Street Artist Paints Melancholy Creatures with Messages of Hope Around the World

Hayley Welsh Street Art

Attracted to the stories that walls tell, British street artist Hayley Welsh enjoys engaging in public space and adding her own artistic flair to the environment. By playing with the textures and features of these walls, she creates a surreal world filled with imaginary characters. These approachable, yet dark, creatures resemble familiar animals, but with a unique twist.

Mainly painted in black and white, Welsh's creatures were initially more timid and bird-like, but over time have envolved into curious creatures more akin to bears or rabbits. “Each creature usually comes from a conversation I’m having with myself,” Welsh tells My Modern Met. “A voice inside, like an inner child or conscience, with a wisdom of what really matters. I guess they’re like a guide for ‘how to adult’ in today’s world.”

In many cases, Welsh's cast of characters are accompanied by uplifting phrases like “Life is Short, Let's Make It Sweet” or “Be Happy in This Moment.” These motivational words of encouragement push spectators to be a bit more thoughtful, and kind, as they walk through the world. The words also act as words of wisdom for these creatures, which Welsh views as figures who have lost their way and are trying to get back home.

In the end, Welsh isn't concerned about the message that others take away from her work, as long as they're moved. “People will either love it or hate it. I guess as long as my art has made one person feel something, then I’d be happy and if they could take anything away, then my one wish is that it would be ‘hope.’ ”

Hayley Welsh decorates walls around the world with her surreal, melancholy creatures.

Cute Street Art

Hayley Welsh Street Art

Hayley Welsh Street Art

Mural by Hayley Welsh

She sees them as beings that have lost their way and are looking for the path home.

Whimsical Street Art

Black and White Mural by Hayley Welsh

Female Street Artist Painting Mural

Welsh's street art murals often incorporate uplifting and inspiring messages of hope.

Uplifting Street Art by Hayley Welsh

Female Street Artist Hayley Welsh

Surreal Street Art

Surreal Street Art by Hayley Welsh

Whimsical Street Art by Hayley Welsh

Whimsical Street Art

Hayley Welsh: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Hayley Welsh.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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