Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall: Street Art

The theme for this week’s photo challenge is “Wall.”

When traveling, I like to take pictures of the particular city’s street art or murals.

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Elkin, North Carolina. A view of Stone Mountain.

It’s possible to capture a bit of the flavor of a new locale through how its walls are adorned.

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Sorry this photo is so blurry! Just wanted you to have an idea of the detail in these wonderful Depression-era murals funded by the WPA in 1937.

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In the US Post Office in Poughkeepsie, NY, are WPA murals of the Hudson River Valley.

Most murals catch your eye with their vibrant, sometimes jarring color. Not so in Portland, Maine where Yankee reserve extends not only to their demeanor but also to the street art. Ayuh.

Funny how even the street art in Portland, Maine is a subdued color. Yankee restraint.

Look! There are little push pins. How I love a good trompe l'oeil!

Look! There are little push pins. How I love a good trompe l’oeil!

Imagine, then,  my surprise as I was leafing through the newspaper and read that a Richmond mural had won third place for Best Street Art In the World. You know I fired up the car to go see just what was going on for myself.

Isn’t she a beauty?

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Voted by Buzzfeed as the third best street art in the world. By Etam Cru.

So it seems that while I was busy taking pictures everywhere BUT Richmond, the most amazing wall murals were being created all over the city. Not only that, but we hold an annual Street Art Festival. I need to dust off the hayseeds once in a while and start paying attention to what’s going on in my own neck of the woods.

Realizing that all of this has been happening in Richmond while I had not a clue was my motivation for suggesting to BH that we begin playing tourist in our own hometown. We’ve now spent time exploring Hollywood Cemetery, the State Capitol, the James River trail system, etc. Amazing what is available in your own backyard, isn’t it?

How about you? Have you ever approached your own city with the fresh eye of a tourist? Is street art prevalent in your area too?

Thanks for reading,

Barbara

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About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. Blogging about whatever happens to catch my fancy - sometimes nonsense, occasionally not.
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92 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall: Street Art

  1. Mary Ellen says:

    Loved the murals. Can I send you one from the Alma, MI post office? I think you may like it.
    M.E.

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  2. joannesisco says:

    Like you, I love a good trompe l’oeil and although all of these were great murals, my favourite is are the bumble bees on cycles 🙂

    Isn’t it fun playing tourist in your own city? I’m really enjoying poking around and exploring the city I call home. Yesterday I ventured into Little Italy for the first time and had some ‘world famous’ cannoli. So many wonderful things to experience and often we don’t have to go far 🙂

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  3. tialys says:

    These examples of wall art are great – I particularly like the trompe l’oeil.
    My parents are Londoners – I was born in London and lived or worked there for a good part of my life. Shamefully, tourists knew much more about it than I did. I’ve probably visited more ‘places of interest’ since I left than when I lived there. I think it’s just that, because something is on your doorstep, you think you can go and see it any time but too often you don’t.

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  4. Wow, love the ‘rolling paper’ and the ‘girl in the jar of strawberries’. New York (my hometown) has some fantastic street art. It really makes the city. Here in L.A. there’s some murals of Hollywood stars, especially in Hollywood. Somehow that doesn’t seems as inspired as something more original.

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    • No, I can see why, Marissa. Just more publicity for the already over-hyped, right? And to call NYC your hometown is enviable in the extreme. You could play tourist forever there and never see all there is, I imagine. I know my own list of things to see there just keeps growing and growing….. Oh! And Joanne mentions Little Italy and cannolis….what could be better than experiencing that in NY?

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      • Oh absolutely. I really do miss it, no place quite like it. You definitely miss a lot of details with the streets being so crowded which is why it is a great opportunity to be able to see it and night and during ‘off peak’ hours…a perk of a native.

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      • Last time we were there, we stayed in Midtown and I have to say I was blown away by the Art Deco detailing on the buildings around us. Every time I looked up there was one fantastic thing after another….while everybody was racing along getting to their business. Such a sure sign of a tourist, the looking up in awe!

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      • Oh yes, and a sure sign of a native is one who just zigzags through those crowds on their way to being somewhere which may or may not be significantly more important.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. These are wonderful! I love street art but my collection is, as yet, quite small! 🙂

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  6. C.E.Robinson says:

    Barbara, what amazing street art photos! Now I have to pay more attention to my “city” and its street art. And of course take pictures! Christine

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  7. Lola says:

    WOW So good! We have a few up here, but none like that! Nice finds!

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  8. Sandra says:

    Incredible photos of street art. I loved the girl in the dish of strawberries. That’s how I like to spend an afternoon in high summer… 😉 Well done.

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  9. ritaroberts says:

    Hi Barbara, I don’t usually like street art but two of these I love. The bees on bikes, and the Cats Whiskers ,the one with the car parked. There is a lot of what I call Graffiti here in Crete and I can’t say that I have noticed one I like, but will take notice from now on. Maybe I am not interpretating them correctly .

