Astonishing street art in Utrecht
Street art can be amazing to look at and it's even better when it's super detailed, playful and community-centred! That's what artist JanIsDeMan has achieved - and more - with his series of incredible murals in Utrecht. Each artwork has aspects of community involvement - residents were invited to have input such as their favourite books. It's as though each of the murals is a gift to the neighbourhood.
Impressive murals in Utrecht
The most popular one is the bookcase, and there are also "googly eyes", a community wordsearch and a tribute to a famous street. Marvel at the artworks below and get inspired to take a walk or bike ride in Utrecht to see it for real! Museums are closed, so what are you waiting for?
The bookcase murals
Utrecht is a UNESCO city of literature and that's why it's so apt that bookcase murals have started popping up! The notable mural, on Amsterdamsestraatweg in the Dutch city of Utrecht, has not only brought neighbours together, but it is frequently visited by passers-by who wish to stop for a selfie!
The mural features a varied selection of different books. These favourite titles were given by the people living in the nearby houses - minus, of course, any religious or political titles. Eight different languages are accounted for, showing how culturally diverse the neighbourhood is!
There's another bookcase mural (pictured above) located at Van Grafhorst notary office at Bermuurde Weerd, a 10-minute walk from the one pictured below. If you're on Frederick Hermanstraat in Amsterdam, you'll find yet another one!
An homage to a famous street
This mural, entitled "Welkom op Straatweg" or "Welcome to the Street Way" is an homage to the very long and well-known street in Utrecht known as Amsterdamsestraatweg. There are 24 different buildings depicted in the mural, all based on buildings on the street.
On the wall near the mural, there's a sign explaining which buildings are featured in the painting and what their street numbers are, so they are easy to find!
In the neighbourhood of Lunetten on the south side of Utrecht's suburbs, there's a street game for anyone who walks by and feels in the mood for a brain teaser in Dutch! This word search mural is based on words collected from the residents who live near the mural, which perhaps offers an insight into the community and their surroundings in Lunetten.
The artist has painted many faces in different locations in Utrecht. They are playful and emotive, with the appearance of those 3D plastic "googly eyes".
As you can see, many of the pairs of eyes are accompanied by mouths that are made to look like cracks in the wall, and some even have teeth! In some ways, you could say they are optical illusions.
The artist said the eyes are... “My way of making people smile in a simple way. Life can be tough, A lot of things I cannot change, so this is my share of making a more positive world.”
Murals in different countries
The artist has painted his distinctive murals farther afield! If you're in Mons in Belgium or Boulogne-sur-Mer in France, you might come across the distinctive bookcase murals!
This bookcase mural is in Mons, Belgium and tells the story of Mons.
This mural is in Boulogne-sur-Mer on the north coast of France, where an annual street art festival takes place.
Check out more murals by the same artist
JanIsDeMan's artworks have appeared in the Street Art Museum Amsterdam, Pow Wow in Rotterdam and other notable venues and events. The artist has an amazing body of work and if you've enjoyed this, it's well worth checking out his online portfolio and following him on social media. Browse the JanIsDeMan website and keep on discovering great street art!
All images courtesy of JanIsDeMan