While New York City is home to some of the finest art museums in the world, street art is another medium to admire outside the confines of stuffy museum walls. Before these iconic works began transitioning to the walls and building faces they would be immortalized upon, graffiti in New York City originated in the subway. Only later did it move into the actual streets and buildings of NY. Here are a few of our favorite graffiti and street art works:
Swallow-Tailed Kite by Lunar New Year
PC: Neerav Bhatt
This piece is one of the most admirable graffiti works within the Audubon Mural Project. This initiative brings together a network of talented artists to create murals of climate-threatened birds throughout John James Audubon’s old Manhattan neighborhood. The swallow-tailed kite is under threat, potentially losing 70 percent of its summer habitat.
Lunar New Year, the artist of this great piece, created this graffiti work to draw public attention to this problem. If you look closer at the mural, you can also see 12 other climate-threatened birds inside the piece.
You can find the wall at 575 West 155th Street. It’s painted on the entire west side of the Stella where the Broadway Housing Communities is located. You won’t be able to miss it. Walk around the neighborhood to spot some other incredible murals under the Audubon Mural Project.
Bowery Graffiti Wall
PC: Jaime Rojo
This single wall is one of the most unique art installations in NYC. The wall and its varying iterations has invoked diverse opinions from fans and critics alike. The mural’s history can be tracked back to 1982, when renowned artist Keith Haring put up the first mural on the wall.
Since then, it has become a public canvas for graffiti artists. The mural changes every few months to a year. One of the many popular murals is the giant portrait of Popeye, which was painted by artist John Crash at the beginning of 2013.
This piece is located at 76 East Houston Street in the Lower East Side. It’s a good place to visit and capture a great photo when the weather gets warmer!
Rodent Totem by ROA
PC: Wally Gobetz
Street artist ROA is known for his captivating murals of animals (especially rodents). His idea of painting animals on urban walls is to reflect how humans and animals affect each other, and how animals evolve within urban landscapes.
This black-and-white mural features three rodents sleeping on one another. ROA captured some exquisite details of these animals, while still providing a unique style that’s not necessarily grounded in realism.
You can find this mural at the corner of Havemeyer Street and North 9th Street in Brooklyn. It’s painted on the side of Muchmore’s, a music venue, bar, and coffee house in Williamsburg.
Lay Your Weapons Down by Faith47
Another stunning mural in Williamsburg, this piece was painted by Faith47 on a four-story wall of an old brick building. The work features an embracing couple, showing an intimate moment of love between the two subjects. “The mural speaks to the notion of home not being a place, but a feeling of human interconnectedness,” states Faith47.
You can find it on a wall near 131 Berry Street and North 7th Street.