Art has the power to be incredibly transformative. Even if you look at a piece of artwork in a museum and think, I can’t believe that’s worth millions of dollars, there’s no denying that it has the ability to generate discussion, awaken the senses, and inspire the people who admire it. Art also has the ability to take an old run down building and transform it into stunning centerpieces for a city. Throughout the world, there are some amazing examples of the before and after transformations that can occur when artists think outside of the box to deliver a new lease on life to old run down structures. Here’s just a glimpse of the transformative nature of art that can be found in public places.
3D Mural In Poznan, Poland
Just because a building is old it doesn’t mean it has to look drab and outright depressing. An artist in Poznan, Poland took the side of a gray building and injected some much-needed color. Artists in our before and after photos tend to have one thing in common, they take the culture of the city where their artwork is being shown and use that culture for inspiration. This building received a new lease on life with the help of some paint and a keen eye for detail. Business owners can have this same type of work completed on their buildings for a relatively low-cost given the type of results they can expect to see.
16th Avenue Tiled Steps in San Francisco, CA
If you walked up the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps in San Francisco, California before they were completed, you need to head back and check them out now. The stairs were created with the help of a massive creative community that led a community-driven mosaic featuring a flowing sea to stars design up a 163-step stairway. From boring and dull to inspiring and breathtaking, it’s amazing what you can accomplish with some dials, a ton of paint, and the help of hundreds of artists who want to beautify a rather dull piece of city-based landscape.
3D Au Fil De Loire in Brives Charensac, France
3D artwork is very popular with buildings where a boring paint choice and flat surface are available to the artist. The 3D design not only pops off the brick it was painted over but also provides some depth of field that makes the building look grander than it is. This artist decided to show off the area’s stunning beaches while delivering a sense of community with people in the building look out upon the city. Given the history of France’s artistic community, it’s not surprising that this before and after photo isn’t our only featured example on our list.
Brick Kids in Montreal, Canada
Even the most boring of red brick buildings can receive a face life from a few gallons of paint and a keen eye. We love that this artist left half of their creation with exposed red bricks. Their painting offers a really cool juxtaposition between the new and the old. A splash of color and a talking point around each piece of public artwork really makes all of the difference. With each child’s face missing from the art it appears as they are peering into each other’s world for the very first time. Surrounding by greenery, the mural appears natural and right at home on the side of the older building.
Diving Dog Mural In Mechelen, Belgium
Dog photography in water is always fun to look at. An artist in Mechelen, Belgium took the dog diving idea one step further. They created a photorealistic image of a dog just as they start to take a dive underwater. From the dog’s eyes to the bubbles forming on their face, this mural looks like something snapped by a professional photographer. The difference the dog’s image makes on the side of a gray building is also pretty striking when compared side-by-side. It’s hard not to love a cute little puppy and with artistic skills like this, it only highlights just how adorable they can be.
Dob Suli in Budapest, Hungary
It can be claustrophobic living in a city. You are surrounded by tall buildings and there are very few trees and other natural wonders. This artist decided to bring a touch of the country to an old building. With flowing water, a tree house that would be the envy of any child, and mountain terrain in the background, it’s definitely a location we would love to visit if it existed in real life. These murals can take weeks and even months to complete but the final result is usually a major talking point for the entire community. If you own a business or apartment complete that needs a facelift, feel free to get creative with whatever is created.
Full Moon Hostel, Bristol, UK
Some of the murals we discovered were created by business owners who wanted to express their company name. The Full Moon Hostel in Bristol, UK was located in a light blue building. The original paint was functional but it didn’t really do anything for the business. The owner, instead, chose to hire a local artist to create a starry night design on the building. It’s now impossible to ignore the building and its truly unique paint design. Just keep in mind that upkeep on this type of building does require an extra touch so it doesn’t look worn down a few years later.
Giant Starling Mural In Berlin
This artist was challenged to create a massive bird design between a building with a big gap. Instead of forcing the bird’s design to stretch both towers, they left a gap that oddly works with the giant starling. The beautiful coloring on the bird’s feathers and a highlighted background add to the stunning piece of artwork. We’re not sure why the building’s owner chose the Starling for their design, but it’s hard to deny that the final results are anything but magnificent. What bird would you have chosen for a design of this kind?
Honeycomb of Life in Germany
Abstract art can work wonders when transforming an old building into something new. An artist in Germany chose to create a honeycomb pattern made up of various beautiful and contrasting colors. The building looked like it was close to being demolished before the facelift and now it’s a vibrant structure. Mastering the abstract can be a challenging task but this artist created something the entire city should be proud to draw attention to on a regular basis. There are plenty of tourist locations all over the world so don’t forget to look for these hidden gems when you want to see more than just the standard tourist traps.
Juliette Et Les Esprits in Montpellier, France
The Juliette Et Les Esprits in Montpellier, France is the perfect example of both renovation and 3D artwork. This artist took a three-colored building and renovated it with splashes of color. Fake windows, balconies, and flowering plants all add to its unique design. The artist even used the building’s own 3D structures to add to a secondary wall on their artwork. We love the use of a 3D roof on the side of the building to give even more depth to the original structure. Can we beautify the entire world with this type of very cool and inspiring public artwork?
