Street Art Capitals Around the World | NZ Fine Prints

Street Art Capitals Around the World

Street Art Stye in Camden, London

Street art has a long history and can be seen in every corner of the globe, but some cities have stood out for their immensely creative, beautiful, and in many cases politically charged street art. In recent decades, we’ve seen street art style move from being viewed as vandalism to being celebrated in galleries, with art prints of street art selling out. In this article, we highlight some of the street art capitals around the world and show what makes these cities so special.

 

Barcelona

When it comes to art, Barcelona has birthed some of the world’s greatest artists—such as Pablo Picasso—and this extends to the street art scene. Many parts of the city have come to life with creativity and colour. Areas like Poblenou have many abandoned buildings that have provided some of the best street artists with canvases for their work, bringing the neighbourhood back to life. The Three Chimneys urban park is built specifically for graffiti art, where artists can express themselves and put their art on display without having to worry about any legal consequences. There are thousands of incredible art pieces throughout the city. With so many beautiful discoveries to make, you can’t help but feel inspired. Barcelona should be at the top of any art-lovers travel list.

 

Brooklyn

New York’s thriving art scene is recognised around the world and the streets are no exception. Within the city, Brooklyn is the heart of the street art scene, with local and international talents taking advantage of the enormous canvas provided by the concrete jungle. Brooklyn has life and character around every corner, the creative murals constantly changing and evolving. The Bushwick Collective was started in 2011 by local artist Joe Ficalora. The Collective is an open-air gallery space, highlighting the murals of many artists and creatives. The Collective has transformed the Brooklyn neighbourhood into a colourful and artistic space. Graffiti and street art tours through Brooklyn are popular tourist attractions, bringing people from all over the world to the heart of New York’s street-art culture. The enormous and detailed murals are a must-see for any street-lover, giving this small New York neighbourhood a contemporary and creative re-vamp.

 

Buenos Aires

The street art scene in Buenos Aires began as a political and socially charged movement, inspired by Mexican muralism. Artists used public spaces in the city to communicate their message and protest the repressive political climate developing a language of protest throughout Argentina. Almost a century later in 2001, the streets became riddled with propaganda and negative messaging due to the recent economic crisis. Art collectives worked to transform the streets into a colourful and positive space, breaking up the overwhelming political messages and creating larger than life cartoons and vibrant imagery. Buenos Aires is known for the enormous scale of its murals, scattered throughout the city. This bright and large-scale street art scene has put Buenos Aires on many art fans’ travel bucket lists. The beautiful architecture and street art pair together perfectly to provide the city with a thriving pulse.

 

Christchurch

It’s common for street art culture to come from tragedy, and sadly, that’s the case for our very own Christchurch. After the devastating earthquakes in the early 2010s, Christchurch was due for a major rebuild and this is where street art became a core part of the city’s new life. In 2013, George Shaw, a Nelson art collector, organised a street art festival in Christchurch, commissioning new art pieces on walls throughout the city centre. The festival’s success planted the seed for Christchurch’s growing art scene and inspired artists to engage with the landscape and repopulate the city’s abandoned spaces with murals. The street art style in Christchurch carries political, social, and in many cases, humorous messages. Natural disasters destroyed parts of the city. The landscape changed and evolved. Street art rejuvenated the streets with creative energy and has now created an ever-changing graffiti art scene in our very own country.

 

Melbourne

The diverse range of street art on Melbourne’s street walls is among the most eclectic and accomplished in the world. The city has become the “Stencil Capital of the World”, bringing street art culture to a wider audience. The city is host to both illegal exhibitions and public festivals, bringing people from all over to the streets of Melbourne. Small street lanes with a huge range of unique bars and eateries are surrounded by large-scale, beautiful murals—many inspired by the street art culture of New York City. Melbourne’s streets are pulsing with life, always changing and inspiring new artists to contribute to the vibrant and creative movement. Melbourne’s bright streets are recognised globally and have continued to inspire other cities to adopt the urban art style.

 

London

You can’t discuss street art without mentioning London. Inspired by the art movement in New York, London began seeing street walls used as canvases with stencils, tags, and public sculptures popping up all over the city. East London is the hot spot for street art culture, but the work is seen in all the city neighbourhoods. Places like Brick Lane, Shoreditch, and Camden are just a few of the numerous locations where you can explore the culture of London street art. Banksy has become one of the most famous street artists in the world, going from the underground Bristol scene to spreading his stencil art and political messages all over the city. The anonymous artist’s signature style of combining humour and politics in his imagery or slogans became a sensation and cemented Banksy as a street art phenomenon. Balloon Girl, Kissing Coopers, and Bomb Hugger are a few of Banksy’s globally recognised works, contributing to the widespread acknowledgement of graffiti as art rather than vandalism.

