Brighton is one of the biggest centre’s for street art and graffiti in the UK. Indeed on any trip to the south coast city you can’t fail to see the streets and buildings full of art. Street Artists in the city have a host of walls and buildings to play with. There is even a piece by Banksy… kind of!
Some of it admittedly is quite raw. This is a city with more graffiti locations than street art! A lot of the alleys between the streets of the old fishing town are littered in an uncurated way. These are interspersed with more substantive murals on the sides of buildings and hidden away in the streets.
Street Art in Brighton
Just a short journey by train into London, it’s hard not to link the two scenes. For years artists from Brighton have traveled to London and vice versa. Both however have evolved their street art scenes in their own way. Whereas London has become sanitised and controlled. Brighton like Bristol, in the most part remains untamed.
As a result the art is less accessible to the more general public. Its audience is the graffiti writers and urban art connoisseurs who have maintained a grip on the city’s scene. With the exception of a few murals which might have been commissioned. The majority of the work on display throughout the city is lettering and throw ups.
Famous Art in Brighton
That’s not to say that for any lover of the urban art scene, Brighton street art isn’t worth the time. It absolutely is. From the station, a short wander into the town will soon reveal its wonders. The Prince Albert Pub on Trafalgar Street is just a few minutes walk. There it is adorned with a giant tribute to musicians of days gone by. It’s also the original location of the Brighton Banksy, the famous ‘Kissing Policemen‘ of which there is a replica on display. Such is the allure of Banksy’s work, even the replica is covered in perspex.
Around the area, the streets of the old town penned in between Queens Road and London Road, are narrow. They are warren like and full of vibrancy. Roads like Gloucester Road, Kensington Street, Orange Row, Regent Street and North Road. These are full of spots where you can find street art. A bit further north, between London Road and New England Street, there are sixties office blocks which provide an uncurated canvas for writers.
Brighton street art favourites such as SNUB and REQ can also frequently be seen. We’ve got a soft spot for both here on Inspiring City having interviewed both as they put on shows in London. SNUB’s work in particular can be seen all over the place. His iconic image is that of the 2000AD character Mongrol who he has adopted over the years. You can read the interview with SNUB here and the interview with REQ here. These are artists who have often been described as pioneers of the street art scene as we know it today.
Brighton is certainly one of the top places in the country in terms of seeing urban art. It has a creative feel and a bohemian vibe. The art on the walls might not be to everyone’s taste, but it does contribute to giving the city it’s unique feel.
Top places to find street art and graffiti in Brighton
Trafalgar Street and the Brighton Banksy
Turn out of the station and take a left. Trafalgar Street takes you into the centre of the Brighton village. Moving down the street, a number of roads and alleys branch off. Layed out in a kind of grid system, it’s pretty easy to explore. The Prince Albert Pub is an obvious highlight with its replica Banksy one of the most famous pieces of street art in Brighton. It’s also renowned for its tribute to fallen musicians.
Running between Trafalgar Street and Gloucester Road, this street is more an alley really with an access road that leads to a parking area. Needless to say that such spaces are favourites for street artists and are full of works.
Another cross cutting street, Gloucester Road intersects a lot of the other smaller streets and runs parallel to Trafalgar Street and North Road. Works can often be seen towards the southern end of the road on the corners of junctions with other streets and in alleys.
Running vertically from North Road to Gloucester Road. Kensington Street is known as graffiti alley and is a good place to find murals.
Another of the cross cutting roadways, North Road runs horizontally from Queens Drive to Marlborough Place intersecting a lot of the smaller roads runnig vertically up towards Gloucester Road. Keep looking left and right along the streets and you are bound to see street art.
A small alley leading from North Road, Orange Row is packed with graffiti painted onto the houses and shops which back onto it.
Running south from North Road towards Church Street, some impressive larger murals can be found on Regent Street.
One of the main arteries through Brighton, art can be seen along it’s route notable at the Hobgoblin pub and the Presuming ED coffee house. London Road is also a good access point for any number of streets where street art can be found with the likes of York Hill, Cheapside and Trafalgar Street all accessible from it.
Providence Place / Elder Place / St. Peter’s Street / York Hill
The area sandwiched between London Road and New England Street is a series of access streets. These serve the buildings backing on to the busier thoroughfares. As such there is plenty of graffiti to see and in the area around Elder Place and York Hill. The old sixties office blocks in particular have found themselves slowly being covered.
Outside of the main part of the city, graffiti and street art can be found dotted around many of the side streets. Some of these are slightly off the beaten track from the main concentration of works in the old town. So you might have to wander around to see them.
All images in this piece about the street art and graffiti of Brighton were taken on Sunday 26 February 2017. For other posts about street art in England check out these articles on Shoreditch, Brick Lane, Bristol, Manchester, London and Sheffield.
And to find out more about Brighton in general check out Rose’s guide here.