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    • The bees on bikes are fun, aren’t they? My personal favorite is the trompe l’oeil architectural plan up in Portland but that’s because I have such a weakness for that particular technique. Yes, there is big difference between graffiti and proper street art and I think you know it when you see it, Rita!

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  10. I do enjoy street art. Where we live now there is none, but plenty to be found in St. Louis and Kansas City. I think there is more in places we have visited but we did not “SEE”… I will be more aware from this day. The trompe l’ oeil is typical of what we see in downtown St. Lou, it seemed to just appear overnight on the old brick buildings. Those little bees on unicycles tickle the life out of me!!!

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    • Do you know, Pix, I have never visited St. Louis or Kansas City. My sister has a son at KU and in-laws in Kansas City and says what a great city it is. I definitely want to see the Arch someday and sample some of that famous BBQ. Why does everything come back to food for me? LOL! Oh, and that famous Missour-EE Wine.

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      • I am not a big fan of KC but I do love St. Louis. Well, it is truly home to us. We lived in Ballwin and Chesterfield, not the city. KC has some delicious BBQ and St. Louis has all things wonderful to eat! There is The Hill for Italian fare and bakeries. German food is big. The Riverfront is a kick! It’s all about food for us too.. 🙂 The Arch is breathtaking. I remember when it was going up and my Dad was captivated. He worked downtown and got to see the day to day progress. Yep and Missouri’s wines! If you ever get to Missouri be sure and let us know!

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      • Thank you, Pix, I will for sure!! The Hill sounds wonderful and German food too. That’s something we don’t see much here in the south. BBQ is huge down here and there are various styles which all have their fierce advocates. Naturally I prefer the VA style and BH likes the North Carolina style which is a good thing as we can sample each. How neat for your father to see the Arch go up – I only learned a few years ago that you could go in it. DUH! I thought it was a sculpture. Oh well.

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      • Riding up to the top of the Arch is an experience. You do not want to be claustrophobic! But the view is incredible!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh and don’t get me wrong KC is a great place! I love the Plaza, Crown Center, and the Power and Light District… oh and the old homes. But I think I just had too much of KC. My Grandad lived in Harrisonville and as a kid we were always going there. I think St.Louis just calls to me.. 🙂

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      • Oh no, Pix, not at all. Cities are funny things – they either hit something in you or they don’t. A city I never expected to love as much as I do is Chicago. It took one of my Swiss friends to encourage me to go there on a long weekend and it was a marvelous trip. I don’t know what exactly I had in my mind beforehand, but afterwards I was so glad we went. Another city I really want to visit is San Antonio!

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      • CH and I spent our honeymoon in Chicago 41 years ago in one of the biggest snow storms in ages. What were we thinking? Got married our senior year in college… January, winter break with CH’s OBC ahead of us. Have not been back 😀 I think, I know we would appreciate Chicago now. Your trip with friends for a long weekend sounds lovely. Treated to San Antonio related to CH’s Army Aviation and we fell in love with that place. But the humidity and heat! Love to go back there late Fall. Several cities/places in New Mexico make me happy. I have to say I am not the best traveler anymore.. 🙂

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      • Oh now, New Mexico is just another thing entirely. I could back there over and over. I have a small oil painting of an adobe house in Santa Fe which I look at from time to time and just sigh…..

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  11. There is a lot of Street art in Sydney but none in my neck of the woods. Too conservative! One would get charged with vandalism.
    I loved the photo of the building with pins holding a sheet of paper being peeled back.
    Great post.
    I remember a great wall painting in Newtown Sydney of M. L.King ” I have a Dream”.

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    • That’s my favorite too, Gerard. In real life, it was uncannily realistic. Richmond is a bastion of conservatism too, but somehow this street art thing has caught on big-time. I bet the Martin Luther King painting was terrific.

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  12. The street murals are great and you photographed them so well. In urban Honolulu we have a very active street art program. I’ve written about it before, mostly to complain in a curmudgeonly way that Hawaii shouldn’t seek to follow urban patterns and trends from the Mainland but should establish its own version of island street art, more in tune with our unique environment. Of course no one listens to me but, hey, I have a hide like a rhinoceros so it doesn’t bother me.

    Last month we concluded our annual PowWow wherein top street artists are brought to Honolulu to paint buildings in the urban core. Overall the festival got 40 visual artists from countries such as the U.K., Germany, Egypt, Israel, Mexico, Lithuania and states throughout the U.S. along with about 60 local artists.

    I must admit some of the work is quite good. It’s become a rather big deal here. If I ever get closer to living in the 21st century I might even like it.

