People have tried to discredit graffiti as a true art form, for as long as it’s been around. After all, anyone can scribble something on the side of a building with a can of spray paint, right? True. But anyone can put a paint brush to a canvas, too; and that doesn’t make them Picasso. Street art continues to amaze spectators with bold colors, creativity and strong messages, proving not only that it is an art, but that when done well, can be one of the most powerful, provocative and thought-provoking forms out there. From the simple to the complex, political to fun, here are 11 of the most powerful and most incredible graffiti artworks around the world.
12. You Can Stand Under My Umbrella
This gorgeous piece was put there by an artist who goes by the name “seth” somewhere in the U.K. and shows that street art can most definitely beautify a city. The colors in this graffiti, along with creativity of the raindrops, certainly makes this artwork spectacular.
11. Too Late
The most famous street artist on the planet, Banksy, is known for his wide collection of provocative and controversial pieces across the globe. Although the recognized artist has so many impressive artworks to chose from, this piece about a global warming message is one of his most simple, yet most powerful pieces, found on a wall beside Regent’s Canal in North London.
10. Leaf Me Alone
This piece, created by an artist named Pejac in Spain, is proof that sometimes the simplest ideas are the most beautiful and creative. In this graffiti, the artist brilliantly uses the negative space as the actual art, instead of the other way around, like many other artists would do.
If you’re not paying close attention, you might pass right by this sneaky piece in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. It was created by Luthuania-based artist, Ernest Zacharevic as a tribute to the late Russian street artist, Pasha P183 (otherwise known as the Russian Banksy).
8. Love Is Love
Stik is a London based street artist known, appropriately, for his work depicting stick figures in various situations. This simple piece shows a Muslim woman and a white man holding hands, put up in the Bangladeshi neighborhood in Brick Lane, that is known for its racial tension.
7. The Lizard King
This giant reptile was created by artist ROA, on the side of Los Muras Hablan in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This imposing graffiti is well known around the street art community, mainly for its amazing detail on a grand scale.
6. Five Pointz
Located in the Queens borough of New York City, Five Pointz has become known as the world’s premiere graffiti mecca, with nearly every inch of the 200,000-square-foot Aerosol Art Center building tagged. But, in the modern tradition of NYC, it was announced in August, that the factory would be torn down to make way for development. In other words, they’re paving graffiti paradise and putting up a condo lot. It seems like a shame to tear down such a creative and beautiful space.
5. Under The Bridge
As many of us are aware, some of the best art comes from turning something that is completely ordinary into something extraordinary. That is exactly what street artist Dome did in Karlsruhe, Germany, by turning a support beam of a bridge into a giant hand holding it up.
4. Float Like A Butterfly…
…Sting like a bee. Many people are probably familiar with the image that this graffiti artwork portrays. This iconic shot of boxing legend, Muhammad Ali is replicated in a scene from the video game, Street Fighter, on a garage door in Paris.
3. Take Your Pick
Artist Nuxuno Xän certainly didn’t let anything go to waste when he created this impressive and creative work of art. Xän incorporated the tree into his brick wall painting in Fort De France, Martinique.
2. Need Food Not Football
This powerful piece depicting a starving child on the side of a building in Spain, was one of a series that tried bringing attention to more important issues than sports, during the 2014 World Cup. Although the graffiti was extremely brilliant and powerful, it has since been removed.
1. Like, Like, Like…
In the late 1980s and early 90s, a popular graffiti message was “Kill Your Television.” This work of street art, created by Mr. Thomas in Ferentino, Italy serves the same message for a modern, technological age of social media obsession. It’s interesting that the artist used “Facebook” as his main tool of inspiration for this graffiti work.