Chaing Mai Street Art
The Chiang Mai Street art scene is one little known outside of the country but every street seems to be home to artwork from street artists from all over the country.
Chiang Mai is a northern Thai city and formerly the country’s capital. It’s home to over 300 temples, breathtaking mountain views, and a rich history dating back to the 13th century. But one aspect of the city that is little known is Chaing Mai’s vibrant street art scene.
This is also only my second post so why the street art of Chiang Mai when I could write about so much more in this wonderful country?
Well, there are two reasons for this; firstly it’s been hard to start writing regularly for this blog. Moving to a new country and new culture makes actual ‘concentration’ very difficult. There is so much to do, so much going on that it sometimes overwhelms me.
I’m not moaning or making excuses, it’s just that trying to settle in a new country takes a lot longer than you would ever think. I want to write more about this in future posts so stay tuned! The second reason I’m starting with this subject is because it’s a bit different and that is what I want this blog to be. Thailand is much more than sandy white beaches, clear blue seas, and beautiful food.
An Unexpected Surprise
I suppose there is a third reason for this post about the street art in Chiang Mai and that is because it was totally unexpected. It’s not that I wasn’t expecting it, any city will have its fair share of it if you know where to look, but it was the amount of it that took me by surprise – you cannot miss it, it is everywhere…and it’s really, really good…
The picture above is the first one I stumbled across and I love it. I don’t know if the character is an alien or if he’s green for another reason but as you can see he has canisters of CO2 so maybe its a statement on the air pollution that affects many areas with high populations in Thailand.
The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword
I love the one above which has a few smaller pieces next to a gun/pencil which strikes me as the artist’s way of saying the pen is mightier than the sword. This was the second piece of street art I saw while in Chiang Mai and it was on viewing this that I started to think I would be seeing a lot more as I made my way around. I was only there for 3 days and I am in no real position to say what the locals think about it but some of the art looks like it has been there a while. No one is painting over them, so I can only assume the local population has embraced it.
I don’t actually know if it’s supposed to be a sick tiger (I’m making these titles up…did you guess?) but a tiger with a green tongue, eyes, and nose could be sick…couldn’t it? Maybe the artist just liked the colour. Or had a bit of spare green paint they wanted to get rid of. I could be reading too much into it, trying to sound like an art expert – it has been known for people to do that when talking about other people’s art! Either way, it’s a beautiful piece and my heart had a little leap when I saw it.
Vibrant Urban Art
I’m calling this one ‘Title Unknown’ because I can’t think of a name for it. I’m not that clever or imaginative but the colours in this, as all of the work I saw, is so vibrant. This was at the end of the same road where I saw the ‘sick tiger’ above and I knew at this point that I would be writing about these discoveries for this blog. These pieces of art have actually made me get off my lazy ass and create my own. Ok, I know this blog isn’t exactly ‘art’ but..well, I’m being creative so go easy on me.
Ok, now my titles for these pieces of street art are just me saying what I am seeing. I’m using hardly any imagination which is doing a disservice to the actual art. I’ll try to make more of an effort for the next one. The one above was tucked away in the bottom corner of the wall. It’s hardly noticeable but I really like it and after seeing this I saw the same piece about 5 or 6 more times around the city.
It seems unusual to see Darth Vader and the words ‘Stop Wars’ in the same artwork but that’s what’s happened here and I love it!
Seeing An Old Friend
Finally, nothing says ‘world culture’ more than finding a character from an American comedy show in a city on the other side of the world. I don’t think this has any political message, I think they just like Family Guy which makes me love the people of Chiang Mai even more.
So if you’re ever in Chiang Mai keep your eyes out for the street art that is all around you. Once you notice its presence you will see it everywhere you go. If you’re like me it will make your experience of the city all the more enjoyable. Street art mixed in with 16th and 17th century temples and golden buddhas give Chiang Mai such a unique vibe.
I’ve added a map with details of the places you can find some of this art.
Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed it please give me a follow and a share, I’ll be back soon!