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    • How fascinating. Maybe if you are inspired to do so someday, I might see a post on the subject? I would love that. I’ve just Googled your PowWow event and guess what? The artist who did the “Girl in Strawberries” mural here in Richmond, did one in Honolulu. I hope the photo will attach. He is Etam Cru and is kind of “the” guy in street art.

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  13. bkpyett says:

    Barbara, it is wonderful to see what is happening in your neck of the woods! Melbourne has quite a bit of street art too. In Tasmania, because of the poor economy Sheffield welcomes tourists with its many walls of street art. I shall have to get there sometime to take photos. Congratulations for your city receiving 3rd place internationally, that’s great!

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    • Oh, Barbara, I would love to see some Tasmanian street art. The whole thing is just a great way to revitalize our inner cities and inject a little art appreciation along the way. A very good thing, right?

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  14. Eliza Waters says:

    I love trompe l’oeil as well. Your blueprint example was great. My favorite street art is landscapes, the greener the better, since most cities lack that in abundance. No surprise, right? 😉

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  15. Behind the Story says:

    Etam Cru is just amazing! You captured some wonderful street art. I love that first one. It took my breath away. We have eight or nine murals in my little town. Artists submit their proposals and a committee decides which one goes up next. They’re fun to have around.

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    • They are fun to have around, I agree. Yes, that first mural is in a sort of declining small mountain town in western North Carolina. It’s one of those small towns that could go either way, and I’m hoping the presence of the giant Walmart on the outskirts of town isn’t a bad sign.

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  16. Jodi says:

    So true Barbara! Having a camera has encouraged me to explore more of our beautiful city of Pittsburgh and even our small town of Mars through new eyes. We have so much to offer here too, and I must explore more! Thanks for the reminder. Love your hometown winner and the other in Honolulu. I’m going to look up that artist. And I adore the push pins too! 🙂

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    • Good morning, Jodi. It seems every field has its rock star and Etam Cru is it in street art. I’ve only been to Pittsburgh once and it was a quickie – we had a customer meeting and then left first thing in the morning. I despise having to leave any city that quickly when I know there is so much to see everywhere – even in our smaller cities.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jodi says:

        Yes – I’ve just been looking and am fascinated. :0 Well I hope you will come visit Pittsburgh again soon – and stay a while 🙂

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      • Particularly that convergence of rivers in the heart of the city. Am I remembering that right? We ate at a restaurant on top of Mt. Washington and could look down into the beautiful riverscape below us. I remember thinking how beautiful it all was. Something like Mt. Washington – that might be a New Hampshire memory, come to think of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jodi says:

        You have it EXACTLY correct! Good memory!

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  17. I was just discussing this very topic with a member of my community’s tourism committee yesterday. She is attempting to save that Lavender Inn billboard I posted about last week. She has only lived here seven years and I told her how much I appreciate a fresh set of eyes to see the possibilities. All too often we can no longer see what lies right before us on a daily basis.

    Those murals are astounding works of art. Thank you for the gallery tour this morning.

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    • Oh yes, Audrey! I can just picture Minnesota-themed art on those stone and brick buildings you’ve featured on your blog. You are exactly right about people who live in an area for a long time no longer actually “seeing” what is front of them. I get so many out-of-town visitors that I’m often forced to acknowledge some pretty dreary sights in my own small country town. Sigh.

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      • I often think that tourism departments would benefit from a small group or individuals swooping into town and then giving their impressions of the community. Not specifically looking for “good or bad,” but simply whatever initial observations they may have.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Grace says:

    What a great gallery of street art! I love what artists are able to do with a blank wall. Alas, there is no street art in our little town of Woodbury, just a lot of antique stores! 🙂 I think it is so funny that you were unaware of all the street art in your hometown! I’m glad you discovered all these little gems!

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  19. These murals are always entertaining and spice up city life! I’ll check out your link to the Street Art Festival…

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  20. M-R says:

    I have not. Like most, there’s a ton of things I don’t know about Sydney, bB. Just the other day I had to confess to the wonderful Lignum Draco that some the huge wall bas-relief, photos of which he’d just posted – http://wp.me/31o6n – I have never seen, and I’ve been living here for 40 years !

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  21. I love the freshness of these ideas. I shall half to take a look around our nearest city, which is mostly a hymn to fairly ancient monuments and frantic expensive new-build.

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    • I love how you refer to monuments as “fairly ancient” when they are probably hundreds of years older than our entire country! Our definition of old and yours is two different ideas entirely, isn’t it? My romantic idea of an English town or small city doesn’t seem to include too much vibrant street art although I could see it in London. I wonder if that seemingly ubiquitous Etam Cru has dropped in there yet?