 

Find Some Street Art for Your Home

Street art is a unique style that can transform an old, abandoned street into a beautiful art piece, attracting thousands of visitors. Why not bring the same provocative style to your home? Framed wall art provides character and can add a dash of swagger to your living space. We have prints by talented artists from all over the world, in a huge range of styles to help you bring some art culture into your home, browse online today.

Gardening & artists who garden | NZ Fine Prints

For some people gardening is a chore, for others it is a sandpit for adults. 

Pohutukawa Tree in Blossom
The Garden by Barry Ross Smith
The intersection between human habitation and our natural environment is where the intrinsic beauty of plants meets our unique among animals impulse to re-order what nature has created in what appears to us to be a more aesthetically pleasing (and productive) way.  
Wheelbarrow in Garden
Detail of Lazy Bones & the Pleasure Garden by Hamish Allan

It is fair bet that those of us who have been bitten by the gardening bug might also want to bring the outdoors inside when it comes to art, decorating our walls with botanical posters for instance. And it is not too far of a stretch to imagine these flora fans are also buying prints of birds in such vast numbers over the past few years as we celebrate the fact that native birds of NZ are being seen in increasing numbers within the gardens of our towns and cities thanks to both pest eradication but also the deliberate creation of habitat in domestic and public gardens.

Blossom Trees and Mount Fuji
Japanese artist Hiroshige, the epitome of gardens as art
But as part of a small campaign to exercise our print buyer's more whimsical choices (he jokes that sometimes he can't resist buying what he thinks people should want rather than what they actually do) we have dipped our toes into offering a new collection of wall art - prints of gardens and gardening (we have also allowed him to buy a large range of retro/vintage music and film posters) but he will now be back on the straight and narrow for the next
few months!

Dick Frizzell "Incinerater" Ltd Edition Print
Backyard Incinerator by Dick Frizzell 

There are artists who garden,
most famously Claude Monet whose garden at Giverny was, as we would say these days, part of his practice. But local kiwi painters like Jeanette Blackburn are almost as well-known for their garden art galleries as for their work. And then we have Hamish Allan's carefully composed renditions of what could only be a New Zealand backyard, Dick Frizzell's "backyard" series like his prints of lawn mowers and the incinerator pictured here - and then the doyen of NZ garden painters Karl Maughan from whom we still have just the single offset print available, "Riverhead".

The impetus for putting together our new gardens/gardening art collection really came from seeing how the posters of Japanese woodblock prints brought together artistic merit with a celebration of gardening as art, as the gardens in Japan are surely the epitome of the landscape as art. And we thought that maybe people who are into gardening but not so much into art would like to see just how well Japanese style wall art would suit them but they would not think to search for this kind of artwork in our online catalogue.

Gardens are such a fascinating glimpse into the way we imagine we would like to live, from the garden that is neglected to one that is bursting with this season's most fashionable colours how we garden says so much about the people who live in it.  We hope you enjoy our new collection of garden art prints - it is not just for those of us who are into gardens and landscaping, surely there are plenty of folk who may enjoy a garden when it is an artistic expression of aspects of what a garden is framed on the wall rather than being out there pulling out the weeds every weekend!

Film & Music Posters - How we select vintage wall art design

The all encompassing term "wall art" is becoming a more prevalent shorthand for what were once

Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd

exclusively referred to as art prints and posters.  Like when what we thought should be called fine art by NZ painters a decade ago started getting referred to as "kiwiana" alongside the more obvious tiki paintings, four square man etc New Zealand Fine Prints are happy to move with the times and be guided by our customers what they would like to call what we sell even if this new phrase takes a bit of getting used to!

One of the advantages of the expanding definition of wall art (eg from framed prints to wall charts, prints on canvas and even wall decals) is we have been able to expand what we sell beyond the traditional reproduction prints of paintings, maps etc into other things that can go on the walls of kiwi homes and offices, but without straying too far from our core values as a business.  It seems obvious that those folks who show more than an average interest in art would also be interested in music, theatre and film and those of us on our wholesale buying team certainly are into the broader arts as well for sure.

Poster for Fritz Lang's Metropolis

But we believe that delivering value to customers is not just in a good quality item from a production standpoint, it also about selling decoration that will endure not just physically but also continue to be enjoyed as an artwork (ok, wall art) for many years.  This means selling prints by artists who have something to say, prints of places that mean something to New Zealanders and trying not to promote more ephemeral  watered down or generic designs that are, as we say, to match the curtains.   We don't want you to buy an artwork for your walls that "fashions out" really quickly.

