In January 2020, I visited Taipei for a few days and took photos of some of the street art there. Here is a video featuring those photos:
There are graffiti and simple throw-ups all over Taipei, but many of the more interesting pieces are in Ximending, a popular shopping and entertainment district. The street art in Taipei seems to have been created in roughly equal measure by local artists like Candy Bird (Han Chun-yueh), guest artists from overseas like INSA and MADSTEEZ and expatriates living in Taipei like fleksone.
1. At Tatung University
There is a large street art mural at Tatung Unversity by British artist INSA and American artist MADSTEEZ. The mural combines MADSTEEZ’s four-eyed WEENT!LL!AN character (but with her hairstyle and make-up apparently influenced by Peking Opera) with INSA’s GIF-ITI technique. This technique involved re-painting the mural a few times with the stripes, coins and flashes being painted in different positions, photographing the whole process and then later creating a GIF image (which you can see here: streetartnews.net/2014/06/insa-x-madsteez-presents-largest-gif.html) from the photo. Some of the colors have faded a lot since it was created in 2014 for the POW! WOW! Taiwan street art festival. The face used to be purple and the eye-shadow was ruby red (I prefer the faded version).
2. Corner of Zhanghua Road and Hankou Stree
Not far from from the main site for street art in Ximending is a large Star Wars themed mural by BOUNCE that re-imagines Darth Vader and and imperial stormtroopers as bunnies.
One area in Ximending is filled with street art: the area around the intersection of Lane 96, Kunming street and Wuchang Street and the adjacent Taipei Cinema Park. A lot of the murals there were created under the supervision of CITYMARX (citymarx176.wixsite.com/citymarx/news), a kind of street art promotion company.
Facing Taipei Cinema Park are two giant murals that take up entire walls: a Suicide Squad (plus transformers) mural, which was a collaborative effort that CITYMARX was involved with, and a portrait by Girenhao.
Nearby is this mural inspired by the 2019 Joker movie and painted in a series comic strip frames. This is a collective effort by a team that was led by VASTAR.
There are also several eye-catching portraits in this area.
There are also several wildstyle murals (Wildstyle refers to the street are based on intricate text designs). I particularly like the vibrant colors in fleksone’s piece and the 3D-effect in the piece by orb1taround.
I didn’t see many overtly political pieces when I was there, but I did notice this one mural in support of the the anti-government and anti-Mainland protests in Hong Kong.
In Ximending, there are also a lot of smaller and more whimsical street art works such as this Batman barrel.
The street art area of Ximending is a popular photo-taking spot.
There is a lot more street art around this area of Taipei; you can check out more of those images in the YouTube video and photo galleries I linked to at the top of the page.
4. Treasure Hill Artist Village
Treasure Hill Artist Village is a collection of studios, artist residences, galleries and shops located in a former army village on a hillside. In 2011, artist Hsu Che-yu created a series of black and white works, entitled Hidden Stories, based on news articles about the neighborhood’s history and development.
The Treasure Hill artist village is also home to this mural by Candy Bird. My interpretation of the artwork is that it represents the dehumanizing pressures and drudgery of modern life (with the child-like figure on the far right trying to climb out of that mess).
The relatively low-key street art within Treasure Hill itself does a good job of integrating with the architecture of the area. At the base of the hill is an area for practicing tennis, and those courts are filled with more vibrant pieces.
5. Skatepark near the Huashan 1914 Creative Park
If you are in Taipei, the Huashan 1914 Creative Park is worth a visit. It is a former winery that now houses boutiques, galleries and cafés. Beside the site, is a skatepark filled with graffiti and street art.
The wall at the front of the skatepark is interesting. It is covered with electronic components.
6. Other Places
On the side of the Taipei Artist Village building is this large mural by Candy Bird (who is also featured in the Treasure Hill section.
While walking around, I would sometimes come across murals on random streets.
When I went to view the winter cherry blossoms around Pingjing street (I was a few days too late, but some trees were still in bloom), I came across this vibrant mural on the side of an elementary school.
Interestingly, when I returned home and was checking the location on Google Maps, the street view showed two artist doing the preliminary sketch on the wall.
- Which artwork featured on this page do you like the best?
- How can street art benefit a community?
- Many of the murals were based on commercial properties from Western culture (e.g., Joker, Suicide Squad, Batman, Star Wars). What are the benefits and drawbacks of basing artworks on big pop-culture properties.
Sketch a wall near your home, school or office. Design an artwork that would go on the wall and add it to your sketch.
~photos and text by longzijun
More Street Art Galleries
Return to Artjouer’s Gallery of Artists