On a recent trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, I was lucky enough to link up with ’Vegas native, art impresario, and fashionista Rikka Logan. Rikka runs DTLV Art Walk, a service that provides custom group and individual street art and mural tours in the “downtown” area of the gambling capital of the United States.  

Arriving in Las Vegas to clear skies, bright sunshine, and temperatures in the 70s Fahrenheit (20s Celsius) was quite a pleasant surprise. I’d traveled from Minneapolis, Minnesota, leaving behind temps of 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 Celsius), with blowing snow and grey, overcast skies. The excellent weather was a great start to a bright and colorful day of viewing, photographing, discussing, and learning with the city’s most knowledgeable urban art teacher.

Market in the Alley public art space
Market in the Alley public art space

I went into the DTLV Art Walk experience almost completely clueless about the city’s urban artscape, having viewed only an online mural article or two, and with no knowledge of the local players, locations, or programs. I wasn’t even aware of the city’s Life Is Beautiful Festival and culture extravaganza, held in collaboration with global creative house JustKids. The annual music and art bash, which clearly attracts and involves incredible talent, has been rolling since 2013. From my hotel room on the infamous Las Vegas Casino Strip, I took a 15-minute Uber ride downtown and met Rikka at a local coffee shop.

As we walked northwest along Fremont Street, Rikka related the work-in-progress nature of the area’s revitalization project. Workers applied new asphalt surfaces to the length of Fremont St. as we strolled, and several abandoned businesses along our route showed recent signs of resurrection. We ducked into an alleyway adjacent to 11th Street Records and surveyed one of many cool art-related projects. Market in the Alley functions as an open-air weekend market at various points throughout the year and is also fully decorated by the city’s artistic community. Murals, stencils, stickers (and even a secret chamber featuring a mirror ball!) put the “funk” in this functional community space.

Mike Ross’ colossal sculpture Big Rig Jig
Mike Ross’ colossal sculpture Big Rig Jig

Across Fremont Street at Ferguson’s the art-tour part of our downtown walk kicks immediately into high gear. Ferguson’s is another revitalization project which is “cultivating a space for the community that celebrates creativity” right in the heart of Old Vegas. Towering above the landscaped grounds of this refurbished and repurposed 1940’s era motel is a truly iconic piece of art.  Mike Ross’s legendary sculpture “Big Rig Jig” strikes an imposing stance in the center of the courtyard. Consisting of two complete 18-wheeled tanker trucks, the installation stands 50 feet tall and weighs a stunning 25 tons (22,700kg)!! Before landing in downtown Las Vegas, this mammoth piece traveled to Nevada’s Burning Man Festival in 2007 followed by Coachella in 2008 – it even roared into southwestern England for Banksy’s satirical theme-park extravaganza Dismaland in 2015.

From Ferguson’s, Rikka and I wound through downtown Vegas’ alleyways and side streets for the next couple of hours. Along the way, we encountered a truly mind-blowing range of street artistry, pieces created by a huge cross-section of talent from the U.S.A. and multiple countries around the world. Murals, stencils, wheatpaste, stickers, graffiti… the artworks range from obvious to subtle and every degree in-between. We even had the pleasure of dropping into local artist Franky Aguilar’s 9th Gallery Arts studio for a chat with Franky and a sneak peek at his ever-evolving style and beautiful Vegas-icon themed work.

@frankynines and friends at www.9thgalleryarts.com
street art calendar

Las Vegas completely surprised me with the depth, variety, and complexity of street art present throughout Fremont/Downtown. If your travel plans include a visit to this famous desert casino town, you now know that it is also firmly established as a regional street art powerhouse, a city with a strong sense of community pride, and one with an obvious and ongoing commitment to the arts and revitalization. When visiting, make sure to reach out to Rikka at DTLV Art Walk to get the inside scoop on all of Sin City’s outside art!

Scroll down for a lot of Las Vegas street art! 

These two pieces by Argentinian artist Mau Lencinas were executed (by Melissa Xiloj) as part of the Life is Beautiful Festival in 2017
D*face’s “Peace” pistol mural on the side of Western Hotel Casino and Bingo
A stunning piece leveraging shadow-play from the plentiful Las Vegas sunshine by @daku156 from Delhi, India
nasa street art merchandise
Breathtaking work by French hyperrealist Mantra
Two perspectives on Israeli art collective Broken Fingaz’ “Lost Souls” mural at 55 E. Ogden St
Local stencil, sticker and print/retail talent Recycled Propaganda has work up throughout the city and online!
Los Angeles artist Retna contributed this piece in 2017. It quotes Chief Crazy Horse of the Oglala Lakota and reads “I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again.”
Swedish-French artist Andre (Saraiva)’s sprawling multi-character piece is located adjacent to the Retna piece above.
street art merchandise
ROA’s unmistakable handiwork is evident in this block-long rendition of a Horny Toad lizard. Note the blood squirting from its eyes, a unique and ancient reptilian defense mechanism.
A Native American-themed mural by Anarchist art collective @aware_indecline
alexis diaz
This mural of a snail and skull by Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz at 209 N. 7th Street displays amazing depth and detail!

dface las vegas street art
Another great large-scale D*Face piece.
street art calendar
felipe pantone las vegas
This collaborative piece by Argentine-Spanish artist Felipe Pantone includes wood, paint, solar and neon elements.
The inimitable VHILS (Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto) installed this piece adjacent to the Pantone collab at 209 N.7th Street.
Lithuanian-born artist Ernest “Zach” Zacharevic created this mixed media site-specific mural for JustKids/Life Is Beautiful Festival 2019.
Egle Zvirblyte’s mural is on 7th Street, across from the El Cortez
Fafi has two of her smart, signature ladies in downtown.
This classic multimedia art wall sits at the corner of Fremont and 6th, and features a Bugs Bunny paste-up by local/international artist Sean Keith.
pixel pancho las vegas
This piece by Italian artist Pixel Pancho features some subtle (possibly anti-gaming) embedded messaging.
tristan eaton las vegas
Beautiful large format piece by Los Angeles artist/designer Tristan Eaton
anamarietta las vegas
Hybrid creatures such as this one created in 2013 are typical subject matter for Puerto Rican muralist AnaMarietta.

bordalo II las vegas
In his signature style, Lisbon native Bordalo II created this Meerkat scene using locally-found trash and materials. 

“Be a Maker Not a Taker” – American artist (and OBEY/Giant propagandist) Shepard Fairey.


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