Athens is a city known for it’s culture as well as its street art. The ruins of it’s ancient civilization merge with its thriving modern city. Amongst it all is a vibrant street art scene. Giant murals mix with graffiti tags. Old crumbling facades blending with the more modern city.
Beatrice Beladi has been visiting the city for years. A lover of the street art scene there she is nonetheless based in London. “Athens is the best city in the world to visit” she says. “It has a thriving cultural scene which has produced some amazing murals”.
This post is about exploring some of the best Athens has to offer. Beatrice has listed some of her favourites for us. She’s included only murals in accessible public spaces. That means that anyone wishing to explore and find them should be able to do so easily.
The Street Art Murals of Athens
Pavlos Tsankonas – Instagram
‘Hands’ – 260 Pireos Street, Athens
Created as part of the Athens and Epidaurus Festival in 2019. It is a re-imagining of a drawing called ‘Hands’ made in 1508 by the German painter Albrecht Duerer (1471 – 1528). Standing 13 metres tall it is painted onto the wall at the main entrance of the Piraeus 260 industrial cluster.
Explaining his work on his instagram page Pavlos explains. “My personal counter-action on classic works of art is an indispensable part of the wider phenomenon of the intake and transformation of cultural heritage. The old and the new are conversing, transforming while defining one another. The practice of transforming a work by recreating it on new bases, aims to record, interpret, criticize and re-charge it.
20 Pireos Street, Athens
Ino – Instagram
Painting since 2000 Greek street artist INO has become known for his photo realistic black and white style. Many of his murals also contain distinctive splashes of blue. According to Juxtapoz his work is inspired by humans, their behaviour and the consequences of their actions.
‘Freedom for Sale’ (2015) – 36 Iera Odos, Gaz
‘System of a Fraud’ (2013) – Achilleos, Metaxourgeio
‘We have the power’ also known as ‘Democritus and the Child’ (2015) – Port of Piraeus
SimpleG – Instagram
Despite his name there is nothing simple about SimpleG’s art. First starting to paint murals in 2009, they look as beautiful in the streets as they would be on a canvas hanging over your fireplace.
Speaking to Greek City Times, SimpleG explained more about how he creates his art. “Often the work I create is commissioned or suggested by others” he says. “But when I create by my own initiative I choose the walls that I see as the right “kadro” or frame for what I want to create and its surroundings. Then as I create, the artwork takes on its own life.”
‘So Many Books, So Little Time’ (2019) – 2 Megalou Alexandrou St, Metaxourgeio
‘Counting Down’ (2016) – Ilioupoleos 100, Nikea
‘Mothers Hug’ (2018) – Gervasiou Grevenon 5, Nikea
Wild Drawing – Instagram
Wild Drawing or ‘WD’ was born and raised in Bali but has settled in Athens. His anamorphic murals blend into the background. Using inspirations from the environment around he mixes in local features to create truly mind blowing pieces of art.
Speaking to ‘Street Art 360‘ Wild Drawing explained some of his inspiration. “For me to paint in the street is expression, choice and desire for communication. So almost always there is a message, and fortunately there are recipients. What helps is the fact that basically my works are realistic and their themes go beyond borders, religions, different cultures, etc. So whatever the message is – social, ecological or just tricksy – it’s easily understood by anybody.
‘House of Venom’ (2017) – National Technical University of Athens, Zografou
‘Blessing’ (2019) – Tsiller 10, Athina
‘Four Elements (2017) – Army Park, Goudi
Samou Kai kostantinou palaiologou, Metaxourgeio
UrbanAct – Instagram
UrbanAct is a group which comprises of a number of street artists in Athens. Working together with municipalities and schools their aim is to promote the art and the techniques of alternative form of cultures. This would include the curation of public art murals alongside other cultural activities.
Part of this work is the organising of festivals and exhibitions. One of the aims being to blend art into the urban landscape. According to the UrbanAct website. “They also give a reason to push people out of their cages, get out on the streets, get together, talk, watch, put colour and fantasy in their life”.
‘Make Love Not War’ (2014), Voutadon, Gazi – Kez, Same84 & Alex Martinez
‘Quixote’ (2018), Stenimachou 1, Athina – Manomatic
Alexandros Vasmoulakis aka Vasmou- Instagram
An artist with a highly identifiable style. He focuses on large scale street paintings, studio work and installations. According to Hypocrite Magazine, Vasmou’s interventions are commonly outdoors and generated by objects found in scrapyards or deserted factories. His street art is most noticeable in his hometown, Athens. Here he has produced numerous pieces visible in different parts of the city.
‘Untitled’ (pre 2009) – Eptalofou 19, Tavros
‘Untitled’ (pre 2009) – Sarri 6, Athina
Insane51 – Instagram
No list of Athens street art would be complete unless Insane51 was included. His 3D murals are cropping up all over the world but sadly his home town seems to be lacking some of them. Although some of his early works can be spotted in Athens northern suburbs.
‘Tiger’ (2015) – Kimis ke Attiki Odos, Iraklio
‘Troll Barber’ (2016) – Kifisias 43, Iraklio
This article on Athens Street Art was written by Beatrice Beladi and all photographs unless stated are courtesy of Beatrice. It was edited and added to by Inspiring City. You can follow Beatrice at her instagram ‘Athensrunner‘.
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