Williamsburg has long been a focal point for established and emerging graffiti artists competing for niche spaces in which to exhibit their artwork. At present, local residents appreciate a wide selection of street art that peers out from walls, billboards and abandoned commercial and industrial lots.

Once deemed as a subversive act by many detractors, graffiti has evolved into a popular art form that’s gained wide recognition in international galleries and influenced marketing campaigns, graphic designers, and the fashion industry. And while London has replaced New York at the forefront of street art, Williamsburg has remained a fertile ground for experimental graffiti.

Accessible rents, a thriving arts community, and the availability of public spaces have attracted a diverse cluster of talented graffiti artists that continue to challenge our perspective through different mediums. In recent years, graffiti in Williamsburg has ranged from highly stylized texts and tags that are commonly associated with American graffiti, to more European-style street art, including poster-work, stencils and stickers.

An improvised tour of the area can offer you a substantial survey of classic and contemporary styles of artwork. On a recent walk through Williamsburg, we found four different types of graffiti:


Throw-ups and Pieces

Considered to be the earliest forms of graffiti, these elaborate representations of the artist’s name vary in size, thickness and outline. The use of multiple colors, and the speed and precision that is required to write them, have elevated these trademark signatures to a universal form of self-expression. Start your tour with a selection from legendary and upcoming writers:

t kid graffiti Artist: T.Kid (piece)
Location: Hope and Keap (on Hope)
ghost graffiti Artist: Ghost (piece)
Location: Keap and Hope (on Keap)
os gemeos graffiti Artist: Os Gemeos (piece)
Location: North 3rd and Wythe (on Wythe)
armer graffiti Artist: Armer (piece)
Location: North 10th and Roebling (Construction site on North 10th)
peek funk graffiti Artists: Peek/Funk (Pink and Smith) (pieces)
Location: North 6th and Metropolitan (Gas Station)
diva graffiti Artist: Diva (piece)
Location: North 6th and Metropolitan (Gas Station)
aero graffiti Artists: Aero/Teo (throw-ups)
Location: Metropolitan and Marcy (Abandoned Lot on Marcy)

Murals

Painted by individual artists or collectives, murals can sometimes commemorate emblematic musicians, politicians and activists. With the influence of graffiti in advertising, some graffiti artists have also been contracted to paint murals for local businesses and corporations. Featured murals on this tour include:

motug ewok mural MÖTUG collective (Monsters of the Unda – Ground)
Artist: Ewok (mural)
Location: Keap and Hope (on Hope)
motug mural hope MÖTUG collective (Monsters of the Unda – Ground)
Artist: Ewok (mural)
Location: Keap and Hope (on Hope)
motug ewok mural keap MÖTUG collective (Monsters of the Unda – Ground) – Artist: Ewok (mural)
Location: Keap and Hope (on Keap)
motug obey mural keap MÖTUG collective (Monsters of the Unda – Ground)
Artists: Obey (mural)
Location: Keap and Hope (on Keap)
motug mural keap MÖTUG collective (Monsters of the Unda – Ground)
Artists: T.Kid (mural)
Location: Keap and Hope (on Keap)
r.robots graffiti Artist: R.Robots (mural)
Location: North 3rd and Bedford (on North 3rd)
r.robots mural 2 Artist: R.Robots (mural)
Location: North 3rd and Bedford (on North 3rd)

Stencils

Working from a print of one or more colors that are later sprayed-over, stencils allow graffiti artists to focus on cultural icons that can be reproduced with precision. In Williamsburg you will find stencil-work from:

nick walker paint

Artist: Nick Walker (paint/stencil)
Location: Roebling and Metropolitan (on Roebling)

c215 firebox

Artist: C215 (stencil)
Location: Corner of Roebling and Metropolitan (Fire Box)

c215 stencil

Artist: C215 (stencil)
Location: Metropolitan and Roebling (on Metropolitan, Staircase)

nick walker vandalism

Artist: Nick Walker (stencil)
Location: Wythe and North 3rd St. (on Wythe)

c215 stencil fbe Artist: C215 (stencil)
Location: Meeker and Withers (On Meeker, Gas station)
c215 stencil Artist: C215 (stencil)
Location: Meeker and Withers (On Withers, fire hydrant)

Poster-work

Graffiti artists wheatpaste their poster-work on billboards and walls, sometimes actively incorporating their surroundings into the piece. In Williamsburg you will enjoy a roundup of the most innovative wheatpaste artists:

faile wheatpaste 1 Artist: Faile (wheatpaste)
Location: Wythe and North 3rd (on Wythe)
faile wheatpaste 2 Artist: Faile (wheatpaste)
Location: Wythe and North 3rd (on Wythe)
obey wheatpaste Artist: Obey (wheatpaste)
Location: North 6th bet. Wythe and Kent
elbow toe wheatpaste Artist: Elbow Toe (wheatpaste)
Location: North 6th bet. Wythe and Kent
judith supine wheatpaste Artist: Judith Supine (wheatpaste)
Location: Meeker Avenue and North 7th (On North 7th)
ohm wheatpaste Artist: OHM (wheatpaste)
Location: Meeker Avenue and North 6th (on Meeker)

How to get there: Take the L train from Union Square to Lorimer St – Metropolitain Ave Station. Then proceed on foot at your discretion with the self-guided tour of the featured graffiti sites. Print out this article and the map below to help guide you to the locations. Please note that graffiti is usually not permanent, so we cannot guarantee that all our sites are still in tact. On the other hand, new art is constantly being created—let us know in the comments if you discover anything new in the area!

Map of Featured Artwork


View or Print Larger Map

Photos: Courtesy Arturo Conde