Travel

Reasons to visit: Athens

Athens - Modern Mythos

Photo Credit: deepstereo – Untitled street art (2013) • photo

Art – And By That I Mean Street Art

I know, me too. When I think of Athens I think of ancient art; statues of old faces without noses, scantily clad women with wings and dogs. Clichés, I know, but there they are. Clever travelers know the truth about clichés – they are only a starting point; a reason to get out of the house.

Athens street art scene started in the 90s but since the financial crisis it’s taken off. The creativity hums in the streets and the art that is being made while we sit here, reading and writing, is exciting, thought-provoking, social, political, authentic and life-affirming.

Street art in Athens

photo credit: (left) the euskadi 11 – cc – cropped • (right): Dimitris Kamaras – cc

Street art puts a new face on “old rocks”. Oh, it leaves the rocks stacked by the ancients and mythological rocks pretty much alone, but the buildings on the street, those are taking on a modern patina.

“Graffiti ultimately wins out over proper art because it becomes part of your city, it’s a tool; “I’ll meet you in that pub, you know, the one opposite that wall with a picture of a monkey holding a chainsaw”. I mean, how much more useful can a painting be than that?” ― Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

Street art in Athens

photo credit: the euskadi 11 – cc

Is street art Greek to you? Ever wonder why in the world…, and who would want to…? Don’t quite know how to appreciate an art form about which that most iconic of street artists once said:

“People look at an oil painting and admire the use of brushstrokes to convey meaning. People look at a graffiti painting and admire the use of a drainpipe to gain access.” ― Banksy, Wall and Piece.

Street art in Athens

photo credit: Bryce Edwards • cc

Curious For More?

Here is an opportunity for anyone curious about street art and the people who make it: Discover the Streets with a Street Art Guided Tour from Alternative_Athens. Your guide achilles speaks super English and is a street artist himself. His walking tour lasts 3 hours and you can be very sure that you’ll experience Athens in a way your friends, who spent all their time cruising museums and ruins didn’t. Learn more about contemporary Greek society first hand. Discuss their politics, their worldview, ask questions and get personal answers from the streets.

And when you get back, please write to me and tell me how you liked it, what you learned and what surprised you the most.

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