Street Art in Tel Aviv
In places, Tel Aviv is gentrified and in others flamboyantly trendy and dynamic with the creative culture of street artists from around the world. It is not only the Ibiza of the Middle East but also home to meaningful artistic works that flourish in both times of war and ceasefire, in color or charcoal, in Hebrew and English. They show an Israel not portrayed by mainstream media.
A Vibrant and Exciting Edge
You’ll find these insights into contemporary Israeli culture in southern Tel Aviv’s bohemian neighborhood—South Florentin, particularly in Elifelet St, HaMehoga St, Abarbanel, Simtat Shlush, 3361 St, Hanagarim St and Kiryat Melcha. These Hebrew gems of artistic expression are hidden in alleyways dividing shadowy carpentries, garages and dry cleaners. The streets speak to you with poems and images that flood the city’s walls, creating an organic, impermanent open-air art gallery. While most graffiti artists remain anonymous, you can very often recognize their work by the signatures or by the theme of the artwork.
Should you notice a funny boxed character giving you the finger, it might just be one of Adi Sened’s box people. Sened is one of the pioneers of Israel’s street art movement and has been painting his “kufsonim” all over the city since 2000. Most of Sened’s graffiti work can often be discovered only by incredibly keen eyes.
Know Hope’s work is recognizable by a delicate pigeon signature. His most famous works is that of a character wearing his heart in different positions. Hope was born in California and moved to Tel Aviv when he was ten. His work is based on translating his observations of human interactions that he sees in everyday life, into universal representations.
Dialogue with Street Artists’ Work
Signor Gi’s pieces enlighten you to the irony created when there exists a contradiction between your inner-self and the self that you present to the world. Signor Gi is from Milan, where he studied history and philosophy. After moving to Israel, he read graphic design and visual communication at Bezalel.
A prominent theme in Dede’s work are Band-Aids; his symbol of wounds, hurt and healing. You can find pieces with Band-Aid signatures all around Tel Aviv. Dede’s other common theme is wildlife. You’ll easily spot his cats, birds and fish on city walls and fences.
More Art Around Town
If from the shadows of some alleyway, a poem appears to reach out and delivers you a message, the message likely is from Nitzan Mintz who started writing poetry while in the army. Her poems usually have a deep connection with the locations she chooses.
For a long expanse of graffiti art, walk down 3361 St and turn into Ha-Mekhuga. One of the pieces depicted here is the work of Mr. DiMaggio, an Italian graffiti artist who often visits Tel Aviv.
On Abarbanel St, there’s lots of graffiti art on garage doors. Some of the main artists in Tel Aviv, like Untay, participated in a street festival organized in conjunction with the Hoodna Bar (and the backing of local businesses), where live music played while artists painted all the garage doors, bringing color to the neighborhood.
Further down Abarbanel St, a few steps after the corner of Harabi Mibachrach and Abarbanel St, you’ll discover one of Dede’s wildlife depictions.
On Shlush St, is a tall building portraying the character of Alice, from Alice in Wonderland, holding a spray can that has a note saying, “Spray Me.” This was created by Jonathan Kis-Lev, a local artist and peace activist.
If you take a right turn from Abarbanel St to street number 3362 and walk through the alley, you’ll spot on the corner a representation of Sarah Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, pointing to a garbage can on the street.
Being the most liberal city in the Middle East, where nightclubs are always open and everything is possible, Tel Aviv attracts many young and talented artists. Strolling through the streets, you will find numerous artworks on buildings, on garbage cans and doors. So be sure to look around to see what treasures you can discover.