The ephemeral nature of street art is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it feels more immediate than something in a museum. On the other, it could be painted over or torn down at any time.
That’s why we’re so excited about Google’s newest project, which seeks to digitize some 5,000 graffiti works from around the world.
Google Street Art employs Google Earth street view technology to put you up close and personal with painted walls, sidewalks and buildings in cities like L.A., Bogotá, Paris, Tangier and more.
On the Street Art home page, you’ll find a map of the world. Scroll around to discover graffiti from various locales, zoom in on each work to see it in detail and then click to learn more about the artist. You’ll see big names like Banksy and Shepard Fairey, as well as relatively unknown ones like Roa (from Belgium) and Defs (from the Philippines).
The coolest part, though, is the ability to virtually “walk around” graffiti sites that have gone the way of the dodo--for instance, the absolutely amazing 5 Pointz building in Queens, New York, which was shockingly painted over in 2013.
We always knew Google would be the one to make time travel possible.