UP Magazine's 2023 Editor's Choice

Written by UP Mag Staff

2023 was a big year for UP, with a few transitions and changes. We expanded the team, bringing on new contributors that helped grow our international coverage with stories from the far flung regions of Asia, South Africa, and a lot more stories from Europe! We dived into more history, with chronicles of Zines and famous artists alike, and stepped up our story telling as a whole!

In the spirit of the seasonal end and our yearly tradition, here’s our Editor’s Choice List – the 25 stories that were for us the best of the 200+ we published this year.

Persian Poet: A Woman Made of Fire

Written by Stained Napkins // Published March 23, 2023

Learn how New York-based poet and street art The Persian Poet spreads messages of self-improvement, healing, and social change, as told by fellow street poet Stained Napkins.

STRAAT: Europe’s Premier Street Art Museum

Written by Alex Pope // Published January 15, 2023

Meet STRAAT, the museum for street art and graffiti in Amsterdam’s trendy NDSM district featuring giant murals, artists in action, and more.

A Glimpse Into the Talent of Andre Trenier

Written by Alvin Jackson of Black Art Review // Published June 18, 2023

Andre Trenier is a New York based multidisciplinary artist. Born in the Bronx, art has always been a fixture in his life. His passion for the arts has led to creative experiences around the world – read up on a few of his many accomplishments.

The Eyes of Nikybotz

Written by Ana-Alicia Salazar // Published September 25, 2023

Nikybotz’s street art will make you look twice. Meet Nick of Nickybotz, an LA native and Los Angeles based collection designer and street artist on the rise. He is known for his colorful, uniquely shaped, jovial characters, with distinct almond shaped eyes.

Stikman – Life in the Concrete Jungle

Written by Ana Candelaria // Published November 18, 2023

Who is stikman’s incognito creator? Fans and collectors have wondered for decades. Very little is known. UP Magazine has some answers for you in case you’ve been wondering about the artist yourself!

Building the Devil’s Mountain: Teufelsberg, Berlin

Written by Andi Schmitz // Published January 23, 2023

A history of Teufelsberg, the “Devil’s Mountain” of Berlin – a haven for creatives all around the city.

The Renaissance of Long Beach, CA

Written by Brian Bloss // Published on September 12, 2023

Long Beach Wall has been bringing murals to Long beach for over 7 years with a mission to change the face of Long Beach through art, one wall at a time.

The Striking Vision of the Maxo Vanka Murals

Written by Diane Vrabel // Published June 22, 2023

In an austere church in Millvale on a hillside above the Allegheny River, the haunting murals of Maxo Vanka celebrate immigrant life, religious faith, and our shared humanity, while also lamenting society’s ills and flagrant inhumanity.

The Photographer: An Icon of Valencia’s Streets

Written by Diego López Gimenez // Published on November 2, 2023

In the bustling streets of Valencia, we find a unique urban artist known as Mrbt62 or The Photographer, who, at the age of 70, has made an indelible mark on the city since 2015. In an exclusive interview, we delve into his world, where urban art becomes a form of unparalleled expression and authenticity. Through his words, we discover his unique and passionate approach to street art and his iconic alter ego, The Photographer.

Akiva Listman Lights Up New York

Written by Emma Riva // Published on August 6, 2023

Akiva Listman doesn’t just paint the fantasy New York tourists come to the city for–he depicts the grit and the glow that makes up the city as it really is. (Take it from Emma Riva, a native New Yorker with high standards). Listman’s star is on the rise with a solo show at 188 Allen and a feature from the MTA, so now’s the time to learn what his work is all about.

A Journey Through The Graffiti Fanzines of Europe

Written by Elena Lovecchio // Published on May 8, 2023

A guide to the graffiti fanzines of Europe, a key element of the culture and history. Learn about BGOM, Collage, Bomber, and the underground world of swapping magazines in this unique subculture.

The Top-5 Cities to See Street Art in Europe

Written by Giulia Blocal Riva // Published on August 24, 2023

A guide to the top 5 street art cities in Europe, from local expert Giulia ‘Blocal’ Riva!

Allison Bamcat in Lala Land

Written by Johanna Quednau // Published on November 9, 2023

Influenced by painters like Salvador Dali, Kenny Scharf and Vincent Van Gogh, Allison Bamcat developed her own style: Pop-Surrealism. And not unlike Alice in Wonderland, Allison creates fantastical, colorful beings – despite the darkness she has known in her life.

