In large cities like Berlin, London, Madrid and Amsterdam you can find a great amount of graffiti on buildings, trains and random walls. Because the quality of the creations differ quite a lot, many people are against street-art and graffiti. But what about the Eastside-Gallery or beautiful paintings which cheer up the streets of Berlin?
Art or Vandalism?
In my opinion graffiti can be divided into two groups: street-art and vandalism. Unfortunately a large part of the graffiti in most cities fits in the last group because people want to add the name of their football-club, gang or girlfriend on the wall. These signatures are created quick and without any passion and do not add anything to a city.
In Berlin you can find a lot of this vandalism but lucky enough a very large amount of the graffiti in Berlin belongs to the category Street-art. Real street-art carries out a message and can almost be compared to real art. The only difference is that street-art is for free and is not led by capitalism or money. The video below gives a very good impression of the street-art in Berlin and why street-art is something totally different than vandalism.
Video of street-art in Berlin
The city of design: Berlin and graffiti
The fact that Berlin owns a lot of street-art is partly because of the history of the city. Because Berlin was the unfortunate owner of the Berliner Wall, the city always has been closely related to graffiti and people who want to express their opinion on the walls. The leftovers of the wall have always been popular destinations for creative people. More than once, the leftovers of the wall of Berlin have been used to sent political messages to the world. These paintings are still around in Berlin and are a huge inspiration to the current generation of street-artists.
That the street-art in Berlin is not only highlighted as negative, became clear after Berlin was called the City of Design. The UNESCO, who gave Berlin this name, admitted that the city deserved this name partly because of the great street-art which can be found on the streets.
Where to find Street-art in Berlin
The beautiful thing about street-art is the fact that it can be spotted for free. If you know where to check, you can enjoy street-art in Berlin on several spots. Below you can find some popular spots if you are interested in this topic:
East Side Gallery
If you love creativity and graffiti, you will definitely like the East Side Gallery. Obviously this is one of the more touristic and mainstream attractions but still worth a visit. The East Side Gallery is the longest leftover of the wall and is divided in more than 100 different “paintings”. Every part of the wall is unique and this is one of the main reasons that every year millions of people come to see this street-gallery which is located across the street from station Ostbahnhof.
In my article about the Teufelsberg I mainly focused on the great view and the nature. The Americans used the Teufelsberg during the war and build a so called listening station on top of it. Throughout the years this listening station has turned into a gallery for everybody who loves street-art. Many great paintings and creative work can be found here. It is a great spot for creative people because it is outside in the nature and you will not have the danger of getting caught.
Kunsthaus Tacheles (1990 – 2012)
This arthouse in the middle of Berlin (Oranienburger Strasse) used to be a 9000 square meter building and one of the best places to go if you like street-art. Kunsthaus Tacheles was a department store for a long time but after the wall came down, the large building was used as home for many creative minds in Berlin. These habitants had a great influence on the appearance of the arthouse: Every little piece of Kunthaus Tacheles was used for artistic purposes. Tacheles, without a doubt, used to be one of the best creative attractions in Berlin. But unfortunately the building have been evacuated and the building has been broken down. It is a great loss for the city of Berlin that Tacheles is not available for street-art lovers anymore.
Clubs and pubs
Many clubs in Berlin also contribute to the creative image of Berlin. On one side this fits perfectly in the underground scene of the clubs on the other side it also contributes to the street-art in the city. Clubs like About:Blank, Sisyphos and Golden Gate are surrounded by graffiti. The clubs would not have the same atmosphere and style if this would not be the case. Below you can find an example of one of these clubs..
Famous street-artists in Berlin
Just like famous painters, you also have celebrities in the world of street-art in Berlin. These artists can be found on many walls in the city en normally have their unique art-style. Below you have two famous street-artists.
This famous name in the street-art is known for his character Little Lucy. Little Lucy is a funny little girl who has the habit of killing her cat in many different ways. The paintings of El Bocho really tell the people a small story and that makes them so awesome. When you take a walk in Berlin and you pay enough attention you will detect many street-paintings of El Bocho. Besides the street-art you can also find professional exhibitions of the work of El Bocho. More information and examples of his work can be found on the website of El Bocho.
Street Art of El Bocho (Copyright: www.elbocho.net)
Besides El Bocho, you also an find XOOOOX on many walls in Berlin. That XOOOOX is a professional can be seen in this movie: You can see how XOOOOX is working on a project for H&M.
Besides the commercial activities, XOOOOX is also known for his vulgar women and small dogs. The signature of this street-arist is very clear because you normally will find XOOOOX above his paintings.
Books about Street-art in Berlin
The street-art in Berlin is famous all over the world. People from all over the world visit Berlin to see the impressive graffiti and street-art. Because the art inspires many people, several books and dvds about street-art have been created throughout the years. Especially the book Street-Art in Berlin from Kai Jakob is defenitely worth a read if you like this topic.
Conclusion Street Art Berlin
When you see the beautiful street-art in berlin, you hopefully understand that there is also a positive side of graffiti. Off course it is not very cool when your frontdoor is painted with ugly clan-signs, but I hope this article makes clear that there are different sorts of graffiti. When you make a walk through the city, you will find many street-art in Berlin which will impress you. The image below is one of my favourite buildings in Berlin.