I’ve noticed that the more I travel the more interested I become in smaller intricacies of each city I see – particularly graffiti. Having just come back home to Malatya from almost three weeks of traveling in Istanbul, Germany and Israel, I am amazed by the amount of amazingly artistic work I saw and the range of topics covered. Particularly interesting was how a large portion of all the art was in English – I guess the world of graffiti is flat.
When Jen came to visit, we spent a good portion of our last night in Istanbul wandering the side streets off of Istiklal – one of the centers of nightlife on the European side of the city. By chance we stumbled upon Kartal Sokak, if I remember correctly, a small alley of a street covered in graffiti with small cafes between pictures.
I especially love these two contradictory images; how the first piece decries living in the city and holds up a more basic rural life, whereas the second piece says “Life is in the street.”
After Jen returned to America, I went on to Germany where I met up with my mom. Surprisingly – or maybe not actually all of that a surprise now that I think of it – there was almost no visible graffiti in Germany at all. When there was, it was generally not anything worth remembering, just being some basic tagging and squiggles.
This alleyway in Freiburg Im Breisgau was the only real place with graffiti I saw passing through Germany. I suppose this lack of street art though was more than made up for by the overall beauty of the cities and the countryside. I should have expected there to be very little graffiti too, since we stayed exclusively in the renovated historic sections of cities.
Tel Aviv, like Istanbul, also had some fantastic displays of graffiti. The best I found in the city was concentrated closer to the shore, mostly around a breakwater sticking straight out into the Mediterranean.
I primarily went to Israel to visit my friend Mike, but we did plenty of exploring too (posts to come!). One of the cities we visited was Tzfat (or Safed, depending upon how you transliterate it). The city is the historic center of Jewish mysticism, and a large portion of the city was dedicated to an artists quarter, in the middle of which was an amphitheater and this graffiti.
I love the contrast between the intricately done power pox, and then the simple and powerful hand. To be fair and bring it full circle, here is some graffiti from Malatya too – short and sweet, just like the city.