Santiago, Chile; Neruda won a Nobel Prize in 1971 and also served as a senator for his country’s Communist Party before a warrant was put out for his arrest. We bet he was a big street art fan.

toni morrison mural

This super-cool Toni Morrison mural used to be situated in the neighbourhood of Arantzabela-Salburúa, in Vitoria-Gasteiz in northern Spain, or, if you prefer, in the Basque Country. Sadly, it’s now been removed. Anyway, we think it captured Morrison nicely, green or otherwise!

blake mural

What else would you expect to find on a street in Surry Hills, Sydney, but a transcription of William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell? Let’s hope it’s not a commentary on the neighbourhood, eh?

hamlet murals

The streets – well, the walls – of Glasgow were covered in pictures like this one after street artist (and art student) Peter Drew’s project, Emoticon Hamlet, got going. To be or not to be? Given that most UK city councils are pretty anti-graffiti, we’re thinking the latter, unfortunately.

game of thrones 2

Grand finale! Here’s street artist Akse painting Game of Thrones’ Tyrion Lanister in Manchester’s Hulme district back in April 2014 – winter is coming, guys!

Have you seen anything better? Shout out!

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4 replies

  1. That Marriage of Heaven and Hell is a big bit of work. Big respect to the artist for dedicating so much time for it to be walked all over.

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