Back in the 1980s, Digbeth was another rabbit warren of dull, industrial streets, with as much personality as a wet dishcloth. Yet, as the hip hop scene started to take off mid-80s and the vibrant, effervescent culture of New York started to permeate the UK, music wasn’t the only thing to cross the Atlantic; graffiti and street art started to become a popular form of anti-establishment expression. This was contemporary art in its purest form. London, Manchester, Birmingham, and Bristol became artistic hubs for this new community of street artists, each area producing their own distinct local styles and attitudes towards the art form.
Now a stalwart character on the international art scene, these cities play host to a diverse array of globally renowned street artists, showcasing their works in multiple cities across the world. The beautiful thing about street art is that it is always changing, and you can chase an artist round the world on your own artistic treasure hunt. There is no place better to do this than Digbeth.
This creative quarter of Birmingham is a culture apart from Birmingham city centre, nearly every blank wall covered in incredible street art, from permission walls to illegal displays. Walking round, every corner allows you to discover something new, almost like you’re being let in on a secret club. Start your treasure hunt on Gibb Street, from where you will discover archways and carparks full of art, wherever you turn. What’s more, if you come across the Digbeth Dozen by Title (AKA Andy Mills), this mural displays a map of the best 12 independent bars and restaurants in the area, commissioned by the owner of The Ruin, Richard Hughes. See the Digbeth Dozen, here.
[Where possible, the names of the artists will be featured.]