Street art is an increasingly appreciated form of expression, especially in the United States. Artists modify buildings and surfaces to express opinions on people and events. This unique representation is hard to replicate elsewhere. Painting the face of Lionel Messi with Argentine colors in his hometown is a statement of love and affection. People simply cannot miss the art on the walls.
How does mural painting interact with soccer fandom? In his new book, Football Murals: A Celebration of Soccer’s Greatest Street Art, journalist and broadcaster Andy Brassell presents examples of how this art form celebrates soccer and soccer fandom in a variety of ways and countries. Brassell combines beautiful pictures and reflections. In doing so, he offers readers justification for why this seldom-discussed celebration of sport deserves attention.
The book, which runs under 200 pages, has a series of short chapters mostly organized around players. The majority of chapters talk about a player and their impact on fans and the sport. Brassell then presents the street art of the player as an example of this. Some chapters organize around themes; “Murals Memorials” and its focus on Hillsborough is particularly poignant. Of course, no book on soccer would be complete without the chapters on managers and management. This allows readers to see amazing Roman street art of Jose Mourinho, the current manager of Roma.
Book review of Football Murals
The best thing about this book is how unique it is. There are other books about the visuals of soccer. Yet, this one, I believe, is unique in its particular focus on street art. I had little knowledge of street art before reading this book. After putting it down, I still had little knowledge of the performance or commission of street art. But, I developed an appreciation for why artists do it. Plus, I have a few pictures that I would like to add as a phone or computer background.
There is not much to say about the book because it is short and straightforward. It has beautiful pictures and some explanatory text. Reading it, you will not learn much about the subject. Still, there is too much text for this to be a coffee table book or straight picture book. I think it would have been better served being more of a picture book. Still, the author even acknowledges at the end that the book is not comprehensive. Therefore, he asks readers to send good examples of other or new street art. This makes sense as this is a newer subject which is increasingly mainstream.
This is the type of book that a true soccer fan who collects various books about the sport would buy. If you want something different about soccer fandom or want something not too taxing with good pictures, Football Murals is a good book for you to review. But, if you think Inverting the Pyramid is the only type of soccer book worth reading (i.e., tactics and history), you’ll want to skip this one.
Football Murals is available from Amazon and all fine booksellers.