Tag! You’re It: Great graffiti art displays in Calgary

Calgary is home to a beautiful range of art installations, including several stunning graffiti wall murals and pieces by local artists such as Dedos, Mr. Earthfolk, Jesse Gouchey and more. Featured in this list, some of Calgary’s best graffiti art is found in unexpected locations including bars, restaurants, smoke shops, music schools and the city’s science centre.

Le Rock

331 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0A5

A hip-hop apparel and graffiti-art supply store, Le Rock sells a wide range of graffiti supplies including spray paints, markers and paint caps. Brands include Kobra, Montana, Block By Block and more. The shop’s interior is covered in colourful graffiti artwork, and its exterior and shutter gates frequently feature graffiti art. The most recent shutter gate artwork by local artist Dedos features a tribute to American rapper Immortal Technique and his song “The Martyr.”

Alberta College Of Art + Design

1407 14 Ave NW, Calgary, AB T2N 4R3

It’s no surprise that the Alberta College of Art + Design is one of the best places in Calgary to find local graffiti art. In fact, contributing to the walls of the school’s infamous graffiti stairwell is practically a rite of passage for ACAD students. Students are encouraged to write and paint on the walls of the staircase, making this informal gallery space an ever-changing and constantly evolving art installation.

The Big Cheese

738 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0B7

Best known as the late-night destination for gut-busting poutine dishes, the Big Cheese features a graffiti-painted outdoor patio that’s known to few. A warm-weather seating area at the back of the restaurant, it is shaded by trees and features wall-to-wall graffiti murals by local artists Jesse Gouchey and Aerisolic. The far side of the patio also features a big portrait of the late Brooklyn rapper Notorious B.I.G. Restaurant patrons can pay tribute by chowing down on a massive, pork-loaded Notorious P.I.G. poutine.

Barcelona Tavern

501 8 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1G1

This upscale tapas restaurant in the downtown core (in the former Belgo Brasserie location) has gained quite a reputation for its Spanish and Mediterranean menu as well as its street-art-adorned interior. Its graffiti-painted walls have been decorated by young Calgary artist, Jemus. The artwork features a blue, red and yellow colour scheme and is decorated with colourful Spanish-influenced street art imagery. A massive pink bull stands beneath the words “Barca Boys.”

Oak Tree Tavern

Up-124 10 St NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1V3

One of the more recent additions to the Kensington nightlife scene, the Oak Tree Tavern is positioned right next to an unassuming graffiti-covered alleyway. The colourful corridor features a magnificent mass of text and imagery including a massive Frankenstein head that appears to keep a watchful eye on pedestrians making their way to and from the tavern.

Hop In Brew Pub

213 12 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0G9

This Beltline watering hole stands adjacent to a graffiti wall mural on the side of the Cunningham Block building. The art piece features a moonlit caricature-like cityscape that captures the vibrant energy of Calgary’s nightlife. The mural was painted in 2006 as part of the Murals Under Pressure program for young graffiti artists. The piece was done in partnership between Urban Youth Worx, the city, Calgary Police Service and various independent business owners. In summer, Hop In Brew Pub patrons can admire it from the establishment’s patio.

Puff n Stuff

1509 8 St SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1C1

A small boutique smoke shop located in the Beltline area, Puff n Stuff’s storefront features a collaborative graffiti mural entitled The Jamaican Stargazer. The mural is decorated with esoteric tribal imagery including a lion, a totem pole and three spirit guides. The shop is located just north of the intersection of 17th Avenue and Eighth Street Southwest. The impressive artwork is hidden on the alley side of the store but can be easily viewed by pedestrians.

Vendome Cafe

940 2 Ave NW, Calgary, AB T2N 0E6

This recently renovated northwest café is located a short distance from two stacked metal shipping containers that have been beautified with graffiti art. The artwork changes on a regular basis but often features designs by Mr. Earthfolk, a local artist whose graffiti is easily recognizable for its colourful figures and faces with blank, white eyes. The artwork is also visible from the C-Train as it stops at the nearby Sunnyside station.

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