While you may not consider Charleston, South Carolina to be home to any sort of arts scene, one of the twentieth century’s most notable street artists, Shepherd Fairey, hails from the Holy City. You can see his work, along with many others, throughout the area. While originally the street art scene was limited to stencils and wheat paste, large-scale murals are becoming more popular thanks to local galleries like Redux. The Digitel wrote a story on local street art a few years back that has locations to a number of pieces. Wagener Terrace and Hampton Park also have their fair share, as does the area around Morrison Drive.
Shepherd Fairey was commissioned for a few pieces downtown, including on the campus of the College of Charleston in the dormitory known as College Lodge – College of Charleston (left). Formerly a Howard Johnson hotel, it’s now one of the on-campus housing options. Another piece by Fairey is located next to High Wire Distilling (feature), with another next to a parking lot adjacent to Groucho’s Deli (center). Jason Woodside, who has also created murals in Nashville, has a piece on the back side of The Daily. I couldn’t find the name of the artist, but Willow Salon Downtown downtown has the mural on the right. Redux Contemporary Art Center also has a changing lineup of colorful walls.
One of Charleston’s up and coming neighborhoods is the Westside, which has a handful of murals and tags if you know where to look. One of Fairey’s “Obey Giant” pieces covers a doorway a few blocks down from Daps Breakfast & Imbibe. I couldn’t find the artist of this mural of the Ravenel Bridge, but it was also found nearby.
Set around the former Navy Base, Park Circle has been home to restaurants, shops, art galleries, and even a movie studio during its tenure. This colorful piece by Patch Whisky is on a side street off East Montague Avenue. Here you’ll also find walls by Ishmael and Molly Rose Freeman.
West Ashley’s funkiest neighborhood has breweries, restaurants, and a distillery. Murals are dotted around the artsy community of Avondale. Thanks in part to chART Initiative, there’s always something new going up. For example, the piece pictured is by Molly Rose Freeman. Other pieces to appear include a portrait of Bill Murray. Look for them both on Savannah Highway and in the parking lots behind the stores.
James Island & Folly Beach
Apart from “The Sheepman,” whose work once appeared behind Buffalo South on Folly Road on James Island, most pieces of street art in this part of the city are unknown “tags.” These pieces, pictured at the top, included six or so panels, but I’m not sure if they are still there. One example of graffiti more than street art is at the end of Center Street on Folly Beach, which is the access point to view the Morris Island Lighthouse. Homes once sat here, but now all that is left is the cement foundations covered in paint. And while recently washed away in a hurricane, the Folly Boat was long a legal way to spray your message, even if it was covered up a day later.