South Yorkshire is a place which boasts some excellent street art. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most can be found in Sheffield. A proud industrial city with plenty of walls and a rich artistic heritage it’s no surprise that it’s popular with artists. Across the region other gems can be found in towns such as Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley. Often just a case of wandering the streets to see what you can find, urban art can be around any corner.
Street Art Map of South Yorkshire
This map shows some of the street art that can be seen across South Yorkshire. In particular we’ve focused on the areas of Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster. It doesn’t cover every bit of street art and remember that street art is liable to change. For a more in depth guide to street art around the Sheffield and Rotherham area have a look at the ‘Street Art Sheffield‘ site.
Street Art of South Yorkshire
Sheffield Street Art
Sheffield has a rich history of graffiti and street art. Certainly it is a jewel within Yorkshire itself. Proud cities such as Leeds and Hull have smatterings of street art, but nothing on the scale of the steel city. You need to travel beyond the Pennines to really find a comparable location, that of Manchester. Even then, the street art in that city is mainly confined to the Northern Quarter. Sheffield’s spread is wider though extensive development and regeneration has reduced the number of painting spots previously available.
Sheffield Street Artists
Sheffield can also lay claim to some of the most exciting street artists in the country. Phlegm is possibly the most famous. His black and white creatures taken from his imaginary illustrated world, abound across the city. Sometimes in plain view and often hidden in alleys and on canal towpaths. Others include Kid Acne and Pete McKee. Taking a bolder more cartoon like style, their work brings a kind of childlike joy. Jo Peel meanwhile has become known for her abstracted large scale industrial scenes. Whilst Sarah Yates aka Faunagraphic has become known for her depictions of the natural world. Other artists whose work you could be likely to stumble upon are Rob Lee, Florence Blanchard, Marcus Method, Trik09, Stog and Bubba2000. All are well known in the city and beyond.
Rotherham Street Art
Somewhat in the shade of Sheffield, it’s larger neighbour, is Rotherham. You’ve got to search to find the street art here but it is there hidden away. Rotherham is town with a proud history but where regeneration is needed. Plans are however in place to revamp areas of the town. It’s actually just the kind of place where a mural strategy could really support it’s wider regeneration aims. Already Rotherham has been experimenting with some public art via the Gallery Town initiative. Maybe quality street art could be the next natural step?
Market Street is the place to look, particularly in the arches running alongside the River Don. Development is happening here however and it’s likely that this space will soon be gone. Elsewhere, there are a couple of nice pieces in an alley by the minster. Then further afield some nature murals along the canal by Holmes Lock which have been created in partnership with some local schoolchildren. Those are worth seeing, not only because it’s great art but because the walk along the canal is well worth the trip.
Barnsley Street Art
Street art in Barnsley needs a bit of searching out though there is plenty of other public art to see in the town. Full of industrial heritage and proud of it’s military connections much of the art in the area tends to centre around these themes. The most recent mural in the town is a call to action around service personnel who since been living on the streets. A collaboration between local artists ‘Game Over‘ and ‘Marquis de Rabbit‘ it features servicemen alongside the image of a ‘homeless vet’. Nearby on the Manx Arms a silhouetted piece from local artist Neil Richardson pays tribute to the men of World War II. Mosaic poppies can also be seen on the wall.
Elsewhere a fun abstract piece on the side of Gbac accountants gives off a bit of a Picasso vibe. ‘Don’t feed the Machine’ it says though the actual artists are not obvious on that one. In the heart of the town meanwhile in Mandela Gardens, Nick Bell’s ‘Picture of Peace‘. It’s a serene image containing the pondering face of a budda and a illuminating quote. Nearby a number of other art installations can be seen in the proximity to the Civic Centre.
Doncaster Street Art
Some impressive street art in South Yorkshire can be found in Doncaster. Dotted around the town a number have been supported as part of community projects. One in particular, the transformation of Baxter Park by the street art duo Static, even lends itself to a brilliant example of urban redesign. Taking over an unloved playground the area had become unregarded and avoided. Now the mural, which covers both the wall and the floor, is going some way to help design out the causes of social anxieties around it. The piece was supported by ‘Doncaster Creates’ and ‘Art of Protest Murals’.
Another epic scale mural aimed at enhancing the urban environment can be seen opposite the train station. There on the side of the Sainsburys on the Frenchgate centre, is one of the UK’s largest murals. From the Nomad Clan, they are northern artists known for their epic works. Their piece is over 80metres long and 10 metres high stretching along the side of the Trafford Way. It incorporates elements of Doncaster’s past and present. Nods to horseracing, mining, the NHS and the town’s Roman history are all incorporated. (Note – This mural is due to be completed on 10 September 2021).
Elsewhere Doncaster can also boast a number of pieces from Bristol based artist Keith Hopewell aka SPzero76. Originally from Doncaster the artist relishes returning to the city. Looking around we could find three murals by him but there may well be more in his identifiable cartoon illustrative style. Other standout pieces include Natasha Clarke’s ‘Doncaster’ which shows a number of hands raised in unity. Phlegm’s mural on Church View and Paul Luke’s ‘Live Cope Give Hope’ on Trafford Way can also be discovered.
The street art of South Yorkshire was written during June and July 2021. This article has been part of a paid series called ‘South Yorkshire Stories’ with Welcome to Yorkshire. For other Inspiring City articles you might like, take a look at…