Street art in Budapest: where to find it and… how to look for it
Where to look for the most beautiful street art in Budapest and all the reasons why it’s really unique
When I was a child, I didn’t have the latest games constantly advertised on TV, because my parents didn’t want me to get influenced by the media hype of the ’80s.
I was differently spoiled. For example, I had something all my friends couldn’t even dream of: a service room where I could draw on the walls and it was the thing that made me the most envied girl in the condo.
budapest street art
Since I had very dangerous creative hands, my mom told me:
“Don’t touch the other walls, here (the room above) you can do whatever you like”.
Perhaps, due to my past, I love street art and feel really involved in the
The project that the municipality of Budapest used to tell several local groups: “Take the buildings, especially the ruined ones and draw whatever you want”.
budapest street art
Just like what happened to me when I was a child, these works are carried out after some negotiation: the administration says which buildings are the “wonder room” to be enhanced and the groups do the rest.
I have already talked about how simple it is to find vitality and enthusiasm in Budapest in this post.
Yet, there are also independent artists in charge of the works, such as Obie Platon, Lukas Berge and Richárd Orosz, who have painted the side walls of the buildings to tell something about local history: from reminding everybody that Rubik was from Budapest (the man of the cube) to the celebration of the “match of the century”, when Hungary beat England at Wembley in 1953.
More visionary situations are also depicted, like the alien invasion or celebrations of the cinema and the working class.
budapest street art
The Facade Rehab project murals are easily recognizable because they are huge and located mostly on the buildings side walls. There are also some small and hidden urban guerrilla works, sometimes a bit faded by time or partially covered from other graffiti, made with the stickers technique or very delicate origami.
Many shops In the Jewish quarter also become outposts of urban art due to their signs and external fittings, just like the bike repair shop located close to the king of Ruin Pubs, the Szimplar (I’m going to talk about it in a specific post, but let me tell you in advance that its walls are like the room where I was allowed to anarchically draw whatever I wanted).
Art in the pubs
Another kind of underground figurative art is found exactly inside the Ruin Pubs. These were born in the seventh district out of a real occupation of old buildings and they are today a bastion of the Hungarian capital peculiarity.
While waiting for me to tell you something about the Ruin Pubs, remember to go visit these places, like Pest and the Jewish quarter, not just to have a beer, eat and listen to some music but also to watch the art exhibitions organized by art schools, art groups and independent artists.
Look for the dog with two tails: a special Hungarian story about art and politics.
Then, there’s the street art with clear political overtones and really peculiar stories. Look for the logo of the two-tailed dog around the city. It’s not just about a group of artists but a political party that ran for the 2006 elections just to literally mock at the whole election campaign.
Their campaign promises were: eternal life, peace in the world, reduction of working hours to one day a week, two sunsets a day (of different colours), free beer and lower taxes.
Their graffiti are mostly parodies of national politics, particularly targeting the anti-immigration policies of the conservative parties.
Most of these masterpieces are in the seventh district, namely in the Jewish quarter in Pest.
Look for these image stories when visiting Budapest.
Take it as a game, resting on the child or the artistic inclination within you: walk and look up to find the murals, then try to understand what they stand for or what they tell before looking for more info about them.
Some are mainly didactic and metaphorically represent the city in a pretty clear way. Others are more cryptic, just like the way art and cities should be, two things that walk hand in hand and remind us that the world is beautiful and that the human being is the author of much of this beauty.