Brooklyn, New York, is synonymous with art, culture, music, style, parks, food, shopping, scenery, and more. As one of New York’s five boroughs and home to countless museums, Brooklyn is a melting pot of nationalities, linguistic diversity, endless experiences, and extensive history. If you find yourself cooped up by a fireplace in Brooklyn looking for something to do outdoors, especially as the world slowly reopens after COVID 19, look no further than the blocks and blocks of vibrant murals all over the city.
Also known as street art, urban art, or graffiti, seeing murals on the street in Brooklyn is like seeing into the city’s soul; colorful, unrestricted, and creative. Street murals showcase artists’ raw talent, some of whom are world-renowned and others who are amateur but whose talent can draw you in and leave you wanting more.
Murals include mosaics, stickers, freestyle, advertising, stencils, and even some yarn bombing. One of the most beautiful things about murals and street art is that what you see on one trip to Brooklyn may be gone a month later and replaced with a different masterpiece.
As for paint surfaces, murals, street art, or whatever suits your name choice for it, you will find it on walls, shutters, garage doors, roofs, buildings, restaurants, above businesses, metal grates, and even sidewalks have become home to murals in Brooklyn.
Some of Brooklyn’s most impressive murals are:
The Mona Lisa of Williamsburg
This mural shows up on Instagram more than almost any other mural in Brooklyn, making it hard to believe that it was initially a high school student’s entry in a photo contest. Painted by a group of local artists on a four-story donated building, this mural of a young girl pondering is captivating and draws eyes to her as her stony stare seems to speak to everyone looking. The Mona Lisa of Williamsburg overlooks Broadway Avenue at the corner of Bedford Avenue.
The Notorious B.I.G. Mural
The painting of one of the best rappers to come out of Brooklyn, wearing a crown, is one of Brooklyn’s most impressive murals. Christopher Wallace, aka, Biggie, Biggie Smalls, and The Notorious B.I.G., was a rapper and songwriter who was tragically killed at a young age. Painted by Schott Zimmerman and Naoufal Alaoui, the mural replicated the image based on a Rap Pages Magazine’s photo. The Notorious B.I.G. mural is at 1091 Bedford Avenue.
Bushwick Street Art Murals
As a poor, working-class neighborhood, Bushwick has become known as the world capital of street art and has some of Brooklyn’s most impressive murals. The Bushwick Street Art Collective has transformed the area into a mecca of street art and murals. The Bushwick Collective is a group of artists who have attracted other artists from around the world who paint in Bushwick for pleasure and money. Between the artists and the business owners in Bushwick, vibrant, cultural art that speaks to tourists and locals’ souls has taken over city blocks on a large scale and rivals any museum in Brooklyn. Bushwick Street Art is 12 blocks and goes from Troutman Street and St. Nicholas Avenue.
Peace and Love Mural
The vibrant shade of blue that is the backdrop in the Peace and Love mural in Brooklyn is bold enough to transform life right there in front of Chris Riggs’ work. It can take you from simply walking down the street to a time of John Lennon’s peace, love, and harmony from his singing of Imagine. With a rainbow of pastel colors used to paint the words “love and peace” all over the mural, the vibe is strong enough to clear clouds and make any day sunshiny. Peace and Love are at the Marcy Avenue Substation.
DUMBO Walls Murals
DUMBO Walls (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is described as bizarre, unique, and exciting but is the place to go for some of Brooklyn’s most expressive murals and vibrant art. This four-block radius is home to extraordinary art by both famous and local artists. Created in 2013 to beautify the area, the DUMBO Walls has some of the biggest murals in Brooklyn. Make sure you bring a friend to visit, so you have someone to photograph you near the beautiful murals. Dumbo Walls is at York Street.
Jean-Michel Basquiat & Andy Warhol Mural
Hashtagged #fightforstreetart, this vibrant piece is a favorite in Brooklyn by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra. Painted on a brick wall, the abstract design and psychedelic colors are a backdrop to the two figures armed in boxing gloves. The models are of art legend Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat representing boxers. For Kobra, this mural is an artistic expression of the art world aligning. This mural is at Bedford Avenue.
Industry City Murals
Industry City has become home to a movement of vibrant art and eye-catching murals. Calling themselves the Collision Project, the group of artists collaborate and have created murals across the street from the campus. Whether it’s meant to influence or a political, social, or economic statement, the artist expresses a colorful and delighted place. Industry City murals are on walls, freestanding 3D sculptures by Theresa Rivera Design and others are enormous reflections of the city’s diversity and talent. Industry City at the 200 block of 36th Street.
Underhill Walls Murals
Located in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, Underhill Walls became a painting event of murals that started in 2015. Jeff Beler began the project on the wooden panels of unoccupied buildings. He got the OK to paint on 17 of the panels, so he enlisted 20 artists to complete the artwork. The only painting off limit at Underhill Walls is controversial since Jeff’s mission is to spread happiness. Pieces like Frida’s Choice and Zero Productivity do what art is supposed to do, leave you with questions for which you want answers. Underhill Walls is at 214 Underhill Avenue.
The freedom and expressiveness of murals are infectious, and there is no denying that it is a reflection of the city, colorful and unrestricted. There is also no denying that there is no place like Brooklyn, New York for cultural, historic, and impressive murals.