At a time when street art is finally getting the recognition within the realm of contemporary art as a valid form of creation and expression, more and more artists cover the walls around the world with the most beautiful murals. This year has been no exception, and even saw a significant rise in the number of dedicated events, festival and exhibitions at esteemed galleries and even museums. Street and urban art have stopped being referred to as vandalism a while ago and talented individuals working in all its forms and styles are getting commissioned to create works – something that just ten years ago seemed like an impossible thing to happen. Their pieces tackle a variety of topics, from socio-political situations in every corner of the planet to stunning portraiture in the manner of the greatest masters of art history. We feel lucky indeed to be a part of this ever-evolving movement, which is why we’re engaged in following street creatives on a regular basis through our monthly Street Update articles. Make sure you check out the collection of the 150 most beautiful murals of the past three years as well! Below, you will find those which marked the year behind us, as we look forward to those yet to come.
Which one is the most beautiful wall mural of 2016?
Okuda in Youssofia, Morocco
It was a good year for Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel, who spent his days painting his vivid murals all over the world. Here, we see his mural on an abandoned church in Youssofia, Morocco, featuring his trademark animals such as a bird, a bear and a lion evoking geometric abstract art.
Banksy Mural at Bristol School
Although he’s been quite absent this year, Banksy had time to leave a mysterious “present” on the walls of a Bristol primary school. He even left a message for the kids, saying: “Dear Bridge Farm School,Thanks for your letter and naming a house after me. Please have a picture. If you don’t like it feel free to add stuff, I’m sure the teachers won’t mind – remember, it’s always easier to get forgiveness than permission. Much love, Banksy.”
Ben Eine in Gothenburg
Known for his vibrant typography, Ben Eine is a talented street artist who once again employed his talents for the occasion of Artscape Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden. His mesmerizing vertical piece, which covers a whole side of a building, states “Every time I look up, I feel happy, when I look down, I’m sad”.
Alexis Diaz for JustKids
He creates amazing art in the studio and he creates amazing art on the walls. Alexis Diaz was a part of The Unexpected initiative in Fayetteville, Arkansas, curated by JUSTKIDS. The mural depicts a giant owl accompanied by a crescent, an eye and three feathers. The work oozes in detail and precision, as always.
Eduardo Kobra paints David Bowie
Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra painted a spectacular portrait of the late David Bowie from his Ziggy Stardust days in New Jersey. The recognizable orange lightning bolt is still there in its original color, but everything else is painted in Kobra’s colorful geometric style – with a touch of black and white.
Guido van Helten’s Salt of the Earth
Australian prodigy Guido van Helten became a part of a documentary of famous street artists from his country, produced by Wanderers. While the project will be out in early 2017, we can admire this beautiful piece painted on train cars and featuring the artist’s signature portraiture of two elderly people.
Case Maclaim for Artesano Project
In Dominican Republic, Case Maclaim recently painted a mural as part of the Artesano Project, which aims to promote public art in the country. In Keuri, San Pedro de Marcoris, he created a painting of a young man, spreading across two walls and evoking great skill in figurative painting.
Bordalo II for Castelo de Artes
Known for his incredible murals created out of trash, Portuguese artist Bordalo II was a part of Castelo de Artes project in the town of Alcains, for which he made this bird. The mural is said to be an homage to CERAS, a local NGO which received hurt animals and takes care of them until they’re good enough to go back into the world.
Waone - Meaningful Moment
Vladimir Manzhos aka Waone, formerly a part of Interesni Kazki, has been painting on his own for a while now. The piece we see here is titled Meaningful Moment and it now belongs to a wall in Washington, DC, as part of the DC Mural Project curated by Artwhino. We are surely looking forward to more surrealist works by this incredible artist!
Lonac - Nitpicking
One of the most beautiful murals of the year belongs to Croatian creative Lonac, who authored this masterpiece for MMSU Rijeka – Spajalica festival in his homeland. Titled Nitpicking / Pimplovanje, it is a breathtaking portrait of a man focused on the model of a ship. We honestly can’t stop looking at it!
WD Wild Drawing in Athens
Greek talent WD aka Wild Drawing covered two walls in Athens with an absolutely remarkable mural of an owl, called Knowledge speaks – Wisdom listens. Made during Petit Paris d’Athènes festival, it pays homage to the bird as the symbol of wisdom and the goddess Athena at the same time. According to the artist, ”Nowadays Greece, and not only, is experiencing a really dark phase and I think is time for us here and around the globe, to recall this creature’s wisdom.”
Fin Dac - Resurrection of Angels
In Venice, California, Fin DAC portrayed Nicole Wu against a pitch black background on a building, giving her wings. This is why his mural is called Resurrection of Angels and it suggests there should more of such portraits in the future. He is known for his portraiture of women, usually mixed up with elements of local culture.
Fintan Magee in Amman, Jordan
The portrait in Amman, Jordan painted by Fintan Magee, shows the young girl in limbo, torn between two worlds. It found home in a Predominantly Palestinian neighborhood. The girl’s image in the foreground is looking outwards towards an uncertain future, her background reflection is looking back, towards the world she left behind. The piece was a part of the aptART project too.