Knowledge Speaks in Athens, Greece
There are a lot of tall buildings and structures that receive a big dose of public artwork. However, there are also smaller buildings that can equally benefit from some point and a keen eye. The Knowledge Speaks installation in Athens, Greece is the perfect example of how even smaller works of public art can make a big difference. The original building was covered in graffiti and looked close to demolition. Today, the building is a living piece of functional art that beautifies the neighborhood and speaks to the power art can have on the lives of everyone who witness it.
Let’s Keep The Plants Alive In Bialystok, Poland
This famous mural in Bialystok, Poland has been featured on thousands of websites. The artist uses already present nature in the form of trees to allow their artwork to “interact” with nature. The building used to feature a bunch of advertisements that were really nothing but eyesores. The building’s owner might not earn ad revenue from this new mural but it definitely pretties up the area. A splash of color is a popular theme among the before and after photos that we are featuring on this list. It takes a special type of artistic eye to create the right proportions and feel for these type of murals and this artist completely nailed down their design.
A Photorealistic Mural in Glasgow, Scotland
An artist working on a massive public mural doesn’t necessarily need to repaint the entire building to create a breathtaking work of art. An artist in Glasgow, Scotland has captured the world’s imagination with a realistic depiction of a man and his birds. It’s a rather somber mural but it perfectly captures a moment in the life of this fictional man. The color palette blends in so incredibly well with the building’s original bricks and the creation almost appears as if the man is emerging from the grass to reveal a second in his life.
Porte Des Lavandieres in Aurec-sur-Loire, France
An incredibly talented artist in France created the Porte Des Lavandieres mural which has become an area favorite. This artist has a keen eye for 3D art. The original building was flat and discolored while the new design offers a vibrant look at life in the earlier days of France. Paying homage to a more simple time or type of lifestyle is a popular choice among mural artists in historic towns. If you are visiting the area be sure to stop by and draw your own inspiration to bring home with you. Convince your local business owners to try something like this and you’ll have amazing and free art to view every day in your own hometown.
Renaissance in Le Puy en Velay, France
France has definitely cornered the market on amazing public murals. This building looks outdated and a bit depressing. An artist decided to create a 3D design that would make the building look like it was splitting a public square down the middle. With people going about their day in the mural, it really comes to life with a fresh outlook on a bustling but small city. When cars are parked on either side of the building the 3D design really pops and shows off the talent of an awesome piece of work. Three-dimensional murals may be our favorite on our list.
The Kiss Mural in Chelsea, New York
The art scene in New York is just as diverse as it is beautiful. An artist in Chelsea, New York created the famous “Kiss Mural” and the results are vibrant, engaging, and just plain beautiful. The mural was placed on the side of a small three-story building which looks surprisingly more grand with the artwork attached. The juxtaposition between the side of the building and the front side adds to the bold colors that are featured in the mural. We need more artists who can beautify our world one paintbrush stroke at a time. We would love to see what the artist is capable of doing with the front side of this residential building.
A Repainted Town In Palmitas, Mexico
In Palmitas, Mexico an entire town was painted and the results are stunning. A group of artists created a mural by painting every single house on the side of a hill. Much like the colorful houses located in the Caribbean, the city was treated to a much-needed splash of color. With one house painted bright green in the original photo, we question if a single resident may have sparked the decision to add a bold new look to Palmita. Whatever the reason for the sudden shift, the town looks like a picturesque place to stop by at when on vacation.
“Topart” in Budapest, Hungary
An artist in Budapest, Hungary created “Topart” which focuses on a mural that extended across the sides of two different buildings. By wrapping their design around from one building to the next, they created a stunning courtyard that would be perfect for a picnic, even right in the middle fo the city. The artist managed to tie-in the natural beauty of Budapest, and the result is inspiring. After the mural was completed the building owners went to work to create a truly special courtyard that people would want to visit to gaze upon the new mural they just had installed.
Trash and Found in Lisbon, Portugal
Raccoons are adorable when they are not attempting to tear through your garbage or chase after you in the middle of the night. An artist in Lisbon, Portugal decided to take the trashy side of an old building and highlight just how cool racoons look. The “Trash and Found” mural delivered a bold splash of color with a black and white raccoon. The building went from boring and drab to stunning in a matter of weeks. If you’re in Lisbon you’ll notice that this mural is the best splash of color in the area. Even if you hate raccoons you’ll love the attention to detail this author put into their work.
Wise Grandpa in Kaunas, Lithuania
We had to include the Wise Grandpa mural on our list because it’s a fun and strange piece of art. Grandpa is laying around in his onesie pajamas while smoking a pipe and staring at everyone who passes by. The mural is a little strange and eccentric but we can’t stop looking at it. We love that grandpa’s feet extend all the way to the sidewalk below. The only question we have is — what business wanted to put this type of mural on the front of their building? The photorealism of grandpa’s face with a cartoon-based body definitely makes this a unique mural for many reasons.