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International Street Art

Walking around Rio proved hazardous for me earlier this year, but only because I was looking everywhere except where I was going. Early on, my artist friends made sure I didn’t miss the explosion of art crawling up buildings and curving around walls, and I had my eyes—and my camera lens—on Rio’s world-class street art for the rest of the week.

Since that trip, I’ve been noticing graffiti—and graffiti appreciation—everywhere: in the Sao Paulo video Jessica recently shared; in the New York Times and TIME Magazine; in accounts of Bristol, England; on my walk to work in Manhattan. And also in my memories of other places. There’s something about the way street art reflects the place it’s found while also hinting at the artists’ often global travels that draws me in.

Besides Rio, here are my three favorite destinations for impromptu outdoor art.

Belfast: The West Belfast murals, and the art along the city’s Peace Wall, epitomize political street art and simultaneously create senses of history and urgency. I loved Belfast in general, and touring the murals was the highlight of my trip to Ireland.

Berlin: In another street-art scene rife with bold political statements, the remaining segments of the Berlin Wall boast colorful murals that only add to their importance.

Barcelona: When I think of Barcelona, I think of wandering La Rambla at night while maybe a dozen artists show off their work on the asphalt and human statues pose alongside the avenue. By day, Barcelona’s collection of street art is equally impressive.

Please share your favorite scenes as well—it’s time to update my travel to-do list!


My name: Michelle Doucette

How I earn my keep: I'm an editor at

Favorite way to get around: Some of my favorite trips involved renting cars in foreign countries and driving through the countryside, stopping on whims. You get a feel for the culture away from the big cities and meet interesting people on the road, including, I must admit, an embarrassingly high number of local policemen. I suppose it would be prudent to learn all of the traffic laws ahead of time.

Best meal I've had while traveling: Since a succession of gelato cones probably doesn't count as a meal, my favorite must have been a fresh crabmeat lunch prepared by a St. John sailboat captain while we took a break from snorkeling in the Caribbean. Sharing baklava as the sun came up over Paros, Greece, (while, once again, not technically a meal) was also memorable.

Travel ambitions: Since climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, I've figured out that I'd like to keep trekking while traveling. I've got my eyes on epic hikes in Nepal, Bhutan, and Peru.



OMG! I love street art. We have so much in San Francisco, we don’t know what to do with it.

By far the best place to ogle gorgeous and creative street murals in our fair city is Clarion Alley. A friend of mine also chronicled some of our rampant sidewalk art on his now-defunct Painted Ground blog.

I also totally dig international street artist Banksy. I saw an amazing show of his last year in L.A., and he just keeps getting bigger.

Great blog!!

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