Europe is home to some of the best street art in the world. This cannot be denied, all the big names such as Banksy, Space Invader, Vhils, Above and Stik either come from or paint in Europe. Once considered as mere graffiti or vandalism street art has evolved to become a tool for mass communication which blends into the urban landscape and interacts with the audience. In areas where there are high levels of unemployment and deprivation, street art has become a tool for people to vent their anger and frustration.
Fortunately, street art is now increasingly being considered a legitimate form of art. Naturally, many politicians still see it as pure vandalism (usually with an anarchist message) and seek to curtail it, but many of today’s artists have garnered good reputations and support from curators and galleries. The street art scene is most active in Berlin, which continues a long tradition of art as an expression of political freedom, started in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down and the East Side Gallery was established. This isn’t a traditional gallery, but an open air memorial for freedom and reconciliation, taking up 1.3km of the remaining part of the wall. The same spirit of creativity as part of a counterculture movement lives on in the streets of Europe today.