Manchester Street Art Axel Void

Where to find street art in Manchester’s Northern Quarter

In England, Street Art by Jaclynn Seah2 Comments

Manchester is most well known for its football teams, but head over to NQ aka the Northern Quarter near Piccadilly station and you will discover a more hipster arty side to this city. NQ was a once dodgy area that’s now the place to see and be seen, with lots of great cafes and eateries to explore, alongside some great art on its walls – here’s my guide on where to find street art in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

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Manchester Street Art Projects

One main festival responsible for the influx of many street art works is called ‘Cities of Hope‘ (CoH) where international artists each created a piece themed on key social issues like disability, sustainability and gay rights, just to name a few. The 2016 festival was held form 21-29 May 2016, just a few weeks before I was there – would have loved to be able to see the artists in action! It also involved several local Manchester artists which I will point out below.

Also of note – Outhouse MCR around the Stevenson Square area where artists are invited to paint on the walls of old public toilets. It’s regularly refreshed so you can always look forward to new artwork in this area.

As always, handy Google Map for anyone exploring the streets on their own. If you are looking for street art guides in other countries, check out my full list of street art guides for more.

 

Self-guided walking route suggestions

I plotted some recommended routes to see some of the more interesting works, but feel free to wander because you never know what you might find around the corner!:


ROUTE 1: Back Piccadilly Street > Tariff Street > Great Ancoats Street > Port Street

Back Piccadilly Street

Manchester Street Art Qubek Bee

First up – a quirky bee by Qubek

Manchester Street Art TankPetrol Bird Black

TankPetrol is a Polish street artist based in Manchester – you’ll see a number of his works around the city. It’s usually monochromatic and super detailed, very pretty

Tariff Street

Manchester Street Art Nevercrew Side

This is a CoH piece called Inhuman Barriers that Swiss duo Nevercrew – Christian Rebecci and Pablo Togni – created to highlight immigration issues

Manchester Street Art C215 Tarriff St

Facing the Nevercrew piece is this one by C215 whose cause was homelessness. I’ve always loved the evocative faces that he does – they are very recognizable and you’ll see a number of his works in the NQ

Manchester Street Art Long Wall

This is a pretty long wall you’ll see as you turn the corner on Tariff Street

Great Ancoats Street

Manchester Street Art Faith47

One of my favourite pieces from the whole COH is this one by Faith47 for the gay rights issue. Very striking but still very tasteful. It’s called 722-481 BC and you actually see a different picture in the dark (just the line drawings pop out), so make sure you check it out at night as well

Manchester Street Art Bailon

Across the road from Faith47 and a bit of a walk further up the road – It’s hard to miss this large bird along Great Ancoats Street by Brazilian Mateus Bailon whose work specialises in birds, fishes and plants. This is the Guardian of Ancoats. Sadly I missed his latest Cities of Hope piece that he did in July 2016!

Port Street

Manchester Street Art Pichiavo

Double back down Great Ancoats Street and turn into Port Street – The Spanish duo PichiAvo (that’s Pichi and Avo) took on the theme of Conflict – this features 2 Greek gods in battle – Hercules and the centaur Nessus. Their current work features a lot of this style.

Manchester Street Art Jay Sharples

On the other side of the same building with the Pichiavo artwork. Jay Sharples is a born and bred Manchester street artist – at first glance you might not even think this is street art as it just looks like pretty sharp graphic design. It apparently is meant to be kinda trippy – those lines seriously look like they are moving, and according to the artist, meant to replicate the feeling of a night in Manchester’s famous Hacienda Club.

Manchester Street Art Kladi Chekos

On the opposite side of Port Street to the works above is a carpark, and there you’ll find this rather ramshackle building structure and this work by Italian artists Kladi and Chekos.

Manchester Street Art Nomad Clan

Keep walking down Port Street tlll you pass the junction with Hilton Street and you should see this quite stunning work by Nomad Clan – which is really made up of 2 English female artists CBloxx and Aylo. Titled ‘King of Nowt‘, its theme highlights social pressure on younger men and that suicide is the number one cause of deaths for this group. It might not be immediately evident, but it’s a really beautiful piece

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ROUTE 2: Newton Street > Stevenson Square > Hilton Street > Tib Street > Brightwell Walk

Newton Street

Manchester Street Art Posters

Start at the junction of Newton Street and Faraday Street – right opposite the Police Station is this row of street art by various artists on shutters. If you pop down Faraday street, you can find some random graffiti in the dumpster area

Manchester Street Art Faunagraphic

Further down Newton Street past the Hilton Street junction on the side of Hatters Hostel is this great blue tit by Faunagraphic. This is quite an old piece commissioned by Converse back in November 2011!

