Art on demand: UK launches digital street art collection

Want to see your favourite street art even after its been scrubbed away? Now you can thanks to a brand new online collection which catalogues 5,000 pieces of Britain’s best street art.

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Ever walked past some eye-catching street art but returned a few days later to find it has disappeared? To make sure this doesn’t happen to you again, Art UK has launched a new digital archive to ensure you can keep admiring your favourite murals long-after they have been painted over.

The digital archive, made up of around 5,000 significant murals from across the UK, will be freely available on the Art UK website. It is not the first project of its kind. Between 2017 and 2021 the organisation worked to digitise 50,000 pieces of public sculptures.

Street art captured the world’s attention when it became a major cultural movement in 1970s New York. London’s street art scene came to fruition in the early 1970s, influenced the rise of the punk rock and skinhead subcultures. Street art city tours to discover hidden artworks are hugely popular around Europe

This new digital collection will feature works by famous artists such as Banksy – whose identity remains unknown to the general public. His famous mural of an inmate escaping a former prison will feature among selected works.

The platform will also cast a light on elaborate street art which took artists years to complete. The Battle of Cable Street, an elaborate composition which depicts the famous London gang battle of 1936 is one of these pieces. Artists Dave Binnington, Paul Butler, and Ray Walker worked on the mural between 1976 and 1983.

Other art set to be available on the platform, includes a mural of hit-TV show Derry Girls TV and sculptural murals.

Volunteer researchers and photographers will contribute to the archive over the next three years, working until December 2026 to build up the archive.

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