Vote for the Best UK Street Art of 2022

Voting for the best street art of 2022 has now begun over at the global street art app ‘Street Art Cities‘. In total nine entries are from murals based in the United Kingdom. Cities including Belfast, Bristol, London and Aberdeen are joined by entrants from Margate and Greenock.

The UK entries are just a small part of the worldwide list which includes 100 murals across 92 cities covering 30 countries. It’s a list which includes some of the very best street artists from across the globe. All have been chosen via a mixture of engagement with the Street Art Cities app combined with votes taken over the year on social media.

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This final selection is the big one though and to choose the very best it’s all down to the public vote. Representing the UK this year are English artists Louis Masai, Mr Cenz, Sophie Mess and Northern Ireland’s Emic. Australian artist SMUG, Belgium’s Kitsune Jolene, Spain’s Slim Safont and Portugal’s Nuno Viegas add to an international flavour for our UK entries.

To vote make sure you’ve got the app downloaded and then use the links in this article to vote for which mural you want to win.

The Best UK Murals of 2022

Aberdeen – Nuno Viegas (Portugal)

Painted as part of the Nuart Festival in Aberdeen. Nuno is an artist who combines abstract realism with a purist graffiti pedigree. His work on Gerrard Street shows a shadowy figure in a Queen of Heart patterned mask. It is set against a vibrant yellow background which itself is a blown up portion of the artists tag ‘Metis’. The mural is also a companion piece to another work Viegas created in the Norwegian city of Stavanger which was called the ‘King of Hearts’. Together they celebrate the connection between the two locations and the bond they share through Nuart.

Queen of Hearts by Nuno Viegas in Aberdeen

Aberdeen – Slim Safont (Spain)

A young girl looks our across the granite stoned houses of the silver city. She is standing on a chair next to blackboard upon which is written ‘I will pay my taxes’. Called ‘Punishment‘ the piece on Union Row in the city is a commentary on indoctrination in society. Here the girl is being taught from an early age to conform to those societal norms.

‘Punishment’ painted by Slim Safont for Nuart Festival in Aberdeen

Belfast – Emic (UK)

Painted in solidarity with the people of Ukraine during March 2022. The Sunflower is the national flower of the nation. Shown in black and white and floating against a dark background, it is a stark contrast to the bright, colourful flower which is such an important symbol of the country. It’s a contrast that the people of Ukraine have also had to adapt to. Their lives having been uprooted in the most brutal way. The mural can be found on Harrow Street in the Belfast Holylands.

Sunflower for Peace a mural by Emic in Belfast. Photo courtesy of Street Art Cities

Belfast – Kitsune Jolene (Belgium)

Called ‘When you Weren’t Looking’ Kitsune Jolene is an artist known for her dreamlike palette and positive feminine imagery. Painting as part of the ‘Hit the North’ festival in May 2022 she initially wanted to create a work which played on themes from Irish folklore and myth. Not ultimately able to decide on any particular story, her piece instead plays with the concept of magic which “always comes your way when you’re not looking for it”.

‘When you Weren’t Looking’ a mural from Belgian artist Kitsune Jolene for ‘Hit the North’ in Belfast. Photo courtesy of Street Art Cities

Bristol – S.W.A.L.T (UK & Chile), Kin One (UK) & Swick (Switzerland)

A mix of styles in this collaboration between three artists and the only piece from Bristol on this years list. The result of an improvised get together in June 2022, the mural showcases all three artists styles against a backdrop of graffiti tags and imagery. It was a meeting at Upfest which first connected Swiss based Swalt with the work of Kin One. Agreeing to collaborate on a wall, they were joined by fellow Swiss based artist Swick. The resulting wall reveals a central portrait from Swalt. Black and white but transparent enough to reveal the throw ups underneath. Either side Kin One’s Tiger roars whilst Swick’s little Robin sits poised to pounce from a tree branch. The mural can be found on 2 Quay Street in Bristol

Collaboration mural in Bristol with work from Kin One, Swalt and Swick. Photo courtesy of Street Art Cities

Greenock – SMUG (Australia)

A mermaid breastfeeds her infant child on a wall in the Scottish town of Greenock. According to SMUG he wanted to “spark conversation which will lead to normalising breastfeeding and improve breastfeeding rates in the area”. Created in partnership with the Inverclyde Health and Social Care partnership Infant Feeding Team and the Scottish Government, it’s a mural to get people thinking. Painted during February 2022 it was a piece which took quite some resilience to paint. No less than 4 named storms blew through Greenock in the 10 days it took to paint. “Soaked to the bone and freezing” said SMUG. “What a way to pop my 2022 cherry”.

‘Breastfeed’ by SMUG in Greenock, Scotland. Photo courtesy of the artist via Street Art Cities

London – Mr Cenz (UK)

The Queen of Peckham looks out from the Prince of Peckham pub in South London. This is an area Mr Cenz knows well, he grew up in the region and his murals are regular sights. From a background in graffiti and abstract art his work is now best known for his incorporation of those mediums with portraiture. It’s a style he’s been honing for over 10 years. Inspired by an initial image, Mr Cenz then freestyles to generate what emerges. Painted in May 2022, the Queen is actually the third installment of a mural on the pub, a regular spot for the artist to paint.

The Queen of Peckham by Mr Cenz in South London. Photo courtesy of the artist via Street Art Cities

London – Sophie Mess (UK)

Painted as part of the Whitecross Street Party in July 2022. Sophie Mess is an artist who likes to bring nature into the city. It’s been a big year for the artist with her mural at Upfest taking centre stage on the main Tobacco Factory wall. For this year though it’s the mural in London which takes the nomination. This was a piece which reminded Sophie of home and what she describes as the “personal collections of feeling” around it. Each flower within the piece representing different places she has lived and providing different memories of that place. The main flower in particular representing London and her time there.

Work from Sophie Mess at the Whitecross Street Party in London. Photo courtesy of Street Art Cities

Margate – Louis Masai (UK)

A plastic bottle floats amongst an ocean forest of kelp and seaweed. Inside the bottle is a spotted catshark, local to the sea around Margate. Trapped, it is part of a shocking statistic that shows that worldwide 2-3 sharks are killed every second. Growing around the bottle, the seaweed reveals the length of time the plastic has already been in the water. Painted as part of the Rise Up Residency which Masai curated and produced, the environmental theme is a constant in the artists work

‘Bottled Shark’ by Louis Masai, part of the Rise Up Residency in Margate. Photo courtesy of the artist via Street Art Cities

To vote make sure you’ve got the app downloaded and then use the links in this article to vote for which mural you want to win.

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