It may be a quirk of my twisted personality but having a purpose for going out makes it easier to ignore my inner couch potato. There are many ways to think about purpose, and one is to explore a particular theme when run-walking your living environment. This post is going to suggest different forms of street art as a theme for your outings.
Rather than try to do all the fun work for you and suggest particular roots (although I’ll link to whatever I have found), this post points you to tools to use for identifying waypoints or destinations for your outing. Up to your own creativity and needs to figure out routes to such a destination or connecting a bunch of them.
I am aware that the term street art is normally understood in the limited sense of artsy graffiti but I use it in the broadest possible sense of anything – visual, sculptural, textual – embellishing public space (even if on private property, as long as it is visible to the passerby).
I know that it is silly to think one can ignore common sense meanings and make words mean whatever one likes (although my my more inclusive interpretation of ‘street art’ is hardly the flight of fancy achieved by poetic, philosophical, political, and lunatic spin doctors) so lets honour the pride of place that the visual arts are terminologically due by kicking off my overview with them:
Graffiti and similar joys: Eindhoven has a history with this art form, and the world famous Berenkuil, with its yearly international make-over event is testimony to that. But there is lots more to find all over the city, and several street artists now also work on commission, of which e.g. the many entrancing tunnel murals are a result. For more background info on Eindhoven’s graffiti scene and its history, check out this longread. There are several interactive maps available that show locations but I doubt any of them is comprehensive (and fully up to date) but that is inherent in this art form so no whining.
If you are already familiar with Eindhoven’s graffiti highlights, makes sure to visit its brainport little sister, Helmond. Studio Giftig‘s recent 870 m2 (!) mural is a sight to behold, more than worth a visit (lots more to discover in Helmond but that is for another post).
Street poetry: no better, or at least more fun way to improve your Dutch than figuring out what the meaning is of poetic text adorning city walls. Got kids? Treasure hunt street poetry and compete in making sense of what you find. Also for this art form an interactive map exists to help your exploration: click here. Like the Graffiti interactive maps it is not comprehensive but a good start. You don’t need to be a language wizzard nor schooled in the hermeneutics literary text to attend to street poetry. It does help to take a native speaker along. You will quickly be cured you of any preconceptions about the ‘obscurity’ that the term ‘poetry’ seems to evoke for many. When you’ve figured out the meaning it will often bring a smile to your face. By way of a try-it-at-home-first, give the below (well known) example by Merel Morre, one of Eindhoven’s former city poets, a go. The poem is located next to the Silly Walks tunnel at the TU/e campus.
A personal favorite of mine is the wall lining the wetland garden of the Effenaar. Very Dutch, very hip, very much overlooked…
Sculpture and reliefs The obvious traditional one. Also these art works have their own interactive map, again only in Dutch but manageable for those not comfortable with that language. There is a lot of this around. Unfortunately the Eindhoven is not great – to use a colossal understatement – with explanatory signage. I know of two art walking routes, that you might take as an entry point:
Thereafter, if paying some attention has convinced you that looking for this street art is fun, go out and locate as many of these works that are often as interesting and pleasing, sometimes even spectacular, as they are ignored, overlooked and unappreciated. Below a random minuscule selection from the interactive map.
Like the other interactive maps, the above one shows much but is not comprehensive. I came across a 2001 Dutch language municipal publication called the ‘Beeldenboek Eindhoven’ listing 553 sculptures etc. until 2000, so there is a lot out there for you to discover!