Street art is a very ephemeral artform: new artworks are constantly appearing, and older ones might disappear. So the ultimate tip to explore Antwerp through street art is the Street Art Antwerp website or download the free Street Art Cities app on your smartphone. It’s the very first universal street art app, and available in 30 cities already. If your city isn’t available yet, check out the web platform. Chances are you’ll find it there, along with 470 other cities.
Tim Marschang's 5 favourite street art pieces in Antwerp
Tim Marschang Streetartwerpenaar
Tim Marschang is a maintenance coordinator in his daily life, but when he’s not working, he’s taking pictures of new street art and graffiti in Antwerp, organising guided tours on the subject and facilitating new mural projects in and around Antwerp. Although not an artist himself, he loves promoting his city through its street art and its creative artists. He’s also co-founder of the international Street Art Cities initiative, a global community of locals (or hunters) who document their city’s street art on a handy website. The project started in Antwerp and Heerlen and has now expanded to more than 465 cities all over the world.
1) Mural for my Father by El Mac (LA)
If you take a peek in one of the many side streets of the Meir, Antwerp’s grand shopping street, you’ll find this enormous black and white portrait. It is part of the Baroque Murals project, curated by Yvon Tordoir for the city’s celebration of Baroque art and culture in 2018. This piece is an interpretation of a depiction of Saint Joseph from the mid-1600s by Flemish painter Michaelina Wautier. El Mac, the Los Angeles based artist, got a bit more personal with his interpretation: after painting so many symbolist pieces honoring mothers, this might be his first large-scale work honoring fathers, and one modeled after his own father at that. This mural was produced with great love as a dedication to him, as well as good fathers everywhere. The title is a nod to one of his favorite songs, Horace Silver's 'Song for My Father' from 1965.
2) Will to fly by Smok (BE)
Berchem is known as the street art district of Antwerp and even has its own 'alderman of street art', promoting its open-air gallery. Local artist Smok had been sitting on this project for three years when he found this inspiring picture on "That Dad Blog", which follows the adventures of Alan Lawrence and his family. Alan's son Will is blessed with an extra chromosome and believes he has the ability to fly. Alan tries to capture his son's special power in photographs, and shares the flying adventures of his son. It was this picture that inspired Smok to paint this perfect wall.
3) Basje by Djoels (BE)
Het Eilandje is a neighbourhood in full transformation, forming the bridge between the old city centre and the harbour of Antwerp, and if you pay attention you can spot some pretty cool street art there. During the Tizarte festival in 2018, female street artist Djoels visited Antwerp to paint her biggest mural yet. In three days time she finished the portrait on the right, honoring her fish Basje, who passed away while she was sketching. Because she had some more time left, she decided to paint a second portrait right next to it. Djoels is a renowned tattoo artist and won the best artist award in the Benelux 'Ink Master' competition in 2017.
5) Meeting of Styles Arena
If you want to see the colourful side of Antwerp, this place is a must-visit. Every year the Meeting of Styles lands here, when the local Aerosolkings invite over 50 artists from all over to paint all the walls. You’ll find 3000 m² of art and probably need half a day to check them all out, ranging from abstract graffiti to photo realistic gems. In 2019 this event will take place during the weekend of 10 and 11 August.
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