Thanks to Tel Aviv’s unique geographical location and cultural make-up which includes people from across the globe and across the religious spectrum the city’s graffiti holds many poignant political and social messages.
The quality and variety of the thought provoking graffiti is also varied. Among the graffiti you’ll see there are works by famous Israeli artists including the renowned and prolific graffiti artist Rami Mairi; INSPIRE; street art photography artist Millikatz and by the MAS graffiti School. Tel Aviv is also home to the world’s youngest graffiti artist AYA.
Art is often born out of difficult social, cultural and political situations so it is no wonder that here in the Middle East so much art is produced. In Tel Aviv the municipality has a tolerant attitude to graffiti and if it is deemed artistic it is often left untouched. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art even holds an annual exhibition featuring some of the top street artists.
You can learn a little Hebrew even on a short trip to Israel just by noticing signs, graffiti and bumper stickers. The most bohemian parts of Tel Aviv are known for their artistic graffiti and there are tours which take you on a walk through the streets of these areas pointing out the graffiti and explaining the Hebrew and social messages.
1. Tel Aviv Graffiti Tours
A graffiti tour of areas like Florentine, Tel Aviv is an innovative and cool way of getting to know the city. Not only will you learn a bit of Hebrew but also get to know the social issues which artists choose to comment on. On a graffiti tour your guide will also point out interesting street signs and bumper stickers. Tours of this kind re led by young and hip locals who know the best places to go and the most “in” neighborhoods. You’ll find out about the best cafes, bars and nightclubs and can ask your guide for recommendations. Your guide will explain about the artist’s “tags” and signature styles.
There are works of art on the walls of Tel Aviv by international and local graffiti artists. Your guide will tell you about the local street art culture and contemporary art scene and the many forms it comes in. A tour of the city’s graffiti and hip neighborhoods usually takes about two hours. Other interesting and unusual tours on the streets of Tel Aviv include cooking tours, restaurant tours, market tours, pub crawl tours and cycling tours. All of these tours add an extra dimension to regular tours and allow you to really interact with locals and get to know another side of the city and Israeli culture.
2. Top Tel Aviv Street artists
If you’d rather discover these hidden gems by yourself then take a self-guided tour of the city discovering the street art as you go. One of the top street artists is “Know Hope” who has been on the street art scene since 2004 and left his signature image of a man with his heart on his sleeve. He recently exhibited a project entitled Truth and Method at the Gordon Gallery. “Dede” painted the clever and witty piece entitled Wind up Teeth on the Tel Aviv Dolphinarium. His signature image is a band aid which he says is a symbol of the search for solutions to personal and social problems. His work often comments on current events. He has also left his mark on the walls of New York, Germany and Switzerland. “Sened” is a stencil artist recognizable by his images of little box people. His work is smaller than most street art and is often found in places you wouldn’t expect. Wonky Monkey is recognizable by the monkey which appears in most of his pictures. He likes to comment on the human condition. “Signor Gi” uses stencils, paste ups and painting. His signature mark is of a skull. “Dioz” paints large, colorful street art which fills up entire walls. His work is less political and more about fun and bringing a little light humor to the streets. “Nitzan Mintz” was named one of the country’s most prominent artists in 2013 and has since gone on to be mentioned in Timeout and Calcalist. She makes social comment in beautifully formed Hebrew text on the walls of Tel Aviv. “Klone Yourself” is a local artist whose street art often features creatures which are half human and half animals. His work has been shown in New York. Maya is one of the few female graffiti artists in Tel Aviv. She exhibits in galleries, has featured on TED Talk and paints on public walls. She uses a wide range of materials and in 2015 created a large scale instillation in Japan of her signature black birds.
So get out your walking shoes and explore Tel Aviv’s street art either on an organized tour or by yourself, you’ll be amazed at the art you discover!
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