Urban Scrawl

This is the ideal Christmas gift for almost anyone - especially someone who has a hidden desire to see their wit and wisdom metres high on a building. And let's face it - isn't that most of us?

However, most of us don't have the artistic skills (or the head for heights) that this would entail, and of course no one is encouraging you to break the law. This book is the ideal way to see what can be done, and has been done worldwide in the name of 'street art' or, as this book so cleverly calls it: Urban Scrawl.

The author, Lou Chamberlain, herself  an artist, author and arts educator, has spent over ten years photographung and chronicling street art. Urban Scrawl is the fifth book she has published on this topic.

Much more than just a picture book - although it is that too, with around 300 images - this book also tells the stories behind the art that most of us tend to use as a travel-selfie backdrop. Most street artists are serious and very talented. Many have a burning passion to share their ideals and beliefs in storeys-high creations. Some just like to 'embroider' the urban environment, and still others see a joke in everything.

For instance:

In London, David Selor declares 'English rain gave me fleas' and draws the dog lamenting this.

In the USA, SOMO.PNG simply challenges readers to 'Ask a white person where they're really from'.

In Lisbon, Ephy's beautiful artwork also has thought-provoking text: 'Without the cracks on the walls the city cannot breathe'. 

Whimsy rules too, quite often in work like Hayley Welsh's pink wall admonition in Perth, Western Australia 'Together let us all combine'.

You get the idea.

This book is as good for leafing through as it is for those looking to follow a theme. For the latter, the work is arranged in categories, listed on the Contents page. At the end, there is a full list of the featured artists along with their Instagram handles, and an index of .

Put this book under the tree at Christmas as a gift for someone, or leave it on a table so everyone can have fun. However you use it, it's a winner.


Urban Scrawl, by Lou Chamberlain, published by Hardie Grant Travel, 2018, illustrated, hard-cover, rrp A$19.99

- reviewed by Sally Hammond


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