If walls could talk in a city like Dublin, they would tell you the story of a rich and vibrant history, rooted in creativity in the face of hardships and adversity. From the great writers of old to the no less controversial artists of new who are using the walls of our city as a canvass, Dublin is a grey city literally exploding with colour and imagination. Here is a list of some of the most beautiful, provocative and thoughtful Dublin street art and the artists behind them.
ADW is an Irish street artist who started working on the streets in 2008. His work tends to emulate a dark and humorous approach to social and political issues that are current in Ireland. His satirical murals can be found all over Ireland, but a lot of them can be found in Dublin too. He describes his work as an artistic portrayal that draws attention to negative issues by ultimately makes us smile.
What: The Miss based on Gustav Klimpt’s The Kiss, part of the artist’s #Unsocialmedia series
Where: Liberty Lane, Dublin
What: Piece in support of Subset’s Grey Areas project
Solus is one of the few Dublin street artists who is actually on the good side of Dublin City Council. As many artists do, Solus shows us through his vibrant and cheery work how art can be a positive counterpart to negativity. He is known for creating large outdoor murals that encapsulate a disregard for the inner demons that torment us when facing life’s challenges. You can now view his work in other cities such as New York, Miami and Montreal.
What: Trust Me, You’re Lovely
Where: The Hive, 1 Dame Lane
Subset is an Irish street art collective that is known for their outspoken voice and defiant attitude in the face of creative censorship. They are in constant battle with the Dublin City Council over the legitimacy of their murals, many of which have been painted over despite having permission from building owners, public support and celebrity attention (look up Stormzy in Smithfield taking a selfie with a mural of himself). Their most recent initiative, the Grey Areas Project protests the council’s determination to paint over the city streets’ vibrant walls. The censorship of Dublin street art is an issue that many local artists feel strongly about and are getting involved with the project. If you’re interested in their work or this movement, try and find some of their pieces before they’re painted over or check out their website here.
What: Make Dublin Grey Again
Where: Hangar, St Andrew’s Lane
What: Sir David Attenborough mural, erected in honour of his 93rd birthday
Where: Longwood Avenue
Fintan Magee is an Australian street artist who is known for his distinctive style of street art that tells the stories of society. His work holds a mirror up to the realities of our modern world; to the plight of refugees, the economy and the state of our political and ecological climate. A lot of his work is inspired by personal experience, such as the Brisbane floods in 2011, and his topics are always relevant to the environments in which he is painting. Although he tackles morbid issues, the tender stroke of his brush can really be felt when gazing into his work.
What: Sink or Swim? A collaboration between Maser and Magee
What: The Letter
When we say that Joe Caslin’s work is unavoidable, we really mean it. After the Irish Marriage Equality bill was passed Caslin’s work became iconic and he, a household name. However like all iconic pieces of art, of course, it didn’t sit well with everyone. Caslin is a teacher and a social change advocate, and his simple yet powerful pieces are incredibly poignant.
What: Claddagh Embrace or Marriage Referendum Mural
Location: Drury Street
Maser is another famous Irish street artist who is known for his bold and vibrant work that usually harbours a pertinent social or political message. Famous works of his, such as his Repeal the 8th mural, albeit painted over after much controversy in this rather ideologically split country, are notorious and renowned. Although Maser is now based in the US, you can find lots of his art lighting up your walk to work here in Dublin. Some of them are even quite new.
What: You Are Alive, collaboration between Maser and Aches
Where: Saint Kelvin’s, Portobello
Here is another Irish contemporary showcasing his talents to us for free (free in Dublin? Are you mad? No wonder the council wants to shut it all down). With a rich family history rooted in stained glass painting and fine art, you can see the link in his work, especially in his animal murals which is where he first started exploring the depth of this connection and branching away from the graffiti scene. Distinctive and colourful, his work is recognisable in Dublin’s graphic jungle from a mile off.
What: Earley’s “Joycean Makeover” of the Blooms Hotel
Where: Blooms Hotel, Temple Bar
Now this artist is somewhat of a phenomenon on the street art scene. Insane51 is a Greek street art muralist who is pioneering the 3D street art world. That’s right. This guy’s work literally pops out of the walls… but not in the way you may expect. Remember those blue and red 3D glasses you used to wear when you were a kid? Well, you may need to dig those out again. With 3D pieces already scattered across the globe, this is a street artist you definitely want to keep tabs on.
What: No name [click on the picture or here to see its magic!]
Where: Tivoli Theatre Car Park, Francis St
So there you have it, a little insight into the creative soul of this city and those who are constantly transforming it into something beautiful and provocative for us to enjoy. Hopefully, this article will help you recognise these artists if you happen to stumble across their work, old or new. Remember, this city is always changing. New Dublin street art will always replace the old and as this city changes, grows and faces new challenges, it will always be reflected in the walls.
If you’re looking for more vibrant hotspots of Dublin street art to wander through check out Love Lane which is adorned with love letters to Dublin, ceramic tiles and famous words by street artist Anna Doran, Temple Bar, Dame Lane and the Bernard Shaw on Richmond Street. We promise you won’t be disappointed.