21 Mar On the Lookout for Budapest’s Street Art
Take a walk through downtown Budapest, whether it’s the more shabby-chic feel of the inner VII District or its grittier neighbour in the VIII, you’ll find street art and murals adorning Budapest’s one empty firewalls or on crumbling walls of old apartment blocks and office buildings. While graffiti is something you’ll find in any urban city or space across the world, it’s when those scribbles turn into a work of art that can lead to iconic artwork in its own right. Take some time to stop and appreciate Budapest for its street art, and you’ll find the city a living art gallery.
If you stroll through the old Jewish Quarter, you’ll notice its bright, artistic firewalls. This neighbourhood famous for its ruin bars was once populated with decaying and crumbling houses. While some of these dilapidated buildings were converted into bars, pubs or got some much needed renovation, many houses were also torn down. This left behind empty lots, which were turned into parking spaces or used as trendy outdoor garden-bars like Kȍleves Kert, but also left behind empty firewalls.
Urban art group NeoPaint Works were commissioned to brighten up the district, and you can find their art work or work from other groups like Colorful City, or artists such as Obie Platon, Lukas Berge, Richárd Orosz on a variety of firewalls depicting the Rubik’s Cube, the Polish-Hungarian Friendship Tree, murals dedicated to to the “Match of the Century”, when Hungary defeated England in Wembley Stadium in 1953. Other interesting firewall works include alien invasions depicted in “Buda or Pest?”, façade imitations or psychedelic depictions.
While it’s hard to miss the artwork on the inner city firewalls, some of the more guerrilla examples of local street art are a blink or miss it experience. Some of these are more permanent fixtures in the city, others disappear after being painted over, removed or simply lost due to their delicacy, like the paper origami birds stuck up on a lamppost in Kálvin Tér. Keep an eye out for the stenciled couple in 19th century dress in Lovassy László street or the meer cat drilling in into a flaking the VIII District.
It’s also interesting to pay attention to some of the political connotations in Budapest’s street art. The Kétfarku Kutya Párt (Two Tailed Dog Party) might be better known for their parody posters from the government anti-immigration campaign, but are also responsible for some of the city’s subversive street art. You might find their logo stuck around the city, or stickers, stencils or work with a more political statement.
Take a look at the city’s lampposts, toilet doors, indoor and outdoor walls and you can’t escape stickers. While some are advertising related, you’ll also find some street art gems among them. These are of course another form of temporary street art, and can be a blink and miss it kind of experience, but this marriage of Dadaism and street art is no less valid form of art in its own right.
So next time you visit Budapest – keep your eyes open and take time to look at the city’s graffiti.