Think of Havana, and you think of color—the painted facades, the bright hues of the vintage cars, the Caribbean sky. And another source of joyful, playful color is cropping up in the city’s neighborhoods—works of vibrant graffiti, crafted not only by locals but artists from all over the world.
“Havana is a wild west of street art right now, like New York was in the ’80s,” says Amir Saarony, the author of Painted Walls Havana (Creative Publishing Group, $100), a book that celebrates the street art movement in Cuba’s capital. According to Saarony, an art scene that began with local artists using scrounged materials and equipment now features established painters from several different countries, drawn to the city’s distinctive architecture and evocative weathered surfaces.
Noe Two (art pictured in main image) The French artist who goes by the name Noe Two, a reference to the biblical Noah, traveled to Havana three times over two years to complete this painting, titled “Yaoundé.”
Mr. Myl Arguably Cuba’s best known street artist, traditionally trained Mr. Myl has become an unofficial ambassador for Cuban street art, helping artists from overseas to travel to Havana and paint its surfaces. His signature grinning heads can be found all over the city.
Seorek Cuban-born Seorek established himself as a local street artist while studying philosophy at the University of Havana.
Bstrk and Jose Mertz Tigers painted by U.S.-based artists Abstrk (left) and Jose Mertz (right) adorn a restaurant wall in Havana.
Rone This Australian artist’s haunting female portraits, which are intended to weather and decay over time, can be found in cities around the world.
Uneg A graphic designer and street artist based in Mexico, Uneg creates colorful, quirky street art as well as projects for corporate clients.
Mr. Myl A portrait of legendary Cuban singer Omara Portuondo overlooks the Malecón. The singer was so enamored with the painting she used it as cover art for an album.
A Gallery of Cuban Artists This wall in Havana’s San Isidro neighborhood was painted by several Cuban artists in conjunction with a graffiti-themed street fair. It has since been painted over and now features new works. From left to right: Mr. Myl, 2+2=5, Vuelta, Mauro Coca, Sam33, Seorek.