Salt Lake CityStreet ArtUSAUtah

Street Art in Salt Lake City, Part 1

Street Art in Salt Lake City, Utah
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Salt Lake City, Utah, is known for a lot of things: Mormons, The Jazz, The Greatest Snow on Earth…but not really for street art. I honestly didn’t know too much about street art before I visited Germany in 2014, and quite frankly didn’t know that there were even places in Salt Lake City that could be considered “art.” During 2016 I was a driver for Lyft and found myself driving all over the Salt Lake Valley, discovering corners I didn’t know existed, quaint and quirky neighborhoods, and most importantly, stunning murals and explosions of color.

 


 

STREET ART VS GRAFFITI

For the sake of education, let’s take a quick pause and talk about the differences between street art and graffiti. Having grown up in Southern California, I’m no stranger to seeing graffiti covering walls, cars, billboards, freeway signs, train cars…basically anywhere that someone could claim bragging rights from tagging: the more dangerous the location, the greater the street cred. I don’t like it, but I understand it (I’m not here to judge – I’m here to admire). Any basic Google search will provide an interested party with a slew of articles from CNN, SFWeekly, The LA Times, and even Columbia University, proving their take on the differences between street art and graffiti. For the sake of time, I’ve compiled the articles down to a few key points to help you distinguish the differences for yourself. Again, these are generalities that I’ve compiled from the internet, free from personal bias.

 

WORD/IMAGE-BASED: As a general rule, street art is centered around an image. It tells a story, can often be abstract, and is often painted with mediums other than aerosol. Graffiti tends to be more word-based, is often hard to read, and is ever-changing. There is also the overlapping “Graffiti Art,” which is a combination of words and images.

 

INTENT: What is the intent behind the piece of art? Is it to tell a story, or to mark property/territory? Is it there to invite or scare others away?

 

PERMISSION: A lot of street art nowadays is commissioned by companies or individuals to bring focus and attention to a business or location. Street art can be created in broad daylight, and is often signed with the artists’ full name.


 

To be honest, I love street art. I dragged my friends all over Salt Lake City trying to capture some of my favorite locations on camera. There are so many different artists looking for that creative outlet, and I sure do hope that more beautiful murals pop up around town. Here are a few of my favorite locations to find street art in Salt Lake City…part 1!

 

#1: Crank Bike Shop

Now closed for good, the Crank Bike Shop in Downtown Salt Lake City at 749 S. State Street has got to be my #1 spot. The mural is so vibrant with bikes adorning the top of the building like stars on a Christmas tree. The mural was painted by Chris Peterson, and collaborated with Pat Clifford. I’ve driven by this place so many times, but it wasn’t until I actually started to stop and look around me that I noticed it. The mural is a direct representation of the grid-system layout of the Downtown Salt Lake City street map, complete with bike routes. I fell in love with the eye-catching color palate instantaneously!

Street Art Salt Lake City
Crank SLC Bike Shop, 749 State St, Salt Lake City, UT

 

Street Art Salt Lake City
Crank SLC Bike Shop, 749 State St, Salt Lake City, UT

 

#2: Gallenson’s Guns and Ammo

If you live in Salt Lake City and have driven around downtown, chances are you’ve seen the street art around Gallenson’s. It’s really hard to miss, no matter what your stance is regarding guns. The best part? If you find yourself behind the building, you’ll find a whole alley full of amazing street art!

 

Street Art Salt Lake City
Gallenson’s 166 E 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT

 

Street Art Salt Lake City
Gallenson’s 166 E 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT

 

Street Art Salt Lake City
Trash Can Behind Gallenson’s 166 E 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT

 

Street Art Salt Lake City
Trash Can Behind Gallenson’s 166 E 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT

 

#3 Cents of Style Wall

While this location isn’t technically in Salt Lake City, it definitely is in Salt Lake County. It’s totally worth the drive out if you’d like to get some awesome solid color background shots! Just make sure to heed the signs regarding pictures and you’ll be good to go! My friend and I took the jaunt out here one Saturday and loved every second of it!

 

Read here on how to visit the Cents of Style Wall

 

cents of style wall from parking lot
Cents of Style Wall 14699 South 800 West, Bluffdale, UT

 

Cents of Style wall
Cents of Style Wall 14699 South 800 West, Bluffdale, UT

 

cents of style wall sunglasses
Cents of Style Wall 14699 South 800 West, Bluffdale, UT

 

#4: The Sea Turtle

Isn’t it awesome when your friends know about cool things and places? I wouldn’t have found The Sea Turtle otherwise, that’s for sure. Located on the side of a building in the Fat Cats parking lot at 3739 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, UT, the local street artist known as SRIL (pronounced like surreal) was still working on the rest of the mural when I finally made it over. My friend used to live close to it, and was always talking about the mural. Of course we had to check it out!

