Is there a spot in your city where people flock to take that perfect Instagram picture? Maybe you pose in front of butterfly wings painted on a brick wall or stand in awe of an abandoned train covered with graffiti.
For the citizens of Utrecht, Netherlands, it’s an apartment building that’s full of charm and character — and that is home to one of the most beautiful murals we’ve ever seen (no offense, butterfly wings).
A Dutch artist who goes by JanIsDeMan doesn’t do typical street art. He’s not walking around with a can of spray paint, hoping to find a bare wall he can tag with an elusive symbol. Instead, he’s working with communities to bring people together.
His goal is to create pieces in which “everyone can identify themselves.”
Inspiration for his bookcase project came from a resident of the building. The two had been friends for a while, and this person really wanted him to do a mural for the complex to liven things up. Their only other request was that he “bring something positive” to the neighborhood.
Once JanIsDeMan came up with the basic idea, he got more residents involved in the creation process.
We entered the community by asking people for their favorite books, and we were able to put eight languages and cultures together in the same concept. Everybody — every age, every culture, every language — was welcome.
With the help of another street artist, the project only took a week to complete. Now the colorful masterpiece is a bright spot in the community — and a favorite stop for anyone looking for a nice Instagram background.
JanIsDeMan has no plans to stop producing his unusual (and brilliant) street art, so his goal of bringing communities together is alive and well. If we had our way, he’d design a mural for every town in the world.