One of the best ways to express the importance of books and reading in our lives is visually. These artists celebrate the literary using paint. Whether you call them murals, street art, or graffiti, these bookish murals from around the world help us see our favorite books in a new way.
A San Francisco mural that features Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Cervantes’s Don Quixote, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, and Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
French artist Levalet uses monochrome characters with color, 3-d elements. In this mural, the woman reading is a drawing in India ink, while the book is real.
A book mural on the side of a Goodwill Industries building on Pittsburgh’s south side.
Street art on a parking garage at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.
A mural of books on the side of Circle City Books in Pittsboro, N.C. The mural contains forty-eight titles, including Light in August by William Faulkner, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, and Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.
The side of the The Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri contains huge paintings of the spines of books like The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
In Russia, an art studio called Art-Facade created this book mural on a transformer sub-station near Rossiysky Prospect.
This book-themed street art is a part of an ongoing project by Chicago-based creative collective, Pawn Works.
Buenos Aires street artist Patxi Mazzoni Alonso has created this mural as part of an ongoing street art project on punks. The project’s idea is “to promote study, work, education and music and show the punks visually to people who have rejected them and don’t recognize who they are.”
This mural on the side of the Trilok School in Brooklyn, New York was created by Chilean artist Nelson Rivas.
Book Shelf mural by Mauro Angiargiu in Lanusei, Sardinia, Italy
This book mural is at the entrance to Duluth library in Duluth, Minnesota.
For more literary art celebrating individual writers and books, see our article “The Best of Literary Street Art“