 

Street Art Salt Lake City
The Sea Turtle 3739 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, UT

 

There are so many murals, so many hidden gems, and so many more artists to discover in Salt Lake City’s street art scene. Stay tuned for another installment coming soon!

 

cents of style wall red/blue

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23 thoughts on “Street Art in Salt Lake City, Part 1

  1. I honestly never would have pegged dupsters as being a spot for good wall art but apparently Salt Lake City likes to be unique haha! You should visit Toronto, we have an entire alley dedicated to wall art 🙂

  2. It wasn’t until a trip to San Francisco that I started falling in love with Street art! Now I seek it out in the cities we visit. There is such a diverse range of art in the area that you showcased. I especially love the sea turtle!

  3. I’ve been to SLC but didn’t really pay attention to the street art. This post makes me wish I had! The turtle one is amazing, what amazing detail. And the dumpster one is definitely unique!

  4. I never really looked into the difference between street art and graffiti, as they’re mostly used interchangeably. So it’s good to know the difference! I really liked the Cents of Style Wall, even if it’s technically not in Salt Lake City. I didn’t really expect Utah to have such nice street art, so it’s good to know for when I finally go to Utah! Thanks for rounding up all the top spots!

  5. Honestly, I wouldn’t have expected street art in the rather conservative Salt Lake City, Utah. I’m almost addicted to street art myself and just posted my latest article about a community in Medellin, where street art is actually a visual expression of change and hope for a better future. So yes, there’s more depth to street art than most people expect. Let’s get rid of the prejudice against ‘graffiti’!

  6. Thanks for opening my eyes. I guess I’d noticed a difference in quality between street art and grafitti but hadn’t consciously named the differences. Your pictures show some incredible images.
    I spent a month in Oaxaca, Mexico, last year and couldn’t stop taking pictures of their street art (as I now know to call it).

  7. I never really thought about street art and graffiti being two different things, but I notice the difference now. The trash can behind Gallenson’s looks like graffiti because of the aerosol, or maybe it’s graffiti art? I feel like I’ll be thinking about this whenever I see graffiti or street art now lol. Anyway, graffiti or not, I too really admire how people can create massive sizes of art and make it look so flawless. I also love the cents of style wall, it kind of looks like what shows up on your screen when your TV isn’t working. It’s funny where you can get inspiration from.

  8. Cranks bike shop wins hands down for me, how incredible is the art?! I’ve never been to Salt Lake City, so am really living and loving it though vicariously through your posts! The sea turtle is my next favourite, just wonderful creatures.

  9. I’m still WOW after reading this! Those street arts are so beautiful with colorful colors. I love the pic of you jumping in the sky. You look so gorgeous, girl!

  10. I love that you defined the difference between graffiti and street art. So often I see the terms being used interchanged when they really aren’t the same thing. I also didn’t realize that Salt Lake City had such great street art. I’ll definitely have to check it out next time I’m in the area.

  11. That’s so cool – had no idea at all that Salt Lake City had such a thriving street art scene . That turtle is beautiful.

  12. I’m not sure I fully agree with a difference between graffiti and street art being defined as the presence or absence of text in the image when there are so many other factors to consider. I’d imagine concepts like intent, permission, location, intricacy, reputation and overall skill level would also come into play for a meaningful discussion about the difference or overlap between the terms. Having said that, (and thank you for stimulating my curiosity) I enjoyed looking at the images and the variety of different types, from surreal to realistic to abstract. I do think that people who practice this to high skill level are under-represented in the art world, and it has been interesting to watch the career of people like Banksy, whose work has become a touchstone for the genre, go from little known to well known, all while remaining out of the public eye. In considering your post, you have brought back many memories of many of my trips in urban areas which have these kinds of decorations. Thank you for that!

    1. Thanks for your words Dan. As a student of history, I normally don’t like to over-generalize and silo differences as generically as I did, but chose to focus this post on the beautiful art that you so kindly mentioned is completely under-represented in the art world. I’m glad I was able to help bring back wonderful memories for you!

  13. The sea turtle is absolutely stunning! I love the fact you discussed the difference between street art vs graffiti. Murals are definitely my favourite and I was just around the American Southwest area. Wish I’d seen this before then!!

  14. This is very intense street art. There is a lot of depth that I see in each of the pieces. I like the plain walls the most – simple and vibrant and enough for you to add your thots to it. 🙂 Nice pics

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