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  22. leannenz says:

    Whoops think I commented in the wrong place before! I love Street Art. One of my favourite places is Penang. Ernest Zacherevic has painted an amazing series of murals there. I spent a whole day exploring the town while hunting out his work. He has painted in other cities to.
    http://www.onlypenang.com/where-to-go/penang-street-art-wall-painting-at-penang/

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    • Oh!!!! Leanne, these are absolutely marvelous – possibly my favorite ever as so many of them incorporate trompe l’oeil. I am thrilled to see this and may add this to a follow-up post should I accrue enough additional street art to do so. Thank you so much. And sorry I’ve taken so long to reply – I’ve been swamped!

      Liked by 1 person

      • leannenz says:

        Actually some of them actually have the art painted around a real object like the motorbike. And the wee boyvreaching for the drink is painted on a real chair. Ernest’s work is incredible. I would love to iwn a piece of his artwork but a bit out of my price range!

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  23. Angie Mc says:

    Gorgeous and enjoyable post, Barbara! Our family plays tourist in our home area, Phoenix AZ, often. We schedule downtown staycations every other month, having just been there this past weekend to enjoy the St. Patrick’s day parade and Irish Festival. In May we’ll go again to visit a museum, eat at a new restaurant, and catch a Diamondback’s game. There is so much to do and see here! Next time I’ll be sure to look for street art 😀

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    • Guess what, Angie? I’ll be playing tourist in Scottsdale and surrounds next week! Can’t wait. I am sooo ready for some warmth and sunshine. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for street art while there!

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  24. That’s so cool! It is nice when you find something new in your own town. Unfortunately, I don’t have that experience here too often, but I did just today learn about an attraction an hour away that has a miniature White House and other presidential memorabilia which I never knew existed. (The place, not the memorabilia.) Great photos! 😀

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  25. nrhatch says:

    Grand collection, Barbara. Love the push pins!!!

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  26. What an amazing portrait–I was JUST today sitting in a jar of strawberry jam talking to a little bird. 🙂 This was a terrific post. Wouldn’t it be great if all of those kids doing tagging would put their talents to making art? You just know they are incredibly talented and could do amazing things. I love the blueprint. Very nifty. xo, N.

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  27. I did enjoy these…..only a pity that the ‘artists’ in San jose couldn’t do something like this rather than the grungey stuff they churn out.
    For some reason best known to WordPress your blog hasn’t appeared in my reader….so I’ll have to keep a closer eye in future!

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    • Hello Helen! Dratted WordPress likes to keep us on our toes, doesn’t it? I really need to add Costa Rica to our list of “must visits.” Actually it’s already there, but needs to be pushed up a bit. Hope you are doing well. I’ve been AWOL from my blog for a while and haven’t had a chance to catch up with everybody yet.

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  28. Hi Barbara! Love the photos. My favorite is the Etam Cru one. Cool.
    See you in Instagram xxx

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  29. shoreacres says:

    I’ve fallen behind in my reading, for a variety of reasons. Your post here is a reminder to me that I never should allow that to happen! What treasures, here. I hate to disagree with the estimable Buzzfeed, but I see several examples of street art here I’d put ahead of the strawberry girl.

    I was most interested in the post office art. When I visited the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, one thing led to another, and I found that Joseph Vorst, a friend and student of Thomas Hart Benton, painted a WPA mural in an Arkansas post office. I was surprised to see there are 23 post offices with such art just in Arkansas, and now I see that the examples are even more widely-spread.

    We don’t have street art around here, except for the big-font-midnight-applied sort that shows up on rail cars and bridges. On the other hand, we’re surrounded by small towns that have a good bit of art. Much is historical, or related to local attractions. The quality differs, of course, but all of it has charm. Thanks for reminding me of it!

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    • Twenty-three in Arkansas alone? That is amazing. I wasn’t surprised to see the WPA mural in Poughkeepsie but was surprised at its beauty and detail. And as is so typical of most public art, the vast majority of patrons were carrying on business without batting an eye. I guess it was probably like that in pre-volcano Pompeii too! Meh, just another mural!

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  30. reocochran says:

    You definitely captured some beauties and some artwork that is truly unique, Barb. Wow!

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  31. Barbara … A photographer at “Florida Today” newspaper took some photos showing similar sites in Brevard Country where I live. Yes, we often don’t appreciate what’s right in our back yard and it takes some one else to point out the beauties we take for granted. Loved your photos. Now, you’ve got me itching to check out what I might have been missing. 😉

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  32. Pingback: The Wall | My Atheist Blog

  33. Phil Taylor says:

    Wow! Those are some great ones! I’m looking forward to my city’s Wall Therapy festival again this summer. Is Richmond doing it again too?

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  34. I, too, discovered street art whilst travelling far from home in Bordeaux. I’ve been meaning to spend some time looking for local street art so I can post it on my blog, but so far I’ve only written about Bordeaux: https://integratedexpat.wordpress.com/2015/10/18/street-art-in-bordeaux/

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