The Street Art Scene in Athens

The street art scene of Athens has been transmogrified from a niche subculture into a widely-accepted expression of political and social opinion by local street artists. To merely say the subculture was transformed wouldn’t sufficiently capture the dramatic change in the street art landscape in Athens.

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Gizi neighborhood of Athens.

In most people’s minds the connotations of the words “street art” and “graffiti” are one in the same, and often associated with vandalism, urban plight, and decay. In both cases, they are “art on the street,” however there are significant differences that separate the two. Graffiti is illegal and typically used as a self-expression for urban youth. Street art, on the other hand, is often done by artists with formal training with permission or commissioned.

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Thissio neighborhood of Athens.

According to a local Travel Agency, Alternative Athens, the New York Times calls Athens “a contemporary mecca for street art in Europe.” Apparently, Athens has joined London, Berlin, New York, and Paris in the ranks of cities with a vibrant street art scene. For those interested in the urban culture of Athens, the Alternative Athens Travel Agency offers a street art tour of Athens.

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Plaka neighborhood of Athens. Curly-haired girl by street artist, Sonke.

Sad, curly-haired girls created by the street artist, Sonke, can be found all over Athens.

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Plaka neighborhood in Athens.

I came across plenty of graffiti in the back streets of Plaka, painted mainly on old abandoned buildings, a statement of the difficult economic times in Greece.

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Plaka neighborhood in Athens.

Graffiti or art? You decide.

 

This week’s Photo Challenge theme is transmogrify, where Michele Weber challenges us to  show something already transformed, on the cusp of transformation, or that you wish you could transform.