Spray Painting Sheffield: Sheffield’s Street Art Trail.

At this point in lockdown, you’re probably dreading what seems like your 700th walk around the park. Of course, Sheffield is blessed with over 250 parks but if you fancy something a bit different, the Sheffield Street Art Trail could be for you.

Provided by Our Favourite Places, the Street Art Trail includes 10 of the ‘finest murals the city centre has to offer’ over its 1.6-mile route. The trail is a great way to explore the city centre on your daily walk and takes you all the way from the Site Gallery on Broad Street to Broad Lane. It’s lovely to stroll around the city with a drink from your favourite café, such as from Tamper Coffee on Arundel Street, just down from the Now Then mural.

The trail starts at the Site Gallery with ‘Horsetail’, a monochromatic mural by Paul Morrison. The mural covers a whole wall of the gallery and was commissioned in 2018 as part of Site’s new public artworks. Just up the road, at the experimental art space Access you can find ‘Particles’ by Florence ‘EMA’ Blanchard. The abstract bright design is a perfect tribute to the creative, experimental nature of Access and adds some much-needed flair to this otherwise unassuming building. Other nearby highlights include Jo Peel’s work in Wellington Street Car Park. Locals will recognise Peel’s signature bright orange and blue cityscapes from all over the city including the University of Sheffield campus.

Rob Lee’s Now Then Mural
Jo Peel’s work at the University of Sheffield

Other local favourites include Pete McKee’s ‘Muriel’ at the Art House. The coral pink background of this well known Sheffield artist can brighten any grey day. The unmistakable style of Phlegm is a firm part of the Sheffield landscape so it is only fitting that his feature wall on Snuff Mill Lane is the final stop on the trail.

Although the trail is a fantastic option, another way to explore Sheffield’s street art is through Street Art Sheffield’s map. The map shows all Sheffield’s past and present street art and is a great guide for anyone interested in local artists, with over 250 documented pieces.

If you choose to use the map, I recommend checking out where you’d like to go and which pieces you want to see before setting off. Then, instead of following a rigid route, have the map open on your phone and vaguely follow it to your desired pieces. This allows you the freedom to explore new areas and art you may be curious about.

I started out from my flat on a rainy, grey afternoon in Crookesmoor. Luckily, my first stop was only about two minutes from my front door at the Hallamshire House, where there is a bright mural of a fox hidden down an alleyway. Then, I continued to the University of Sheffield’s campus where you see Jo Peel’s work before going down towards Broad Lane where my personal favourite, Pete McKee’s work, ‘The Snog’ can be found. Following the map felt like a natural stroll past places I already knew, but it allowed me to appreciate artwork which I’d normally just glance at. With the wealth of Street Art in Sheffield, there’s probably a similar route for you.

Eventually I arrived in the city centre and headed down to Sheffield Hallam’s Campus and beyond. I truly saw parts of Sheffield I had never seen before whilst enjoying some great artwork by renowned artists such as Phlegm, Nano 4814, Faunagraphic (pictured) and Rob Lee. My personal highlights include Frau Isa’s mural at the Red Deer, the Charles Street graffiti and the topical ‘This is Just an Interval’ by Mila K at the O2 Academy (main image). Mila K’s work is temporarily on display whilst the O2 is closed due to Coronavirus restrictions and provides some much-needed positivity in these difficult times. 

Unlike an interval at the O2, the Coronavirus Pandemic has left us all bored and trapped. But instead of seeing travel restrictions as a negative, why not use this time to explore your own city through initiatives like the Street Art Trail?

Yzabelle Bostyn

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