Admittedly, the main urge for me to visit Łódź was my obsession with David Lynch; I knew there must be something unique about a city if it played a muse to one of the world’s greatest creative minds.
But fulfilling my Lynchian desires was just one facet of Łódź that I wanted to get out of my trip. I had another desire – to explore its street art. I don’t just mean the odd slapdash piece of graffiti, this is a city that flourishes with street art and it’s a big part of the urban development plan underway in Łódź.
Before heading to Łódź, I did a little research and found a group on facebook called Street Art in Łódź, and was astounded by the volume of street art sprawled across the city. Not only that, but each photo in the group detailed the whereabouts of each work – a true God send! In addition to this, I stumbled across the Urban Forms website, and was amazed to find a comprehensive map of the city that pinpointed out a significant amount of street art. So, with a little help already in hand, my plan was to explore Łódź through its street art.
With the map provided by Urban Forms, I followed the location of each one, and soon realised it was the perfect way to explore the city. I walked down residential flats that I would not have ventured down otherwise, I spoke to a few people in broken English, and it took me off the main visitor streets. However, at times I was unable to find the street art highlighted by Urban Forms – I mark this down to either bad map reading, or that it had been painted over. Sadly, I think it’s the latter reason.
Created by Detroit based street artists. This colourful bird by Hygienic Dress League can be found tucked away on Miedziana Street nearby the Museum of Cinematography.
Łódź: A muse to creativity?
Unlike so many other cities, Łódź isn’t afraid to show its ugly side, and it doesn’t seem too bothered what visitors think of it either. It seems far too preoccupied with getting on with life, than it does looking pretty. But inadvertently, I think this is why Łódź has become an unlikely muse for creative types. There’s a certain allowance for free expression that comes in a place that doesn’t concern itself with keeping up appearances.
What I find with several cities I visit, is that aesthetics are created with the visitor in mind, whilst Łódź on the other-hand creates for those who live there. And it’s the visitors choice to search for it –rarely is it given on a plate. Instead it puts street art on a residential block of flats, or a quiet street to brighten up the scenery for local life. Of course there is an element of wanting to attract new visitors to the city, but I think for the larger part, and this is what makes living in Łódź special; it’s because the city cares for its people, and the people care for its city.
The brilliant thing about street art is that it’s a low cost, high impact way to transform a city. Tax payers won’t be grumbling about their money being spent on something that they won’t get a chance to enjoy for themselves. And speaking of communal enjoyment – that’s exactly what street art does, it creates conversation and debate, and at the very least it brings visual stimulation – whether you like the look of it or not.
Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss ~ Banksy.
It’s difficult to miss this one! Created by Sainer, a street artist who hails from Warsaw.
You can find this one on Jaracza street.
I think I found this one somewhere along Traugutta street…. but don’t count my word for it. I’m not sure what it is, it looks like a cross between a snake and a roll of toilet paper.
This one is huge and can be found at 67 Pomorska street. It was created by Spanish artist Aryz.
Apparently this mural depicts famous Polish people, but in reality, there is supposedly very little resemblance!
The largest street art in Łódź!
One of the smaller ones I came across, I chanced upon this on Przemyslowa street whilst walking to the Jewish Cemetery. It just goes to show that every corner seems to reveal a new surprise.
After my visit in December 2012, I visited again in June 2013 and spotted this one in a car park!
This wasn’t all of the street art but I was cold and decided to retire at my hotel with some hot chocolate. I guess with so little time and so much more to see, I’ll just have to have another visit to what is, the most underrated city in Europe.