Winning Trip: Artistic summits, Esch, Luxembourg
The European Capital of Culture 2022 Esch-sur-Alzette (or simply Esch) is full of beautiful urban art. Some refer to the city’s industrial past, others to its modern cultural development and local heroes. Many of them are as tall as the buildings on which they appear, which creates a spectacular impression. Artists come from all over the world, Dulk from Spain, Mantra from France for example, to carry out their projects with the support of the city of Esch. It’s hard to choose a favorite. They give the city color and character and are a statement to all who visit. Here comes the art! I simply love it.
One love, Bristol
Bristol is synonymous with music and street art and there is no better example of the two combined than the massive One Love DJ Derek mural, created by some of the best street artists in the world. Inkie, Hazard One, Kosc and Zed in the Clouds painted this colorful and vibrant tribute to the enigmatic DJ. It’s a celebration of the multicultural approach that Bristol holds dear. The major scoop for all street art fans is that an augmented reality experience centered around the mural will be announced soon. It celebrates Derek’s life and his 40 year career as a DJ, was created by digital artist Marc Marot and features music from Bristol legends Laid Blak. It is near Junction 2 on the M32 in Eastville.
Hill Street Views, Birmingham
Peaky Blinders fans visiting Birmingham this summer should head to the brilliant art installation on Hill Street. Paintings by local artist Jon Jones blend fact and fiction to explore the criminal underworld of 19th century Birmingham. Work with West Midlands Police Museum, he’s created haunting images that delve into police records and mugshots to portray the main characters of the infamous gang – Tommy, Polly, Arthur, Alfie and more. The Godfather, Fine Arts Castlewill donate £1 to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, every time an image is posted on social media, using @castlegalleries, #Brum4BCH.
Wilfred Owen on a tram, New Brighton, Merseyside
I am a proud resident of this once neglected seaside town. Through the efforts of local entrepreneur Daniel Davies, every available wall has been covered in street art, celebrating the best of local culture and restoring our community pride. My favorite is the mural of a tram: look closely and you can see poet Wirral Wilfred Owen on board, lovers kissing, a seagull stealing a cheeky bag of crisps. The Beatles (who played here in the long-vanished ballroom), Guide Dogs for the Blind (a New Brighton initiative – the first four dogs were trained here in 1931), a local lifeguard, our teenagers and a variety pets are also celebrated. . More pleasantly, Boris Johnson was the subject of a work of art when our local pub (the James Atherton) decided to call itself The Lying Bastard – although no sign was made. It was previously called The Three ****ends – a reference to Matt Hancock, Johnson and Dominic Cummings – and The Two Helmets, once Cummings left the stage.
Billy meets Banksy, Glasgow
You’ll find images of Billy Connolly gazing down from the gables of Glasgow and artists whose skillful, humorous work is rich in social commentary, very much in the Banksy tradition. An excellent introduction to the art on display is with the Glasgow Street Art Walking Tour, costs £12. Our guide, Karen, explained the background of the genre and introduced us to some fantastic and iconic examples of downtown.
Peng art in Penge, London
The deeply unconnected suburb of South East London Thought is an unlikely Mecca for both street artists and lovers of their work. Brilliant, often intriguing and ever-changing works of art adorn the walls, shutters, gates and palisades, along the main roads and in the alleys and lanes; it seems like new, often fabulous works are added every week. There are pieces with a message, others to make people smile and many are simply magnificent. There are plenty of cafes and pubs to soothe tired feet and even a Brewery with bar.
Lose yourself, Marseille
street art is a gem of an open-air museum in Europe, mostly undiscovered by British tourists. First go to the Basket neighborhood – which has abundant art around every corner and a vibrant hybrid cultural character. Lose yourself in the narrow streets, where you will find the true spirit of this great city. Then stroll through the streets that connect the Cours Julien to the Place Jean-Jaurès, discovering the walls covered with the most extraordinary tags and graffiti. Finally, contemplate your discoveries in one of the many delicious cafes. Worth the trip – you will not regret it.
Cobbled corners, Kaunas, Lithuania
Independent-minded street performers Kaunas, the former capital of Lithuania, has almost 50 years of Soviet concrete to work with. Witty, thought-provoking and downright eerie murals can be found on every cobbled street corner. Artists decorate the mundane spaces between the fantastic modernist buildings of the interwar period – some of which are collapsing, others in the process of being restored. However, the face of Kaunas is rapidly changing as glitzy steel and glass constructions appear along the old streets. Now may be the fleeting opportunity to visit this European capital of culture. Use the excellent buses to get around.
Port of freshness, Bordeaux
We have been to Bordeaux several times but missed this place until we stumbled across it after renting bikes and touring the port area. The work is located at the entrance to a German submarine base built during the Second World War. There are art exhibits inside, but you can visit the base for free. With lots of street art in the surrounding streets and being close to Les Halles de Bacalan (incredible food market) and La Cité du Vin, it is definitely worth a visit.
Socialist side, Barbagia, Sardinia
The small town of Orgosolo, in the Barbagia region of central Sardinia, is known for its political murals, mainly of socialist, communist and pacifist leanings. Not too long ago the town was known for bandits roaming the area, but it seemed quiet and peaceful when I visited, although I did see a few brass casings on the ground.