Artist Hugo Crosthwaite paints a white bird enveloping the people in the drawing.
Artist Hugo Crosthwaite paints a white bird enveloping the people in the drawing in a Liberty Station mural. Photo by Chris Stone

Street art – from the spontaneous murals celebrating Kobe Bryant’s life to those mourning the loss of George Floyd’s – has become a touchstone after big events.

So much so that an online gallery delved into social media data to find the hot spots for street art across the nation – and yep, San Diego makes the cut.

New York, not surprisingly, is the trendsetter. The city far outpaces the runners-up, Chicago and Portland.

San Francisco follows, while San Diego and Austin round out the Top 5 in a tie.

Washington D.C., Boston and Los Angeles also made the list.

Analyzing hashtags such as #streetart, #urbanart and #graffitiart, search terms like “mural” and “spray paint” and engagement data, the gallery, Singulart.com, found that over the past year, street art related topics have seen a huge increase in popularity – 170%.

Some such artists – Banksy for instance – inspire rampant speculation when new pieces pop up.

“In recent years, street art has become much more accepted and appreciated as an art form, compared to when it first emerged in the 1970s and is often a huge form of expression for many,” said Marion Sailhen, the gallery’s head curator. “Artists such as Banksy, Vhils, and Kobra have really paved the way for the urban art movement and it’s great to see how they’ve inspired some of the artists on Singulart.”

In San Diego, the gallery cites the granddaddy of local murals, Chicano Park. They name newer hubs such as Liberty Station and the Sea Walls Project too.

The Padres jumped aboard the trend this spring, marking the accomplishments of Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and Joe Musgrove with murals in Ocean Beach, Chula Vista and El Cajon. Soon to be added? Reportedly, Yu Darvish, on Convoy Street.

And Singulart’s not the only one taking notice. Local murals and outdoor art have become a tourist draw. The region’s main tourism site even maintains a feature – the “10 Sweet Spots for San Diego Street Art.”