Artists Protest in Washington Square Park Against NYPD Crackdown

Written by Katie Godowski // Published on August 10, 2023

On Sunday, July 30, a few dozen artists and community members gathered by the park’s fountain to demand an end to the over-policing and criminalization of street artists and performers.

Basking in Humanity: Rebecca Marley

Written by Leigh Pennington // Published on February 23, 2023

Rebecca Marley is an artist who understands that “simple things are sometimes the most powerful” and she brings this principle in full force to her work by focusing on the things every human life needs: connection and understanding.

The Collected Parables of LeCrue Eyebrows

Written by Elizabeth Lepro // Published on June 12, 2023

The anonymous painter and muralist wrapped his first show in New York City this spring — but despite his accomplishments he wants our focus to remain on our own interpretation of the art.

The Doors of Madeira

Written by Martin Cieselski // Published on June 15, 2023

The city of Madeira, in the Azores islands off the coast of Portugal, is home to over 200 unique murals on a series of doors. What’s behind these doors? How did those murals get there? Find out in this new piece from Martin Ciesielski.

Where to Find Street Art in the Netherlands

Written by Polya Pencheva // Published on December 7, 2023

The Netherlands is famous for its tulip fields and people on colorful bikes rushing to their destination. There is just this concept about the country that does not always fall into the contemporary vision of modern people. Yet, there is so much more to see and do than just the traditional sightseeing and frikandel tasting. The Netherlands is home to unique sites offering the chance to see different pieces of art including amazing murals and exceptional street art.

Paul Cézanne: Father of Modern Art

Written by Savannah James // Published on June 29, 2023

Paul Cézanne is often regarded as the father of modern art. Coming from the old world where allegorical and history painting ruled, Cézanne’s work paved the way for the major artistic shift that happened at the beginning of the 20th century.

Graffiti Writer or Street Artist? Norwegian Artist Martin Whatson Says He’s Both

Written by J. Scott Orr // Published on September 23, 2023

In the world of public art, there’s this persistent debate that seeks to categorize art into two neat little, mutually exclusive, boxes: graffiti or street art. And artists working in public spaces are often called upon to define themselves: graffiti writer or street artist, choose a side, make a choice, fill out a commitment form, and sign it. Martin Whatson, the Norwegian artist, has an answer: Both.

Pay Peanuts, Get Monkeys: The Devaluing of Public Art With Lucas Geor

Written by Stephanie O’Brien // Published on September 7, 2023

“It’s funny the hand that artists play in gentrification. Artists will move into an area because the rent’s cheap, maybe the buildings are a bit run down so people don’t mind you painting on the walls. They make the area look cool, and people start to come, and then developers catch on to it. They put up apartment blocks. And then they run out all of the artists who live there. That’s kind of the cycle. As more and more of that happens, I guess people just seem to think that art is for free, you know?” – Lucas Geor

Do Artists Dream of Artificial Brains?

Written by T.F. Massetti // Published on April 6, 2023

An essay examining the effect AI is having on the art market, graphic design, and publishing from the mind of UP lead graphic designer and sci-fi/fantasy writer T.F. Massetti.

Beautiful Bushwick: A Series by Fashion Photographer Aqua Rose

Written by Tiwa Neo // Published on April 20, 2023

Aqua Rose is an NYC-based fashion photographer who created this series, “Beautiful Bushwick” over the span of a year in 2021. Using the graffiti-laden streets of Bushwick as the backdrop for her subjects, the photos include objects she collected over her time in New York. Combining the surreal nature of her work with everyday objects and the street, she reveals inspiration and beauty in overlooked spaces, transmitting the message that the only thing you need to create is the want.

Renz Renderz: Creating a New Reality

Written by T.K. Mills // Published on August 28, 2023

Renz Renderz, whose complex, layered images blur the lines between technology and reality speaks with UP about her career’s journey.

The Street Art of the Rainbow Nation: Walking in Cape Town, South Africa

Written by Varya Rodionova // Published on October 2, 2023

There is nothing more thrilling than setting foot in a new country, so distant and different from your home. And nothing is more fulfilling than learning to understand the complicated history and culture of the community you enter. Perhaps one of the best ways to do it is through the city’s street art.

Happy new year, and thank you for supporting UP!

— T.K. Mills, Emma Riva, and the UP Mag Staff