Reykjavic in Iceland, the world’s northernmost capital city, may be in a far corner of the world to many, but it has a somewhat surprisingly vibrant street art scene.
A very small city, it is bursting with color and character. Architecture is very bland overall, so buildings are painted bright colors to cover the predominance of corrugated steel and concrete (natural materials such as stone and wood are not in high abundance in Reykjavic). It is also home to very large areas of street art.
City officials in Reykjavic used to basically ignore graffiti in the streets of the city; however unauthorized graffiti has been cracked down on in recent years. As a result of this, street artists seek permission from owners of property in order to be allowed to paint on their walls. They also seek business commissions – hence street art in Iceland’s capital is more streamlined and contained today.
One quirky feature of Reykjavic street art is the abundance of images of old men with huge handlebar moustaches. There are also eclectic sculptures in the public areas. Simply walk the streets of Reykjavic to enjoy street art and murals on the houses around the city.
If you love art but don’t wish to pay admittance to galleries and museums, the streets of Reykjavic are the answer. And the city recognizes this. In the first week of November every year, Wall Poetry is held in the city. In collaboration between Iceland Airwaves and Berlin’s Urban Nation, musicians and street artists collaborate to bring galleries and recording studios to the streets in a complementary way. Enjoyed day or night, in the snow or under the northern lights, it is unparalleled for expression and even mystique.
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