Let’s talk about Tel Aviv. The “New York” of the Middle East, Tel Aviv is a cosmopolitan city that never sleeps. With the beautiful Mediterranean touching Tel Aviv’s pristine beaches, this international city on the coast of Israel is one destination not to be overlooked. Not only does Tel Aviv host a non-stop nightlife and a booming startup scene, Tel Aviv is also home to a culture of street art and graffiti that’s gaining more and more attention. With stabs at current political situations and homages to the country’s diverse populations, street artists from all over the world are visiting Tel Aviv and making their mark, literally.
We had the pleasure of meeting the brilliant Guy Sharett of Streetwise Hebrew who excels in giving locals and tourists alike urban tours (and Hebrew lessons via his handy dry erase board) around the streets of Tel Aviv. We asked him a few questions during our own urban graffiti tour, so keep reading to find out more about the street art culture of Tel Aviv and some popular artists you need to check out!
Femme & Fortune: We walked around the neighborhood of Florentin in Tel Aviv and viewed some unique pieces of graffiti – both big and small. What are some of the bigger themes you’ve noticed with street art in Tel Aviv?
Guy: I think we see a lot about the Israeli society, such text as “keep consuming” (meaning the opposite of course), political and local municipality stuff (“Save the Florentin Garden” as our garden became a construction site for a school), but also a lot about the individual and not the collective, so issues of love, sex and relationship (“I am not this kind of girl”). Vegan and anarchist issues are also very present on our walls. Politics and anti war slogans are also popular.
Femme & Fortune: What makes the street art culture in Tel Aviv different than other big cities you’ve visited? How are the artists treated by the people of Tel Aviv?
Guy: Well, I am not sure it’s so different, but what I am sure is that we’ve got lots of texts on our walls. The Middle East conflict here in a not such an old country makes it full of topics to write about. Just like other conflict zones. Plus, the art scene is really vibrant. Israelis have a lot to say about everything. I think many Tel Avivis like art, but I am not sure I can say a general thing about how artists are treated by them. Street Art is much more accessible than gallery and museum art, so anyone who passes in the street can enjoy it.
Femme & Fortune: Who are some of your favorite street artists currently? (I remember the 13 year old named Tra, but what were some other names?)
Femme & Fortune: You mentioned a few female street artists. Is the culture dominant with male street artists and do you see a surge of more females coming onto the scene?
Guy: Yes, most of the artists are men, definitely, but we see more and more women joining them.