The Newtown bridge is where some of the best street art and graffiti in town can be seen. From the works of international artists to local stalwarts, it's all here. One artist who stands out, and whose work can be seen all over Gauteng, is Tapz. For years his tags were found in the most random of places and he's been said to be the first Johannesburg artist to have painted a train car. Other local artists include Faith 47, (who recently had a solo exhibition in New York City), industry legend and tattoo artist Rasty and Mars have also been known to tag up Newtown.
One of the first inner city spots to embrace street art as an attraction was Braamfontein. All the way from the Wits Art Museum to de Korte Street, some of the best graffiti can be found flanking the busy streets of Braamies. A graffiti artist by the name of Bias can be seen leading hordes of people on a tour of Braamfontein's street art scene. Bias along with other artists such as Falko and Kevin Love have painted the area. It's worth noting that a handful of artists from Spain came by in 2013 and painted a colourful mural under the bridge on Smit Street.
For the past three years, street art has evolved from being an eyesore to the public, to something the locals can't get enough of. This is evident when visiting the upmarket Arts on Main in Maboneng. The area boasts work by artists such as Falko, Kevin Love, and ROA from Belgium, who specialises in painting wildlife on the sides of skyscrapers.
Jeppes' history is somewhat mundane and troubled. But a lot has changed within the neighbourhood in the last three years and finally Jeppestown is turning into a little piece of the city that's riddled with culture, entertainment and street art. Both local and international artists have taken to the streets to change the mood of the entire area. Local hero Falko's art can be seen sprinkled across Jeppestown as well as international talents such as Adnate from Melbourne, Australia. A 33-meter mural by California-born artist Above is one of Jeppes' most noticeable art pieces due to its vivid colour and size.
By Shawn Greyling
Have we left any of your favourite inner city neighbourhoods? Leave a comment and tell us which are your favourite tagged spots.
What are you doing this Freedom Day? If you haven't planned anything yet, why not get your tickets to the 14th annual Back to the City Festival at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown? You can expect an epic lineup featuring talented artists representing the pinnacle of artistic expression in both commercial and underground Hip Hop in Africa. It's going to be a day of live music, street art, break-dancing, art installation, skateboarding, film, street fashion, gaming, speakers and panel discussions. The inner city is going to come alive with true freedom of expression to celebrate the experience of youth culture. Don't miss it!
Monday, 27 April 2020 from 10:00 - 02:00.
Mary Fitzgerald Square, Henry Nxumalo Street, Newtown, Johannesburg.
Tickets cost between R150 - R450 per person on Webtickets.
For more information, visit www.backtothecityfestival.com.