Street art!

Street Art of BLu: Murals In Berlin and Lisbon

I stumbled upon Blu murals on my last two trips to Europe. While I love Blu’s mind-blowing wall-painting animations like Big Bang Big Boom and Muto, it’s cool to come upon his still images—and remnants of his animations—on facades around the world. Especially when you’re not looking for them…

City: Berlin // Neighborhood: Friedrichshain

A mural from across a parking lot. Here’s a time lapse video on how it was made.

The first mural, across the River Spree, taken from the Oberbaumbrücke.

A wider shot showing an adjacent mural.

 A closer view over a poster-strewn wall.

A massive pink man, made of many little men, hiding next to the Oberbaumbrücke.

The massive man of tiny men, up close.

Location: Lisbon // Metro Station: Picoas

Blu in LisbonA shot of a Blu-bombed building at Picoas Metro Station, on the yellow line, as part of a collaboration with OsGemeos for the Crono Festival. This video shows the project-in-process.

Zooming in on the facade.

Straw detail.

Imagery along the curved corner of the building.

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Art in Ruins: Inside Berlin’s Kunsthaus Tacheles

I love getting lost.

Today, I was on my way to check out a place I had read about, but got off at the wrong U-Bahn station, Oranienburger Tor, in the historic Mitte. Instead of getting back on the train, I wandered in the neighborhood, hoping to find something.

And I did.

I passed a cluster of club flyers and tagging along the wall and stopped to take photos. Then, I saw this entrance:


It wasn’t a store, as there wasn’t anything inside. Just an abandoned dark space with graffiti-covered walls and a staircase. It looked like a club venue, open only at night, yet the entrance was wide open.

A light bulb flickered above the first flight of steps. I went up.

A sampling of what I found:

 The first room up the steps. Eerie. A bit frantic. You feel chaos on the walls. There was no one else, but I heard music, faintly, on a higher floor.

 A doorway to the next staircase.

Very curious, I continued the climb to the top. I loved how the light from outside filtered in through exposed bits of windows covered in graffiti and flyers.

The stairwell was dark, but the graffiti through this opening bathed in a surprisingly warm, inviting light. A pair of French dudes made their way up the stairs behind me, so we walked through and quietly explored this level together. It was nice to discover the space with others, also intrigued and excited to turn a corner.

On these higher floors, there was a gallery of artist work set up, displayed under a dim light. Soft voices from around the corner. Music playing. Random individuals walked through a corridor, only to disappear through another door.

A fallen sign in the stairwell.

After wandering inside, I read up on the building, now called Kunsthaus Tacheles. Once part of the Friedrichstadt-Passage, a shopping arcade built in 1907, this steel building was hit by bombs during air raids in World War II. The Nazis also used it as an administrative space, and threw French prisoners on the fifth floor. Post-war, left in ruins by the government (with no money to fix it), the building was discovered and taken over by artists in 1990.

Since then, the artist collective has stayed alive with government help and support of its visionary projects. There is evidence of this in the rear: an eclectic backyard beer garden, cafe, and sculpture gallery.

VIDEO – 

Before heading out this morning, I took note of a handful of places to visit; this dilapidated historic treasure was not on my list, nor did I know it existed.

Ah, Berlin: a fantastic city to get lost.

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Street Colors of London’s Brick Lane: Photographs

Murals of gigantic birds and squirrels. Street art commenting on Facebook and Twitter. Random thought bubbles positioned over cartoon characters. Whimsical stick figures painted on garage doors.

Welcome to Brick Lane.

One afternoon in London a few weeks ago, I wandered into Whitechapel, Shoreditch, and finally a concentration of Bangladeshi restaurants. After currying it up at Bricklane Brasserie—one Bangladeshi spot worth trying—I strolled down colorful Brick Lane and its side streets. I photographed the neighborhood three years ago, but the art and murals were different then.

Some end-of-June images on the walls…

street art Headless gentleman on the john.

street art Street art checklist, on a wall around the corner from the Sunday UpMarket.