Stevenson Square

This stretch of road has a lot of the OuthouseMCR works on what used to be public toilet structures in ‘islands’ in the middle of the road. There are just way too many to document and they are meant to be ever-changing, but here are some highlights from my time there in June 2016:

Manchester Street Art Akse David Bowie

Bowie Tribute by Akse. This Manchester-based street artist is famous for his portraits and you’ll see a lot of his work around the NQ

Spear Street

Manchester Street Art Akse

Along the Spear Street alleyway you’ll find a whole bunch of smaller graffiti works, and this portrait again by Akse. It’s a bit unusual because he usually does famous faces, but this is apparently his son!

Manchester Street Art TankPetrol Levitate

At the junction of Spear Street and Stevenson Square – I really dig TankPetrol’s aesthetic – I wondered why they seemed familiar, then realised I had seen these works before in Penang!

Hilton Street

Manchester Street Art Renee

If you go in the morning, you’ll see lots of the shop shutters with various graffiti and murals painted on them!

Tib Street

Manchester Street Art Akse Prince

Near the corner of Tib Street and Thomas Street are more OuthouseMCR works. Guess who did this Prince portrait?

Manchester Street Art Stripes

Other side of the outhouse

Brightwell Walk

Manchester Street Art Hyuro TankPetrol

Just off Tib Street is a little lane called Brightwell Walk – and in the carpark here you’ll see 2 massive CoH works. The work on the left is by Argentian street artist Hyuro addressing the issue of  the impact of war on children’s lives. It’s a very starkly haunting image. On the right is a TankPetrol freehand (!) portrait featuring Anthony Burgess who wrote A Clockwork Orange. The quote reads: ‘We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.’

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ROUTE 3: Faraday Street > Spear Street > Addington Street > Cable Street

Faraday Street

Manchester Street Art Martin Whatson

Norwegian street artist Martin Whatson took on the issue of the environment with this piece called ‘Paint the Trees‘.

Manchester Street Art Invader

An old piece by Invader who leaves his iconic space invader tiles everywhere he goes. This is Man_47 from way back in 2004 (and worth 50 points!)

Manchester Street Art C215 Red Door

C215’s distinct style is evident in the portraits! He does a lot of cats as well – spot them around the city if you can!

Spear Street

Manchester Street Art C215 Warwick St

At the junction of Warwick Street. This C215 work is actually based on a photo by local photographer Lee Jeffries who is known for his intimate portrait series of homeless people

Manchester Street Art Dale Grimshaw

UK artist Dale Grimshaw‘s portrait of a Papua New Guinea child for CoH is dedicated to the people fighting for the independence of West Papua.

Addington Street

This next bit is a bit further away – cross Great Ancoats Street, walk along Oldham Street still you get to this piece.

Manchester Street Art Axel Void

Axel Void‘s work is recognizable because of his font type and the dark close up nature of his portraits. It’s hard to imagine how a theme like ‘Existentialism’ can be adequately portrayed, but do check out his write up of his CoH piece to understand a little bit more about why ‘Sisyphus’ (that’s a greek god) and why her smile is being forced.

Cable Street

Manchester Street Art Case

On the next parallel street on the front of Swan Buildings is this piece by German artist Case whose work tends to focus a lot on hands. His CoH theme was disability, and I think he made an interesting choice to focus on mental health issues with this piece ‘Human Dignity is Inviolable

Manchester Street Art Phlegm

English artist Phlegm had the CoH theme sustainability, and portrayed it with this city in a jar. I love the absolutely amount of detail in there and it’s amazing how much you can portray in just black and white!

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Other works to look out for

Here are other works I found while wandering around the city – see if you can spot them! I took down some of their locations, others were back alley finds I stumbled across…

Manchester Street Art Sixxis

On the side of the building at Church Street and Union Street junction

Manchester Street Art Pug

This space pug by Qubek was found on some hoarding in the back alleyways

Manchester Street Art Frogs

Look out for these giant frogs along Tib Street

Manchester Street Art TankPetrol Girl Yellow

Yet another TankPetrol work on a shutter

Manchester Street Art WileECoyote

Wile E Coyote needs a little help! This was found on a doorway along Edge Street

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I really enjoyed this intense walkthrough of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, and I definitely haven’t seen all the street art works this city has to offer. Guess I gotta come back again some time to see what new works pop up in future.

Looking for street art guides in other countries? Check out my full list of street art guides.

Comments

  1. One of Manchester’s best features in my opinion. I just love walking around the city centre streets and catching glimpse of a different piece of street art. They look different depending on the time of day and amount of sun/cloud – never get bored of looking at them.

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