Drab, ugly Reykjavik is home to a surprising, colorful street art scene.
Street art is highly polarizing. A lot of people think it is graffiti and vandalism of private property. They believe it ruins the natural architectural beauty of a place (if it had architectural beauty to begin with). They believe it is the start to lawlessness – once murals are painted all manner of other crimes will surely follow. Since the days of Jean-Michel Basquiat as SAMO©, street artists have fought for respect, which is something that continues with today’s artists.
But that’s not been our experience. We have found that many of the street art murals are actually painted on walls with the owner’s permission. Many of these murals are museum quality and draw heavily on the Pop-era artistic expressions of Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, Claes Oldenburg, and Roy Lichtenstein. There’s a sophistication that exists. Many street art murals tackle strong political, socioeconomic or social justice topics. While we may not always agree with the artist’s viewpoint, we can’t deny the quality or beauty. These are some of our favorite street art areas around the world.