Street art  This arrow is quite effective—all I want to do is see what’s behind that door.

street artI love how this mural is Seuratesque in its dot-like style and color palette.

street art A trio at the bottom of a wall. Can’t stop staring at these faces.

parking spot A design on a parking spot near the Sunday UpMarket.

twitter poster A poster on a wall of Brick Lane.

street artLil beanie-wearing Dubya loves war.

street artSimilar silhouetted motifs adorn the remainder of this long blue wall.

brick lane street art One of many thought bubbles on and around Brick Lane.

fashion street Fashion Street: Cluster of art. And tags. And stencils. And posters.

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Decorative Detritus: The Sculptures of the Albany Bulb

I have a thing for abandoned warehouses and destroyed buildings. Isolated junkyards and bizarre sculpture parks. I’m easily lured; I sniff the grounds like a feline; I creep around with my camera.

female sculptureA woman, reaching out to the sky.

When I explore such places, I create stories about the vestiges made of wood and scrap metal: how a fallen sign got there, what a faded mural used to look like, how a statue’s face has aged. The Albany Bulb, a former landfill in Albany along the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay, is a site of such tales: it’s scattered with statues (the larger ones by sculptor Osha Neumann), painted rocks, spray can-blasted murals, and wiry sculptures. If you look west, across the water, you can see downtown San Francisco.

dog sculptureA dog and a half-eaten football.

The surrounding park—accessible by car via Highway 80 on Buchanan Street or by foot or bike via the Bay Trail—is popular for dog walking, windsurfing, hiking, and chilling at the beach.

It’s also the site of a small homeless community; along the dirt trail from the beach to the shore of sculptures, you pass shanty town-like camp grounds, partially hidden by trees and bushes. The Bulb is owned by the City of Albany, but largely unpatrolled.

remote control rockRemote control rock.

It’s an eerie, haphazard beachside park to wander. Scattered trash, too, so don’t expect Eden. Still, the random bursts of art on rocks bring life to this shore; the statues, while stiff and rusty, watch with vigilance. It’s quiet here. But there’s still a pulse.

Albany Bulb dragonI met a dragon, made of wood and other hard bits.

Albany Bulb dragonAnother angle of the dragon.

wheel sculptureA wiry wheel, next to similar art installations.

shoreA wider shot of the shore where the sculptures live.

sculptureA tall, dark, slim man.

sculptureA dude on a bench, with a book.

book sculptureA page in the man’s open book.

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Whimsical Wanderings: Street Art in Granada

Whimsical wall characters in Granada, Spain.

I’m a sucker for street art. I’m not picky about what I’m drawn to—I love graffiti in general, from the fantastic pieces I’d seen through the window of my train in Switzerland 10 years ago, to tiny, stenciled images I’ve come upon in random bathroom stalls in cities like San Francisco or Montreal.

In San Francisco, where I live, we’ve had a pretty ripe underground graf culture for a while—one interwoven into subcultures of which I’ve been part, like the underground dance and hip hop scenes.

Art in the Albayzin, Granada, Spain.

I adore it all—colorful murals in dodgy neighborhoods, graffiti mixed with rave flyers and concert posters plastered on tagged-up walls, and images of misplaced objects or familiar corporate brands appropriated in distinct ways.

In Granada, it’s easy to lose your way and escape the crowds. I’m drawn to silence here—when faced with direction A (a lively corner of cafes in the Albayzin) and direction B (a narrow, empty alley of ascending steps leading somewhere), I choose B.

While I enjoy interacting with strangers when traveling—especially bartenders, shop owners, and people on the street—and learn a great deal from such fleeting encounters, I love absorbing another culture by quietly searching its streets for free art—particularly local artists’ reactions to current world events and the ways they appropriate ideas or trends.

W in Granada, Spain.

Throughout Granada, I have stumbled upon abandoned walls with splashes of color, images of former U.S. President Bush or Marilyn Monroe in the oddest places, and whimsical characters that liven up otherwise grey stone walls.

I also passed by a Spanish Swoosh (underneath the visage of Marilyn Monroe), which I came upon numerous times on trash cans and poles.

Marilyn Monroe and Niko. Granada, Spain.

I love how imagery and scribblings on doors, store facades, and walls are windows into another country.

This afternoon, I climbed up steps behind the tourism office at Plaza Nueva and explored a neighborhood with cool, colorful art:

2 Atbildes to “Street art!”

  1. baltAApse novembris 23, 2011 plkst. 11:10 PM #

    gut,gut.

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  1. CHECK NEW STREET ART PAGE! « Apse - novembris 23, 2011

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