Want to know where to find the best street art in Adelaide? This small city is jam-packed with bright and colourful art. Here’s some select pieces you may see on a walk through the streets of Adelaide’s CBD.
Adelaide – or Art-elaide?
The street art in Adelaide is out of this world. While everyone’s been paying attention to cities like Melbourne, the unassuming capital of South Australia has quietly covered itself in colourful art, by local and internationally renowned artists.
You can’t walk down a street or laneway in Adelaide without encountering some sort of cool public art.
It’d be pretty near impossible to capture them all, but here’s some of the work you can expect to see, while strolling around the city’s CBD (Central Business District).
If you’re after more, jump on the train to check out the street art in Port Adelaide – you’ll find vibrant works by world-renowned artists on the walls of this maritime town.
Street art in Adelaide
Jimi Hendrix by Jack Fran (possibly 2020)
Hindley Street is one of the main streets of the CBD, so it makes sense that it’s a hot spot for street art in Adelaide.
You’ll find plenty of murals along the street and in adjacent laneways.
This vibrant work by Jack Fran is opposite a bunch of murals in Register Street, including one by Seb Humphries aka Order55.
Vans the Omega (Various)
Joel Van Moore aka Vans the Omega is a local artist who has works splattered across town.
The first mural is on the corner of Waymouth Street and Tatham Street, painted on the side of the YHA.
You’ll find the second mural, ‘Sonia’ on Gresham Street, opposite the very excellent Bibliotheca Bar & Book Exchange.
Steve Urwin mural
There’s quite a few works down Tatham Street. If you’re looking for Adelaide street art locations, this is a good place to head to.
My favourite is this one, celebrating the late, great Steve Urwin.
What a lovely tribute.
‘Happiness is’ by Leah Grant (2015)
Just up from Steve, you’ll find this colourful mural by Leah Grant.
This was painted as part of Adelaide Fringe for Street Art Explosion.
Grant’s inspiration stemmed from an ad she saw in a 1970s issue of Women’s Weekly.
It featured a woman in her full body underwear – a tight corset with a zip pulling her tummy and hips in. She holds a sign that says: ‘Happiness is a flat tummy’.
Appalled by this, Grant planned a piece that went against this restriction of women, leaving the viewer to interpret happiness as just about anything they wish.
‘From Kenya with Love’, Bankslave (2017) & Various
Eliza Street is also absolutely covered with murals.
Bankslave’s ‘From Kenya With Love’ somehow manages to stand out.
It was painted as part of the 2017 Sanaa Festival, which focuses on exploring shared cultures through art, performance, food and more.
‘She Imagined Buttons’ by Jasmine Crisp (2020)
One of the best known examples of street art in Adelaide is Jasmine Crisp’s portrait is of Sia Fuller, known mononymously as Sia.
This towering mural is part of Adelaide’s City of Music Laneways Trail, where small or previously unnamed laneways across the CBD have been singled out and renamed in honour of local musicians.
She’s one of Australia’s most successful songwriters and performers. A nine-time Grammy nominee (geez, just give her one already), she’s worked with some of the biggest names in the biz.
Mural by Matt Stuckey & Twoone (Hiro Tsuir)
This work by Matt Stuckey and Twoone, a Japanese street artist and painter is on the side of Mercury Cinemas, a local arthouse cinema located on Morphett Street.
‘City of Music’ by Dave Court (2016)
Adelaide was recognised as a UNESCO City of Music in 2015 and this work by Dave Court celebrates this fact.
Court incorporated the stories of Adelaide musicians into his vibrant mural.
It’s off Morphett Street – you cannot miss it, as it is the biggest mural in the city.
‘Underwater Seascape’ by Lee Keough (2019)
You’ll find this mural on Twin Street, on the side of the K-Mart building.
‘Aussie’ & ‘Pixel Face’ by Peter Drew (Various)
Peter Drew is an artist and activist, based in South Australia.
He’s best known for his ‘Aussie’ poster series, which you can find in cities across Australia.
Each poster features a person who was born in Australia, but had their nationality recorded as something else due to their ‘race’.
These people were made to apply for exemptions to the dictation test which was a function of the White Australia policy. It allowed them to leave Australia and return without being racially excluded.
He sources his photos from the Australian National Archive, searching for ‘Australian born’.
I had thought Pixel Face to be less politically charged, turns out they represent the ‘flatness and banality of human emotions once they’ve passed through technology’.
Look out for his works as you wander around town.
Howling Owl Cafe, Jimmy C (2017)
Much of the street art in Adelaide bears James Cochran or Jimmy C’s distinct style combines realism with the figurative.
He uses an aerosol pointillist style, creating works out of dots or dashes of spray paint.
