Spray-Painting Vienna

My niece, a street artist in New York City who goes by the name Nicolina, is off on another trip adding color to Vienna, Venice, and Naples. I’m so inspired by her waif-with-a-paint-brush (or, in her case, can of spray paint) approach to travel and the way she writes about her adventures, that I’m re-connecting her personal blog to our travel site. Not many of us will travel with just a satchel of art tools, nearly no money, and no hard plans, but we can all be inspired by Nicolina’s spirit of adventure and love of art.

Nicolina, who just finished decorating a series of unused doors in New York City (a project Nicolina and her “Free Art Society” calls “13 Portals”), is in Vienna now scouting for an interactive public art installation she’ll create next year. Then she heads to Venice for the Biennale (a gathering of avant-garde artists from around the world), and finally to Naples. While in Naples, she has a commission from the city to paint one of the city’s traditional trolleys as she did to great acclaim in Valparaiso, Chile. In Naples, she’ll also host “Hearts of the World,” a project Nicolina has taken all around the world letting (often very poor) children fill in the outline of an anatomically correct heart with whatever is in their hearts. The intent of “Hearts of the World” is to introduce art as a tool to help people realize their passion.

Nicolina has taken her passion for street art to Cuba, Haiti, Chile, Brazil, China, and India. Now she’s in Europe for her first time. As she writes, “It’s fun to dive into a city not really knowing what to expect. Free of preconceived ideas, a new world opens up to you.”

Nicolina will be blogging (follow her on her site or from the home page of ricksteves.com). I promise you, you’ll travel through Vienna, Venice, and Naples in a way you’ve never even imagined.

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