It’s hard to define the concept of street art – it’s that diverse. It is where artists react to the modern world, transmit their ideas through public spaces, experiment, prepare performances, provocations and manifestos, and, of course, change the face of the city. Only appearing in the mid-1980s, socially active street art is relatively new in Lithuania – this might be why it still surprises us. Especially the artwork that appears overnight at extraordinary art festivals such as Vilnius Street Art, Kaunas Nykoka, Edit Klaipėda, and Marijampolė’s MaLonNy. Maybe you’d like to take stock of all the street art? Grab a map and let’s go together.
Where else would you find the Courtyard Gallery if not in a courtyard? This is how artist Vytenis Jakas, who founded the gallery, is solving the problem of alienation of people and neighbours. And he seems to be succeeding – the gallery has become a popular gathering place for neighbours, artists, city residents and tourists. When a lot of people get together in the courtyard, new ideas are undoubtedly born, and the new drawings on the 19th century walls keep telling new urban stories. Some of them are extremely sad, telling of the Second World War and the Holocaust.
George Maciunas, one of the pioneers of the Fluxus movement, was born in Kaunas. In his honour, the “Fluxus Ministry” and artists Tadas Šimkus and Žygimantas Amelynas created a unique piece of art titled The Master (Wise Old Man), which is well-known worldwide.
The old man smoking a pipe covers an area of 440 square metres on the wall of the old shoe factory. If you look closer, you’ll see that he has no shoes. Ironic, isn’t it? An old man without shoes on the wall of what was once a shoe factory.
After the Nykoka Street Art Festival, a pink elephant landed in Kaunas. Sitting comfortably on a wall, it amuses children and makes adults smile. What does this piece by artist Vytenis Jakas portray? What do you mean what? Pink love, of course!
This is how the Italian artist Millo saw our buildings. They say that the picture of his mural in Vilnius that spread like wildfire on social media marks a new creative stage for him. The huge wall of the building, shining from afar with architectural details and windows that weave seamlessly into the game of the mural’s hero, seems to warm up the capital’s station district, making it cosier.
It’s amazing that in Vilnius you can find artwork by the world’s most famous street artists. For example, the Brazilian brothers Os Gemeos. That’s Portuguese for “The Twins”. And to top it off, these two world travellers have Lithuanian roots. It was those roots that sparked the creation of a mural dedicated to their grandfather and their childhood, which was embedded with Lithuanian traditions. The Brazilian artists put their Lithuanian grandfather in the palm of their signature character.
The world was at a loss for words when it saw this mural. Located in Vilnius, not far from the railway station, the mural is reminiscent of the photograph of Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker in a socialist fraternal kiss that was captured in 1979. There was once a graffiti painting of the moment on the Berlin Wall. In Vilnius, Brezhnev and Honecker have been replaced by Putin and Trump. Now everyone goes to see them, and people in love send home impressive pictures of their own kisses.
It’s hard to believe, but our small town of Marijampolė has extended the hand of friendship to New York. MaLonNy (Marijampolė – London – New York): The Migration of Ideas is an art symposium that is held every year in Marijampolė by artist Ray Moon Bartkus, who is originally from Lithuania. Every time the artists get together, the city is showered with gifts. Such as iCave Murals, by the world-famous American artist Michael Kevin Eastbrook. Can you hear what he wants you to tell you? “Come on, why are you looking at me on a screen again? Come yourself to feel it, experience it and hear it live!”
When he gets tired of the hustle and bustle of New York, artist Ray Moon Bartkus grabs his suitcase and flies to Marijampolė – a creek of tranquillity. Due to a stroke of luck, this city has become the place where the artist holds his MaLonNy art symposium, inviting global celebrities. On those days, Ray Bartkus also grabs his paint brush. Floating World is one of his most impressive works, and is best viewed... in the water. The moving water gives new colours to this mural every day.
Versions of Leonardo da Vinci’s mysterious Mona Lisa are scattered around the world, and sometimes find themselves in totally unexpected spaces. One of them is on the Kaunas University of Technology campus. Artist Linas Kaziulionis – also known as kart7 – put his interpretation of the famous painting on the wall of a dormitory, giving Mona Lisa new meanings and spicing it up with modern technology, including 3D effects and LED lighting. The relationship between art and science is emphasised by the mathematical formulas alongside, and one detail, which we won’t reveal, invites you to keep coming back. Will you be able to solve the mystery of the Kaunas version of Mona Lisa’s smile?
“You’re already looking at me longer than my parents ever did,” says the giant girl that twin brothers Algirdas and Remigijus Gataveckas painted in Klaipėda. She’s as giant as her desire to live as part of a family instead of at an orphanage. The painting is of a real girl. And the artists who painted her grew up in an orphanage themselves. So everyone knows what they are talking about. Let’s try to listen.
Burning Armour, a mural in Šiauliai by street art virtuoso Tadas Vinkaitis, instantly changed the tone of the entire block. It gave the faded and sterile shopping centre environment the shimmer of armour, flashes of sun, and the colours and strength of the sharpness of a sword. This piece directly appeals to the history of the Battle of Saule.
This mural is the collision of the forces of wind and fire. When you take a good look at it, you can also see the reflection of a person. The mural was painted during the “Abduction of the Sun” workshop by Martynas Šnioka and Edvardas Šeputis. This fox seems to have an understanding with another fox in the city – the Iron Fox on the shore of Lake Talkša by Vilius Puronas.