The new Urban Renaissance: Street Art in Florence

By Tehani-Li Johnson, FFE, 2018

There is street art all over the city of Florence; walking the streets is akin to walking through an art museum. These pieces can be separated into four categories named after well-known artists: Clet, Blub, Exit/Enter, and Hopnn Yuri.


Clet can be described as “Florence street sign art”. The art style is named after the artist who started it; This French artist by the name of Clet Abraham goes on the streets of Florence and alters the traffic signs. Clet says that his art is made in order to wake up attention and create a dialogue: some people call him a guerilla artist due to him mostly working at night when the chances of getting caught are more slim. Though it is considered a crime, Clet’s works have made an impression on the art community and his pieces can be bought at his personal studio.


Works of Blub can also be found littering the streets of Florence. Blub is basically historical, realistic art pieces but with a twist: the pieces appear to be underwater. For example, you can see art pieces, such as Girl with a Pearl Earring originally by Johannes Vermeer, with snorkels and swimming caps. This is a fascinating way to give old art pieces a refreshing twist. The Florentine artist is anonymous yet widely known throughout Florence streets and art enthusiasts everywhere.


Exit/Enter art can be summed up as pictures of little men doing uplifting activities. These art pieces are simple and have a childlike feel to them. The artist of these works says that art and drawing are a part of him, just as long walks around the city. His art being on the street was kind of a happy-accident; since he was frustrated by the few opportunities given to young artists so he took matters into his own hands. The artist says, ‘life is a continuous change and an endless succession of situations, depending on your point of view, can be experienced as an exit or an entrance to new possibilities’.


Among the art styles mentioned, Hopnn Yuri is one of the newer ones. These pieces show political and ecological issues, primarily consisting of red, black, and white. A piece that has caused some talk is the artist’s interpretation of the Medici family; he says Renaissance is everywhere in the city-perhaps it lacks a bit the contemporary. He signs his art with “+BC=-CO2”, which is an encouragement for those who see it to ride bicycles.

Art is an often overlooked part of this world but is rightfully recognized in places such as Europe. Whether you are an advocate enjoyer of art or just someone who walks the streets, art is hard to ignore among the streets. When in Florence, don’t forget to look out for art on the street.

If you’d like more information on street artists in and around Florence, check out the Instagrams of these street artists and read this post by Girl in Florence:


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