Book Review: Lonely Planet Street Art

Lonely Planet Street Art
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I enjoy street art. I like the colour, the boldness and the frequent subversiveness. And I like the way that street art is often associated with the renewal of places that have been damaged, whether through poverty, violence, or – as in the case of Christchurch, New Zealand – by earthquake.

Lonely Planet Street Art
Street Art, from Lonely Planet

So I was very happy to receive a review copy of Street Art by Ed Bartlett, a new title from Lonely Planet. This lavishly illustrated book is a celebration of street art in cities around the world, from New York to London to Johannesburg. It shows how street art has become much more than just “graffiti”, and how it has emerged into an art form of its own.

The book begins with a brief introduction, pointing out that painting on walls was the earliest known form of human art. It draws an important distinction between street art and graffiti, saying that it is essential for artists to “continue to respect their environment – and most importantly the communities within them”. Then there are explorations of art in 42 different cities. The majority are in Europe, North America and Latin America, but street art is universal and cities from elsewhere are also featured.

Lonely Planet Street Art
Reproduced with permission from Street Art, © 2017 Lonely Planet

Most of the time the art is allowed to speak for itself, sharing its message from the pages of the book just as it does from the sides of buildings. Even for cities like San Francisco or London where I had explored the street art, I managed to find something new here. Street Art also contains listings of street art galleries (if that isn’t a contradiction in terms!), and of the various festivals that take place throughout the year.

Lonely Planet Street Art
Reproduced with permission from Street Art, © 2017 Lonely Planet

Travellers can use Street Art as a guide, with suggestions for where to see the best street art in the cities they visit. Any anyone with an interest in art will enjoy the interviews with street artists and the descriptions of how street art has evolved in different places (sometimes treated with suspicion in Copenhagen but greeted with enthusiasm in Stavanger in Norway…) But I suspect that many readers will be content to travel vicariously with the author, and just to enjoy the many colourful and vibrant pictures.

Street Art is available from the Lonely Planet shop, price £14.99

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9 thoughts on “Book Review: Lonely Planet Street Art”

  1. What a great looking book. Christchurch always has new pieces to find and admire each time we return, it really gives a sense of both spirit and revival in the face of what is still very much a broken city.

  2. Certainly street art is a growing trend in cities. When i travel I now search for this art. Great that Lonely Planet came out with this book.

  3. It’s always so fun to be in a new city and run into street art. And even a city that you think you know well can change significantly when street art is added to the urban environment. The book, “Lonely Planet Street Art” looks really interesting and would be a fun guide when when traveling! Anita

  4. In my hometown, street art just randomly shows up… So often it’s just gang symbols, but once in a great while you stumble across something truly amazing.

    This looks like something I need in my life.

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About Karen

WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren. I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 60 countries at the last count). I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica (I still hope to get there one day…), and my current favourite destinations are Italy, Spain and North America. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way.

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