I love street art.
I love it so much that friends will send me photos of ones they see. Receiving pictures of particularly awesome street art always brightens my day. While living in Norwich, I saw several nice pieces.
Norwich is very proud of its “City of Stories” campaign; the theme of which can be found in the seven murals belonging to the project. Many of the campaign’s murals appear in my list, but not all. For a complete list of the project’s murals with photos, click here.
Quick PSA: street art is not the same as graffiti. In street art the artist has obtained prior consent. Graffiti is a criminal offense. I am in no way supporting defacing public property, but I appreciate art which adds character and tells a story.
1. To slay the heart of every hopeless romantic
The number one spot of my list is not a coincidence. This is my favourite piece. It’s the first mural on this list from the Norwich ‘City of Stories’ Mural Project, but it was not the first one created.
The mural was inspired by one of the stone placards outside Norwich Castle and the image is the Norwich Snapdragon, linked to the medieval Norwich Guild of St George. The text is a combination of two versions of mummers plays featuring St George. The first selection comes from a modern reworking by Steve Pratchett in 1981. The second part is from an 1884 Mumming Play by J.H. Ewing, ‘St George in The Peace Egg.’
To me, the verses sound like a medieval love ballad fitting perfectly with courtly love literature.
Art and artifacts related to medieval history and literature will always win in my book. Always.
Find the dragon mural on Red Lion Street opposite Debenhams.
Artist: Malca Shotten
2. The Case for Norwich: Books as architectural art
When visiting a new place, I spend a lot of time taking pictures of architecture that I find interesting. It’s one of the ways I discover a city and also its cool street art.
The book spines in this mural represent iconic buildings around Norwich (a few to note: Norwich Castle on the far left of the bookcase, Norwich Guildhall in the centre, and Norwich City Hall the fourth from the right).
What I love about this mural is that I am an absolute sucker for books. As an undergraduate, I studied English Literature. In my spare time I write novels (currently, I have four at various states of completion — it’s sheer madness), poems, and this blog.
I own so many books that I could stack them and fashion furniture from them. Anyone who has helped me move (and I have moved house more often than the number of my WIPs) knows just how extensive and heavy my collection is.
Incorporating architecture in the form of books on a shelf is purely genius. The artist named this piece A Case for Norwich — again, genius. I’m a huge fan of this guy’s brilliance.
Find it on Castle Street, across from Joules.
Artist: Derek Jackson
3. An excellent reminder for everyone to heed
With all the hostility and negativity in this world, this simple message is refreshing. I love the vibrant green and how the alternating font styles tie the message together in an interesting way.
Find it on Rose Lane.
4. Poignant portrayal of what we publicize versus what we hide
I remember the first time I noticed this piece. I was walking with my housemates. I stopped mid-conversation to take this photo.
It’s such a powerful image, and one that especially resonates given the number of homeless people in Norwich. What detracts from this poignant piece, however, are the unnecessary graffiti doodles. They should be painted over.
Find it on the corner of Pottergate and Lower Goat Lane, near Grosvenor Fish Bar and Strangers Coffee House.
5. Social branding
This piece blew me away. It was so relevant to the last twelve months of my life. The reason I moved to Norwich was to get my masters in business with a specific focus on branding. This piece is utterly brilliant: mixing the biblical message of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit with the way brands make up our daily lives and become almost tangible parts of ourselves.
I even had this image and my mobile wallpaper for several months. Now, it’s Harvey (my Shih Tzu).
Found this walking home from city centre. It was near street level. Recently, I returned to try and pinpoint the exact location for this post and I couldn’t find this piece. I think it might have been painted over. I think it was on St. Giles Street or Upper St. Giles Street.
6. Pineapple, code for everything interesting
Just found this gem two weekends earlier when, again, I forced Moles to accompany me on a walk. I wanted to check out the graffiti tunnel. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of interest — mostly just generic word graffiti (boring). But then we saw this piece at the end.
I have a thing about pineapples. Besides being one of my favourite fruits, for some reason the word gets used in a lot of inside jokes. Or it’s the code word my girlfriends and I use when out at bars to casually indicate we need rescuing. Not sure why.
One time, I looked up pineapple in the Urban Dictionary to see if there was some meaning I was forgetting. I don’t recommend it if curse words offend you.
Find it in the legal Graffiti Tunnel, the Grapes Hill underpass
Artist: Knapple (most likely)
7. Positive messages are cool
I love the simplicity of the message stacked next to the graphic of interlocking geometric shapes. It leaves me feeling positive, and that every thing in the world is cool — if viewed through the proper lens.
Here’s another one that I could not track down a second time. I thought it was near the one on Rose Lane.
8. Medieval Norwich
This is another piece I just found a couple weekends back. I was walking from Norwich Castle and happened to spot this from across the street. It’s the final piece in the City of Stories mural project.
The artist says it’s based on an Iceni marketplace, a tribe in Britain during Iron Age and early Roman era. However, when I noticed it I thought “medieval Norwich”.
Find it on the archway connecting Castle Meadow to Arcade Street.
Artist: Joey La Meche
9. Underground Gallery
Click on the collage to expand the photo gallery.
I’m not a fan of being underground. I will avoid tunnels whenever possible. The quirky art in the Underground Gallery, however, is worth venturing below street level for a look. This is only a small selection of the art on display — the ones I particularly enjoyed.
I was feeling particularly melancholy when I snapped the image of ‘Absolutely Nothing Lasts Forever’. I don’t remember why I was glum, but the vibrant colors and unapologetic brazen message resonated with me.
The humanoid doodles tickled me. They are brilliant. I’m sitting here staring at the three and trying to pick a favourite. It’s impossible. I can’t.
Find it in the Underground Gallery at St Stephen’s Underpass
10. Books Shape the World
Yet another new piece to the official City of Stories Murals. This one utilises the book motif, but incorporates it on a larger scale — depicting Norfolk beyond Norwich itself. Norwich pops up from the pages of the open book, but the River Wensum flows from the city into the Norfolk Broads.
Find it on the rear side of Tesco Metro on Pottergate.
Artist: Julia Allum
11. City of Stories Unveiled
This piece is the first mural in the City of Stories project. While it’s really cute, the concept is too straight-forward for me. It’s probably my least favourite of the series; most likely because it’s the first and the recent ones are so creative and innovative. It’s still lovely though. Another draw back is the location makes it difficult to photograph.
Find it on the wall of Pymm & Co, Berr St
Artist: Poppy Cole
This is just a taste of what Norwich has to offer. Numerous other pieces of street art exist. Did I miss you favourite one in Norwich? Let me know in the comments.
If you have awesome street art near you, I’d love to see or hear about them.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoy my quirky slice-of-life posts, sign up to get e-mail alerts when new posts are added.