So as we grow our range of film and music wall posters we had to devise a criteria that would satisfy demand for a broader range of poster choices without going too far down the path of stocking modern day music posters created for fans (or more cynically created by publishers to cash in on what's popular right now). Drawing a line between what we call the "social expression" market (the teenager whose choice of music or movie posters are a visual shorthand to tell people what kind of person they are) and the broader decorative - ie wall art - market where a poster is there both for its aesthetic merits as well as for its content/subject or design theme.

The Supremes UK Tour Poster
The Supremes UK Tour Poster
Our wholesale team have therefore decided that we won't - at least initially - stock music posters that are designed purely to demonstrate that you are a fan of a contemporary band or a singer or love a just released film. Musically these are the posters that are a photograph of the act (or actor) doing their thing on stage/film set or showing their attitude or style accompanied with the name of the group, rapper or singer or film.   Given the size of the New Zealand market and the order minimums that make sense when importing posters it just doesn't work for us to try and pick trends, there is nothing less saleable than a cutting edge music poster after the band's popularity has peaked!  But we believe there is a sweet spot where a music poster captures both the spirit of the band/singer with an iconic retro/vintage design aesthetic that makes it more broadly interesting than just to fans of the group. So we are stocking retro or vintage designs that have stood the test of time already and that we believe will continue to resonate for the life of the posters on your walls.

Obviously we would like to have a diversity of designs and acts from around the world and across different genres, so we have lined up four different wholesale suppliers across the US, Australia and Europe to try and achieve this aim.

We think in particular that vintage music poster designs for concerts and album releases are true to the spirit of New Zealand Fine Prints, they fit with our extensive range of vintage travel, tourism and advertising posters from what are now well-known graphic designers. This is where we offer a good quality reproduction of an authentic poster design, a replica as close as we can get to the original - ie without Photoshopping the imperfections.

Illustrating this post are examples of some of the new movie and music posters that are now in stock at New Zealand's wall art specialists since 1966, please check out our music and film poster collection to see everything we currently have for sale.



Common Mistakes When Choosing Wall Art | New Zealand Fine Prints

Common Mistakes When Choosing Wall Art

When looking at inspiration for wall art online, it’s easy to feel like the choice of art doesn’t matter, and most examples online look great because they’re in an expensive home! But the truth is, if you’re smart about the art pieces you choose to hang, you can make an interior look more incredible than you’d guess. No matter what your home décor looks like, putting some thought into choosing wall art can elevate your space, and transform your interior into something spectacular.

Below, we’re going to cover some of the common mistakes you should avoid when choosing art to hang on your wall, so you can get the most out of your home!

 

The Wrong Art for the Wrong Room

Step one is to make sure that a piece of art matches the room it’s in. A lot of the time, people will choose art pieces that look good online or in a store, but don’t match the room they’re being purchased for.

Professional interior designers or decorators usually approach this by first focusing on the function of a room. By understanding what each room is for, you get a better sense of the atmosphere you want to create with certain pieces of art. Sometimes this can require some experimentation, but there are some rules of thumb you can use as a starting point. For instance, a lounge is more likely to have a piece that’s colourful and dramatic than the bathroom, where it’s generally preferable to hang more relaxing or straightforward pieces.

 

Misusing Wall Space

One of the easiest mistakes to make when hanging art is underusing or overusing the space you have available to you. One piece hanging alone in the middle of a large wall will feel odd, as will many pieces covering a wall completely. You always want a bit of open space to let the pieces breathe, but too much can be distracting. 

This can depend on personal style; some people go for a very cluttered look on purpose, and this can work occasionally! But for most people’s homes a balance is preferable.

Generally speaking, more open space on a wall is more soothing. This means that louder, more dynamic pieces of art might look better with nothing around them than a more subdued, tame piece of art, because the emptiness balances out the noise of the piece of art. It often depends on the colours of the art and how they contrast with the colour of the wall. A lot of contrast can make one single piece of art pop, while pieces that are a similar colour to the wall will blend into it if surrounded by nothing but empty space.

 

Setting the Mood for the Wrong People

This mistake is more common than you might guess! When choosing wall art, homeowners often pick pieces based on the impression they want the space to give to guests and visitors. While this is important, and very much worth factoring into your decisions, it’s a mistake to prioritise this over choosing art that makes a good impression on you! And there’s a simple reason for this; you’re the one who has to look at it the most. 

