The Powerful Side Effects of Street Art

Originally featured on The Arts @ Henson-Parks Tumblr

A tiny tot on a plane to Disneyland, a teenager en route to the Grand Canyon in an R.V. and an undergrad studying abroad in Spain, I have historically always loved to travel.

My mom, a native New Yorker (not self-induced, like myself), took me on annual trips to NYC, and I think it was she who sparked my love of travel, and of street art. She picked up this beauty on the streets in front of the MoMA when I was eight, and it lives to this day on the walls of our family’s living room:

NYC street art

I perpetuated this trend when I visited a friend in Paris during high school. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the city, and with the immense amount of artists selling their work on the street. I picked up three antiquey-looking photographs: the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Jim Morrison (why not?) and brought them home to commemorate my trip.

France art

A few years later, I visited my Aunt in Hong Kong and purchased painted scrolls from the local night market.  I came to learn that street art was the most affordable and altogether pleasing souvenir that I could bring home for myself, so I continued.

Hong Kong Scrolls

Fast forward to my study abroad experience in Europe; I picked up a piece of art wherever I traveled. I didn’t realize I had a collection until my last year of college.

Spanish Steps

Before I graduated, I looked at each drawing, painting or photograph and remembered where I was and what I was doing when I first saw them. I saw myself bartering in Lisbon, Portugal at the local market, stumbling upon what would be my favorite piazza in Rome, gazing upon the azure waters of the Aegean Sea near the windmills of Mykonos, and finally, I saw my host mother giving me a street artist’s rendition of beautiful Granada, Spain on my last morning in the city that was my home for four months.

La Alhambra

To look at this art displayed on the walls of my room first brought me feelings of nostalgia, then inspiration. I looked at them during my last year of college and realized; I can’t let travel go.

Art is powerful: I am now a self-induced travel professional – I work for a PR agency in the city. This way, I get to “travel” every single day.

Mykonos, Greece

Anyone can create art if they have a vision. Whether you’re creating masterpieces, selling art on the street, or taking a look at a painting from across a room, it can have a lasting affect. When we allow art and travel to infuse into our lives, even in miniscule, seemingly fleeting ways, there’s no stopping their inspirational capabilities.

Mary in Italy

*I volunteer for The Arts @ Henson-Parks, a nonprofit dedicated to after school art programs for children.

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