The best quote I heard in Dublin came from an employee at the wonderful Jam Art Factory gallery who told me that Dublin’s street art scene is really just getting started as the country is essentially so Roman Catholic that it’s hard to break the rules! It was only about 10 years ago that street art beyond basic tagging started appearing. I could definitely see what she meant as we found lots of interesting graffiti art (writing), but not too much street art. Quite different from London. That being said, there were still some wonderful works to be found!
First up, Anner and I both loved the work of an artist, Aoife Hanrahan, who calls herself Stencilize. That’s right – Stencilize is a female street artist! She’s one of the first we’ve come across who’s starting to make a name for herself and her work is GREAT!
I was also really pleased to see a piece of her work in small size for sale at the Jam Art Factory. They support a number of the local street artists, selling prints of their work as well as smaller scale originals. Do check out their website – here’s a link directly to their pieces by Stencilize – as they are happy to ship internationally!
One great thing we found, similar to London, was that the city must have a program allowing/supporting/paying? artists to paint the street electrical boxes in all sorts of designs. They ran the gamut from really abstract to simple to photorealistic. Waaay nicer than just seeing green electrical boxes on the street everywhere, and I bet it helps keep folks from tagging or leaving trash on them.
One thing we did notice was a lot more folks out painting during the day. We might see one or two while touring other cities, but I’d guess we saw a half dozen works in progress during out visit.
That last shot leads me into showing some of the best (to me!) graffiti we saw. There were a couple of main areas, along Camden Row, near the Bernard Shaw Pub and in this private parking area on Francis Street, and the talented artists seemed to stay mostly there. These are definitely artists, not just taggers!
Back to the street art side of things! More than any city we’ve explored to date, businesses were having street artists paint on their gates and walls as advertisements. Sort of a throwback to how carneys would have signs enticing you to go into the attractions or old shops might have signs showing what they were for folks who might not be able to read. Afficianados would probably downplay these as street art, but they were still fun to see.
As opposed to some other cities where we took organized tours (can’t recommend them enough if you ever get the chance!), Dublin didn’t seem to have any – at least not when we were there. So Anner and I were just exploring on our own. Not sure why exactly, but we found a few pieces we liked that were essentially just big word poems. By big, I mean 2-3 stories tall!
And now, a collection of other pieces that caught my eye.
If these have inspired you and you’d like to see more, here are links to all my previous posts on street art and graffiti we’ve found around the world!