Reykjavik in Iceland is very colourful both in its bright colour buildings and attractive street art. Recently bombingscience.com, a global graffiti website, has published a list of top 99 cities for graffiti art and Reykjavik was number 9 on that list. BombingScience.com based their list on Instagram data. This means that graffiti in tiny Reykjavik is one of the most instagrammed graffiti in the world. As it is a temporary thing, depending on the time of your visit you would enjoy different pieces of art. Street art is very often commissioned by some organisations. One of the most visible street art projects lately is that of music festival Iceland Airwaves called Wall Poetry. It brings together artists from all over the world to create their artworks inspired by music. Starting in 2016, Wall Poetry pairs 10 musicians and 10 street artists to interpret songs and combine artistic styles. You can find many pieces of street art on the main shopping street Laugavegur or on the streets close to it. More awesome examples are located in the old port area and other places all around the city. Here are some incredible samples for your attention.
Back of the building at Hverfisgata 4-6. Li Hill with John Grant, inspired by the song “Pale Green Ghosts” by John Grant. The details of the dancer's face and throat as she turns, so elegant, are so strange, floating above the neighbouring dwelling houses and office buildings.
Laugavegur 23. This piece can be found on the main shopping street, Laugavegur. Created by an artist known as Caratoes, the artwork is inspired by a song called ‘Óður til Móður’ (Ode to Mother) by Icelandic band Ylja. It was part of a series of artwork commissioned by the 2015 Iceland Airwaves music festival.Laugavegur 25. Traces of American culture including this American eagle can be found in Reykjavik. Author Selur or Örn Tönsberg says that his work is allowed to stay there for five years.
Laugavegur 35. Wall Poetry series. Elle with Úlfur Úlfur, inspired by the song “Tuttugu og Eitthvað” by Úlfur Úlfur.
Laugavegur 66. Wall Poetry series. D*FACE and Agent Fresco inspired by Laxdæla Saga.
Artwork at the side of the building on Laugavegur 70 depicts gyrfalcon, the national bird of Iceland. Gyrfalcons have the unique ability to change characteristics; they have many colours and varieties in their species. It’s interesting that gyrfalcons don’t build their own nests, they nest inside cliffs and rocky holes. Sometimes, they lay eggs in another bird’s nest.
Three nicely looking birds with no eyes on Frakkastigur. Couldn’t find their story.
Sometimes it’s not easy to recognize where colourful building turns into a street art. Here are two examples of local vendors that attract attention this way.
Brauð & co, situated on Frakkastígur 16, opened its doors just in 2016. It’s not just a brightly painted building but also a famous bakery in Reykjavik. It was started by Ágúst Einþórsson and three of his friends. You can watch them bake everything right there in the store. Their cinnamon buns are seriously out of this world.Drekinn (The Dragon) on Njálsgata 23is an inexpensive place to grab a bite to eat. Drekinn has been open for more than 40 years as a small convenience shop. It was only a year ago that the shop extended its services to fast-food.
This piece on far part of Laugavegur at number 161, signed “Raff 2012,” depicts Icelanders’ dependence on the sea and fishing.Two impressive murals at Ægisgata near Old Port. Wall poetry series. This imaginative and artistic wall mural can be seen on a building on Ægisgata Street between Verturgata and Geirsgata in Reykjavik, Iceland. Phlegm collaborated on his wall with MÚM the Band.Inspired by a song from Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men, street artists Wes21 and Onur created a large mural titled Heavy Stones Fear No Weather. The previous works of two Swiss creatives include murals for different festivals in Berlin and Miami. Heavy Stones Fear no Weather seems to follow both creatives’ interests. It is a depiction of a fictional world where a stone fist rises as a sign of persistence and endurance. Widewalls.ch named it among 20 best murals in the world in 2016.
Want to explore more of the city? Read about 12 awesome things to do in Reykjavik! What is your favourite piece of street art? Share in the comments section!
Author: Anita Sāne
About the author
Anita is a part-time traveler, passionate photographer and a mature career woman from Latvia, traveling mostly solo for more than 10 years. She is a skilled travel planner planning and executing her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her also on Instagram and Pinterest.