Street murals in Seoul has rendered the city more colorful. They can usually be found in old villages or neighborhoods where there are universities. These wall paintings are not all located in one street. They are like treasures that need to be hunted.
Hongdae’s Mural Street
A few friends planned a “photowalk” along Hongdae one hot summer afternoon. After meeting at a fast food joint near Hongik University, we walked a few meters to what is known as 홍대벽화거리 (벽화 – byuk hwa – means mural or wall painting; 거리 – geo ri – means sreet). Hongik University is famous for its art and design courses. All around the area one would find galleries, artsy cafes and design shops. Much of the murals painted in this neighborhood were done by students of the university.
Hoegi-dong’s Wall Paintings
Two days after our Hongdae photowalk, I decided to walk around my own neighborhood of Hoegi-dong. Along the small alleys and streets from Hoegi Station to Kyunghee University are street murals mostly found on the walls of private residences.
Ihwa-dong’s Mural Village
Another popular place to hunt for murals is the neighborhood of Ihwa-dong. I first learned about the murals here from an episode of 1박2일 (1 Night-2 Days) when Lee Seung-gi posed beside an angel wings painting on his way to Naksan Park. I used to live near the area and we used to frequent that park. To get there, I got off Dongmyo station and took the village bus 3 to the park. I found my way down to the entrance of the park and that’s how I started my mural hunt. It was fun as there were lots of tourists that time: Koreans, Chinese and Japanese. I got to talk to one of the residents and she said that many visitors come to see the murals. She also pointed me to a street where an artist is painting at that time.
The 이화벽화마을 or Ihwa Mural Village is a government project that started in 2006 to make the village more attractive. Seoul is a modern city but I find hilly old villages charming even with their steep staircases and narrow alleys. The people, especially the old ones, are friendly
The staircase painted with the colorful daisies is a favorite of the visitors. There are just so many wall paintings in this village and it’s fun going around the village hunting for them.
I bet there are more places in Seoul with street murals. Not only do they make the neighborhoods more attractive, but they also give budding artists a chance to showcase their artworks.
On your next visit to Korea, make sure to check out the street murals in Seoul.