You have to be quick to seek out Manchester’s rapidly evolving street art. You may see a photo of a particularly enticing piece on Instagram one day, only to find it painted over less than a week later. The graffiti in and around the Northern Quarter is constantly evolving with several regular artists contributing to the creativity in the area. If you’re looking for some of the area’s most iconic pieces, check out our guide below for where to find them. Just don’t be surprised if you arrive to find something different.
There’s still a lingering array of work in the Northern Quarter from last year’s Cities of Hope festival that brought street artists from all around the world to Manchester. Keep your eyes peeled for quirky cats by French artist C215 and Qubek’s bee, an homage to the city’s emblem.
One of the most impressive pieces on Tariff Street is again part of Cities of Hope. Swiss duo Nevercrew created Inhuman Barriers as a response to immigration issues – ensure that you look up close to see the detail in the piece that decorates the side of Hilton House, rather than dismissing it as a big blue diamond from afar.
Commissioned in 2011 by Converse, the iconic blue tit that looks out over a vacant lot just off Port Street is one of the longest standing pieces of street art in Manchester. Artist Sarah Yates is known for her work depicting birds and other elements of nature and despite the commerciality of this piece, it’s much loved by locals. You’ll find plenty of other large murals on and around Port Street, especially if you take a wander around the car parks at the top end of the street.
Spear Street may technically be an alleyway, backing onto many of the area’s infamous bars, but there’s plenty of interesting pieces of small street art to discover if you take your time walking down the cut-through. A highlight is by local artist Akse, who normally creates famous portraits around the area but has created a cute image of his son on a black door. There’s also several beautiful illustrative pieces of work by Tankpetrol to be found.
Another disused outhouse at the top of Tib Street is always adorned with interesting graffiti – previous artworks here have included a Breaking Bad theme and a portrait of Prince by none other than local favourite, Akse. If you’re looking for a piece to Instagram, this is normally where you’ll find the most topical pop-culture references. Also keep your eyes peeled for original Space Invaders in the area.
There’s plenty more Space Invaders on Faraday Street, including an impressive large white one. The small street is also home to one of the most highly photographed pieces in the Northern Quarter at the moment, Paint the Trees by Norwegian artist Martin Whatson. C215 also has several small portraits and cats to discover down the street – keep your eyes peeled for the red doors.