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Street Art of Manchester’s Northern Quarter

I am a big fan of street art and I find myself seeking it out wherever I travel to. Often the art finds you, as it is hard not to notice when a full wall is decorated in a bright colourful muriel, but it’s one of those features of a city that make it different and stand out to you as a visitor.


Manchester is not well known for its street art in the same way that, Brighton, London and Bristol (the home of street artist, Banksy) are, but it gives one area of town some serious attitude and that is the ever so trendy, Northern Quarter.


The Northern Quarter is the sort of ‘alternative’ area of Manchester, where you’ll find quirky boutiques, independent restaurants and a variety of trendy cocktail bars. But what makes it stand out from anywhere else in Manchester is the street art and decorative graffiti.



The reason I think I connect more with art on the street is that I feel that it is more accessible than the sort of art that is hung up in a gallery. Street art tells stories in different ways and artists follow their own rules of creativity to bring whatever is in their head onto their own unique ‘blank canvas’.


There are many different types of street art and the Northern Quarter has a little bit of everything for everyone. Most of the street art here is constantly changing too. New artists come in and design art work, using their own techniques, ideas and talents, just like Stina Jones above. She is a freelance Illustrator and Graphic Designer based in Manchester and right here she is working on an awesome big bird doodle on the Manchester Out House. Click here to see what the finished masterpiece looked like.




There are many different reasons how and why street art has come to be in certain areas of the Northern Quarter as designs serve different purposes. Some of the street art here is not fluid and in fact stays as a colourful marker of businesses in the area, especially this sandwich shop and the tattooed lady on the back wall of this tattoo and piercing shop.




What is most fascinating about street art is that the ‘transient’ art serves as a marker of specific windows in time such as this David Bowie muriel. David Bowie only passed away a couple of months ago at the time of writing this post and this muriel is a beautiful way of celebrating such an incredible and influential musician’s life. As the Northern Quarter is home to many independent record shops and non mainstream music venues, it seems only fitting that David Bowie is part of the street art landscape here.


Other timely artwork in the Northern Quarter includes this wall, decorated to celebrate the new year.


My favourite type of street art however is the art that has a message. One muriel that I found over the weekend was emblazoned with the simple words, “enrich not exploit” with a big peace sign.


Other artwork with a strong message that I have come across in the past but has since been painted over featured former Central Intelligence Agency employee and contractor for the US Government, Edward Snowden. Across a wall of computers were the words, “Truth is coming and cannot be stopped.” Poignant, as although controversial, Snowden has been labelled a hero and whistleblower. He copied classified information from the United States National Security Agency in 2013 without authorisation. It has fuelled debates over mass surveillance, government secrecy and the balance between security and privacy.


No matter the meaning or reasoning behind the art, the Northern Quarter is filled with street art that makes you think. It will inspire, intrigue and confuse you…even if some of the art is a bit random!


So tell me, do you like the street of Manchester’s Northern Quarter? Which one of these paintings are your favourite? Could you recommend anywhere that also has great street art? Let me know below :)

Mel x

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