Quite a few of his works can be found in Adelaide’s cbd. This particular mural is located at Vaughan Place.
Elizabeth Close & Kaymist4 (2018)
Elizabeth Close is an artist and an Anangu woman from the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Language Groups.
Originally trained as a nurse, she began to paint professionally in 2007.
This particular work can be viewed on Franklin Street, painted as part of the Sanaa Street Festival for Fringe.
It’s a collaboration between Close and Kenyan artist Kenneth Otieno (Kaymist4) and features Major ‘Moogy’ Sumner AM, a Ngarrindjeri Elder.
‘No Fixed Address’ by Elizabeth Close, Thomas Readett & Shane Cook (2021)
This collaborative mural is the work of Elizabeth Close, Thomas Readett (a Ngarrandjeri and Arrente man) and Shane Cook (a Guwa and Wulli Wulli man).
No Fixed Address is an Indigenous band who have been around since 1979, forming at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM), which is part of the University of Adelaide.
The work is part of the City of Music Laneways Trail. You’ll find it just off Rundle Mall, next to the Rundle Place building. No Fixed Address Lane was formerly known as Lindes Lane.
‘Party Head’ by Mike Makatron (2016)
This work by Mike Makatron is located down an unnamed laneway, right near nightclub Zhivago.
Mike Maka is based in Melbourne and is one of my personal favourite street artists.
He paints a world where nature fights back against humanity, reclaiming what’s been taken from it.
Alien From E-Street Saturn by Driller Jet Armstrong (1998)
As far as street art in Adelaide goes, this has to be one of the oldest murals.
Yet funnily enough, Armstrong, the inventor of ‘daubism’ (an art movement where artists paint over other’s works) reworked an even older mural ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’, a work by local artists Barbary O’Brien and Carol Ruff.
The original painting of an ice-cream licking elderly man looking at a young girl on a pushbike didn’t age well, so Armstrong was enlisted to transform it, with the help of other local artists.
Their rework featured kissing aliens, a train circling Saturn, a one-eyed owl and many more bizarre things.
You’ll find this iconic work on the corner of Rundle Street and Frome Street.
Matchbox Car Wall by Matej Andraž Vogrinčič (2000) & mural by Wendy Dixon-Whiley (2022)
It’s not a mural, but it would be remiss of me to write an article about the street art in Adelaide and not mention the Matchbox Car Wall.
This is the work of Slovenian artist Matej Andraž Vogrinčič, who is known for his eccentric public art.
Adelaide Festival offered him a spot at their 2000 event. He saw Adelaide as a city full of garages and car parks and decided to make his own, albeit on a much smaller scale.
He asked for matchbox car donations, received nearly 15,000 and this is the result.
Intended as a temporary exhibit, it’s such an enduring hit, it’s been left there permanently. A good call – what a pain it would be, to have to prise every one of those cars off that wall!
And now it’s two for the price of one. Next to it you’ll find this really fun work by South Australian artist Wendy Dixon-Whiley
Both are located in Rosina Place, at Wilson Car Park.
Cold Chisel Lane, James Dodd (2021)
This is the second laneway to be unveiled as part of the City of Music Laneways Trail.
Artist James Dodd has painted a series of quotes from fans of Cold Chisel, in vibrant colours reminiscent of the song ‘Flame Trees’.
Works by Seb Humphries aka Order55 (2017 & 2016)
These works are by Australian artist Seb Humphries, also known as Order55.
His surreal works are inspired by nature, fantasy and science fiction. They have a distinctive energy to them, that seems otherworldly.
You’ll find the first work in Gawler Place and the second at Synagogue Place. He has a few other murals, littered around Adelaide.
Concluding thoughts about street art in Adelaide
Are you convinced now that Adelaide has a street art scene to rival Melbourne’s?
This really is just a sprinkling of what’s on offer – there’s plenty more to uncover.
Stroll around the CBD and see what you can find.
If you’d like to learn something along the way, you can jump on a Adelaide street art tour – by pedicab, nonetheless.
You can even take a tour focusing on the works of Jimmy C.
What do you think of the street art in Adelaide? Let me know in the comments.
Public artwork in Australia
Art lover? Australia has no shortage of fascinating art projects, and towns filled with vibrant, colourful and quirky urban art.
Check out the following articles for arty inspiration:
- Street art in Melbourne: a guide to the city’s colourful laneways
- Discover Benalla: Victoria’s most colourful town
- Guide to the OG Silo Art Trail in Victoria
- Navigating the North East Silo Art Trail in Victoria
- Street art in Perth and some odd sculptures
- The painted sheep of Northampton WA: wool ewe visit?