No matter where you go in the world, street art is an omnipresent aspect of the urban landscape which, if you look closely enough, can be found in almost all cities. Admittedly, when it comes to street art, it’s something that I’m guilty of overlooking; very often I don’t even notice that it’s there. However, a new found interest and appreciation has been instilled in me, following a recent street art tour in the Belgian city of Antwerp, where the street art is bright and bold and commands attention.
The tour was hosted by street art enthusiast and Antwerp local, Tim Marschang. His affinity for Antwerp’s thriving street art scene was apparent from the get-go as he began to shed some light on the culture attached to it and the painstaking process that goes into creating a piece.
The tour took us all around the city to its street art hotspots. He explained that Antwerp has really embraced street art culture and there are a few designated areas across the city that are dedicated especially for street art.
We were taken to a part of the city where international street art festivals are held annually, with street artists coming from all corners of the global to participate and leave their mark its walls. Tim explained that there is a real sense of respect amongst street artists, so works rarely get vandalised or defaced.
He explained that ‘tagging’ is common practice in the street art community – it’s essentially where artists leave their mark to signify that they’ve been to a place. Their individual ‘tag’ can range from anything from their name or initials to a small, easily replicated picture.
This piece (above right) was my favourite of all – it’s 3D so if you look at it with 3D glasses it really comes to life. It’s pretty clever.
In an attempt to appropriate street art into the city, the local council commissioned these street art murals in the underground stations. They act as a talking point and add a little intrigue to people’s commute.
Tim is currently building a useful street art website, which complies all of the best street art attractions in cities across the world, so you can make a day out of it and experience you own street art tour, be it in Antwerp or beyond.
Many thanks to Heverlee beer for organising this tour.