This is why you’ll hear people saying it’s important to limit how eye-catching art pieces are in places like the bathroom. While it might seem like a fun idea to throw caution to the wind and put a really arresting piece of art in the bathroom, there’s a real chance that you’ll get sick of looking at it while brushing your teeth every day! So, most decorators opt for calming décor in the bathroom, and save more dramatic pieces for rooms where the owner will spend less time, like a hallway near the front door. 

Again, it’s ultimately up to you, but it’s always worth thinking ahead and considering what it’s going to really be like looking at a piece of art every day.

 

Ready to choose some art for your home?

The NZ Fine Prints collection has a wide range of art pieces, in varying styles, moods, and materials, including some of the best canvas art prints in NZ, from celebrated Kiwi artists. No matter which room you’re decorating, we can help you take it to the next level. Take a look at our site and explore our categories today!

How Does Landscape Art Contain Emotion? | NZ Fine Prints

How Does Landscape Art Contain Emotion?

Painting of NZ landscape with sea surrounded by hills


If you’ve ever looked at landscape art you might have wondered what the artist was trying to capture. As with most art, understanding an artist’s intention can require some time. Look long enough at a landscape painting, and you might be able to feel the emotions that the painter was trying to capture! Landscapes make popular art prints for their ability to evoke emotions. In today’s blog post, we’re exploring which techniques artists use to create evocative landscapes.

 

The history of landscapes

The most famous landscape artists are usually associated with the Romanticism movement in art. There’s a whole range of styles within romantic landscape paintings, from peaceful, pastoral visions of nature, to awe-inspiring visions of mountains and storms. A lot of romantic landscapes were used to comment on religious or philosophical ideas, but it was in this movement that the association between landscapes and emotion was forged. This association more or less still exists today; we still expect contemporary landscape art to evoke emotions when we look at it. In many ways, the Romanticists set the blueprint for the common techniques used in landscapes, especially in regard to capturing certain emotions. Below, we’re going to look at three.

 

1. Colour


The colours chosen by an artist can have a huge impact on the effect it will produce for the audience. One of the most famous landscape painters, Joseph Mallord William Turner (usually just called Willian Turner), was a master at using colour in landscapes. In fact, Turner was a key reason that landscape paintings became popular in the first place. Turner painted both sunsets and sunrises over Venice multiple times in his life, and in all these paintings the colours aren’t necessarily realistic. Often, he painted scenes like this with a reduced palette. All the bright colours are used to depict the rising or setting sun, and the rest of the image is grey or yellow, almost unfinished looking. This forces the eye to focus on the sun, just like how a real sunset or sunrise captures your attention; everything else around you seems to fade away. A lot of early landscapes also used warm colours to create feelings of nostalgia or comfort, especially when depicting the countryside and trying to foster a sense of kinship with the land.

 

2. Brush techniques

The brushstrokes also change the way a landscape feels. Harsh, sharp brush techniques make the bristles of the brush stand out a lot more in the paint, and this can dramatically alter the atmosphere of a piece of art. One of the most interesting things about this is that the effect can change based on the context creating a sense of grief, or chaos, or even awe. Landscape painters in particular tend to use visible brushstrokes to reinforce the power of nature.

 

3. Scale

Landscape artists often choose subjects that are overwhelmingly big, like mountains, the sea, or the sky, and all these subjects have roots in the romantic origins of landscape paintings. Romanticists were fascinated by an emotion that they called the “sublime”, and this was true of Romantic poets and writers too, not just visual artists. To the Romanticists, the sublime was best described as a feeling of being overwhelmed by the sheer scale and beauty of the world. You may have even felt this yourself, when looking up into a clear starry sky, or down at a rolling view from the top of a mountain. It’s an experience that makes you feel tiny and insignificant, but also enthralled by the beauty of the scene. For the Romanticists, it usually had an explicit connection to Christianity too; they felt they were experiencing God through the majesty of nature, so in many ways, the sublime was a spiritual experience. Quite a hard thing to attempt to capture in a painting! To try to replicate the unique mixture of powerlessness and euphoria, early landscape artists chose to paint things that were massive, and usually tried to show this to the audience by painting tiny people into the scene for scale, showing them dwarfed by the scene around them.

 

Interested in landscape art for your home?

Here at NZ Fine Prints, we have a whole collection of contemporary New Zealand landscape art, showcasing our own unique environment and its beauty. Browse our collection to find some of the best landscape canvas art prints in NZ, like Dale Gallagher’s Majestic Fiordland, and Church of the Good Shepherd Lake Tekapo. Landscape prints can bring true character to your home or office and make a great way to celebrate the stunning environment here in Aotearoa. To find out more, feel free to contact us today!