Not sure to how many cities you have been lately, but as far as I am concerned, Zagreb is definitely one of the artsiest cities I have seen across Europe. Over the last twenty years, the streetart scene in Zagreb evolved enormously. It is not by accident that some call the city a big museum in itself. Artists are using not only the city’s walls for expressing their art. Although street murals / graffities are the most popular form of streetart, Zagreb has lot more to offer. But let’s start at the beginning.
The art scene.
As long as I can remember, all neighbourhoods of Zagreb were full of murals. Most were about the Dinamo Zagreb football club and their fanclub ‘Bad Blue Boys’. In the centre however, you had to look harder to find a pretty mural (and I am not talking about ugly tags, those you could see all over). In 1992, everything started to change. Back then, two guys named Lunar and 2fast founded the first Croatian graffiti group YCP. Shortly after, another popular group, GSK, enters the scene. In 1995, the first graffiti magazine in Zagreb, ‘ZGB Kaos’, gets published. And with this, the streetart Zagreb scene as we know it today is officially born.
It was back then when this art form started to gain popularity amongst ‘serious’ players of social life. Even first companies began to order graffiti artists to paint big murals for them. It marked the beginning of commercialisation of this popular art form in Zagreb. The Zagreb bank (Zagrebačka banka) and VIP net (telecommunication company), just to name a few, are among the first companies to pay artists for murals. Since then, the art spread around the whole city until it finally reached the city centre.
Most of the big murals you can see around the city centre today, are commissioned projects from some of Croatia’s most talented artists. And while the murals are coming and going, below you will find a mashup collection of my favourites.
Check out their Instagram by clicking on their name. It will allow you to see more of the work they have been doing all around the world! By the way: My favourite pieces are from Lonac as he is always finding a way to incorporate the structure and objects of the wall into his murals 🙂 He makes it look so realistic, creative, just amazing.
With Zagreb gaining popularity in the streetart scene around Europe, international artists arrived. Best example is the french artist Etien, who is responsible for two of the most popular pieces of art. The whale and the turtle. You can find them both in the upper city, at the popular view point of Zagreb’s cathedral, at the end of the Strossmayer promenade.
Pimp my Pump.
Zagreb’s streetart is more than just murals. A great example for that is the ‘pimp my pump’ project. Boris Bare, Croatian artist, came up with this amazing project in 2016. Once a hub of every neighbourhood, street pumps sank into oblivion in today’s modern times. Back then, all people from the neighbourhood gathered around the pumps to get the most important thing in life: water. With water connections being available in every household, the pumps are not in use anymore. Bare’s mission was clear: He wanted to bring the good old days back to the pumps – through colour and joy. That is when he started the ‘pimp my pump’ project. Many pumps (mostly outside of the city centre) are now pimped with a certain theme. From Darth Vader to the Simpsons and the British post office – for every new pump pimping, crowds gathered like they used to in the good old times. Mission accomplished!
Most of the artists I listed above are not appreciating the fact that city tour providers take money for guided streetart tours. They are sharing the opinion that streetart should be free to everybody. I strongly agree with the fact that they are not happy that somebody else is earning on something they have created. On the other hand, I appreciate existing graffiti tours in cities that are popular for their murals, as I love to learn about them. They do not only show you how to walk through the city with your eyes open towards the art. Moreover, they are explaining the meanings and history behind the art.
So, if you feel like taking a guided streetart tour in Zagreb, it came to my attention that the guys from ‘Zagrebee‘ are offering a pretty good one. If you already took the tour let me know in the comments below whether it was worth it!
Are you in it to pin it?