Berlin a Riot of Street Art

a work in progress Brick Lane

In London, especially in East London there are many talented street artists.  I’m not talking about the graffiti tagging you see, I am talking about street art done by someone with talent, usually with a message or meaning behind the work.  Earlier this year the Walls Project was launched, it involves pairing up shop owners with artists looking for space to paint to make London a more colourful place.  I’ve recently seen an artists creating a mural for this when walking around Brick Lane.

a work in progress Brick Lane

On my trip to Berlin in September I took a walking tour of Berlin which focused on the Graffiti art around the city.  I learned a lot behind the techniques used by the various artists, such as stencils, and paste-ups, tape art, as well as some very large consigned pieces which really make you think.  During the tour we were also brought to Graffiti Courtyard at Rosenthaler Strasse 39 where artists are given free rein to do as they like without worrying about being arrested.  The walls here are ever-changing.  It is a great place to grab a drink and spend some time looking over the many works which cover the walls here.

courtyard graffiti Berlin

Graffiti Court Yard

Art critic Emilie Trice has called Berlin “the graffiti Mecca of the urban art world.”  I would say that is probably true, everywhere you look you find street art, some hard to miss, and other pieces take a little more attention to detail to notice.   I grew to really like the Little Lucy character by El Bocho done in past-up style despite the fact that she seems to have it in for cats.

Little Lucy by El Bocho

Little Lucy by El Bocho

The tour finale was the East Side Gallery, which is the world’s largest open-air gallery at 1.3km long.  The gallery is a section of the Berlin wall which has been left intact.  In 1990, 105 artists from around the world were invited to paint a section on the east side of the wall.  Due to deterioration, the artists were invited back to redo their section and restored the gallery in 2009 to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  The west side of the wall faces the river and the park which lines the river, this side is covered in graffiti (some better than others all together making a colourful backdrop for the park.

East Side Gallery – East Side

East Side Gallery – East Side

Across the River Spree in Kruberg you will find many large murals including the below one by Blu which I think rings a chord with most, being shackled to time and work, it is said that it is symbolizing the gentrification after the fall of the Berlin Wall.  But that is the fun of art deciding how it speaks to you.

Shackled to Time by Blu

Shackled to Time by Blu

Where to find…

East Side Gallery – Located along the River Spree in what was East Berlin, it runs along Mühlenstraße stretching from just after Berlin Ostbahnhof to Oberbaum bridge.

Graffiti Court Yard – Found in through the alleyway of “Haus Schwarzenberg” at Rosenthaler Straße No. 39 in Berlin-Mitte.

Berlin street art