Not quite gentrification but another little sign that the bohemian lifestyle enjoyed by Berliners, travelers and new foreign residents may be a little under threat. It seems in recent times that Berlin has decided to try and be more like your boring vanilla older brother than your crazy slaggy little sister. There was talk of Berghain being shut… not true thank feck, then there is the gentrification of the K’Beurg area and there is also a few problems for the many arts of Berlin.
For years Kunsthaus Tacheles was the go to place for creative types just visiting, it has music studios, big open windowed bar rooms, art studios, a studio, a metal works and even a maze in former years. (Click here for the ever reliable Wiki info) Just recently the local council have been trying to move people on but Berliners are made of sterner stuff. Last I heard was that the electricity supply had been cut off and doors bolted, this was a week ago and I’d not be surprised if those doors were open again now.
The walls of Berlin town have more paint than any other I have visited and one artist has helped to dominate the skyline there. There was an agreement between the local council and the residents that every wall possible spare space or wall had to have a stencil, a pattern, a tag, a scribble or doodle…. well not quite but would have been nice
Keeping an eye on Watergate since 2007
Blu is an Italian guy who’s huge pieces can be seen from miles away and across the world from his home town in Bologna, the Camden to Isreal, to Valencia, Barca and even Poland.
BLU Berlin skyline
Most of his pieces look like some kind of mutant super heroes, the style is pretty hard to copy so you will always recognise them.
I also double like his website, his scrap book of artworks from across the globe, the drawings scribbles and doodles
Best cities in the world…. London, New York and Berlin. But for me Berlin takes it after another lost weekend in the city of Sin. The one that the local government said they wanted to bill as ‘aber sexy’. Well the locals they might not agree but to many foreigners it is.
Paint & Sunshine
Berlin is the party capital of the world, somewhere along the line Berliners decided that parties, lax drug laws and sex would be the key to making it the go to location. They were right.
Berlin is a melting pot with history, immigration, culture, art and banging techno. At the moment there is a little unrest in the city due to Gentrification and the locals rebelling against the hipsters and development of less desirable areas driving the rents too high for the locals who were there before skinny jeans, colourful tattoos and apple macs. Berlin has a very high unemployment rate, the highest homeless rates in the whole of Germany and the average wage is pretty low, the rents are also low which is what has attracted so many English, Italians, Spanish and French creative types. The mix of these cultures has made some areas so desirable to tourists who bring in money, it is a catch 22.
Now I am not going to go into details but rest assured it involved sampling some of what makes Berlin so > insert here <
The last few weeks the number of new pieces found has gone right now, SF has been pretty inactive due to tumble on two wheels, it will continue in this vein for a while but there will be bits and bobs for your eyeball delectation…
Shok 1 is London based and a bit underground, more known for spraying off the beaten track in places others dare not go. His style is pretty individual and like no other… Like. for a guy who has been spraying since 1984 he has certainly done his time. This is his old site but the new one is en route. See it around Brick Lane, Hanbury St to be exact.
Like this of course, it is a little bit of paint combined with a girl wearing a tour t-shirt from one of the best British bands ever… Joy Division. Add to the fact that design of the album was by Peter Saville, add to the fact it is by Fin DAC means that this piece is pretty sweet.
Check out his site for some brilliant stencil and spray can work, like many artists I like he uses popular culture with his own twist of romance, colour, cheek and creep about it. He is french so he is clearly a bit aloof and cool
Through this blog I have found pieces and slowly i find out who they are by…. a couple of piece I found that I love come from this very man. Great discovery
Mooching around the city I call home has become rather difficult in the last 3 weeks, being as I was knocked off of my bike and bust my shoulder and cut my face open…. and then had my bike stolen while I was unconscious… but that is another story
So here are a few piece I have spotted on my hobbles around Londres….
Pez is a cute artist, his stuff adorning the walls and trains and sometimes even galleries in Barcelona, London, NYC, Amsterdam and beyond since 1999. On my recent trip to Barcelona to dance my ass off at Sonar his fishy pieces were everywhere, a bit like our friend Sweet Toof in London. He is the signature of Barca for me.
Then something I have seen more and more of recently in the Eastend…
Relatively new to London but making a bit of a splash, more info to follow on Broken Fingaz Crew Love this, it looks like some weird super hero cum slasher porno mag from Sin City
Spencer Tunick is one of my fave photographers / artist out there, using scale to create some staggering shots. At some point I am going to manage to sell in an idea to my client to get Tunick involved in a campaign, and even more so to be a part of one of these shots.
Red n gold
Recently Tunick was asked to create an image to celebrate the launch of the new opera season in Munich at the Max Josephplatz, using 1700 people painted in red and gold. I’d explain more but this video which strangely seems to be voiced by Stephen Hawkings does a better job than I could do.
Spencer Tunick if you are reading this then I have an idea for East London I think we should have a wee chat about. Hit me up
If you are not an official Olympic sponsor then you are pretty much not invited to the party. Sponsors have paid millions to be the official fast food, soft drink, credit card etc etc etc.
So If you are going to do it then you have to be brash, up front and above all a little clever.
Nike have branded up some of the top athletes feet, which is a standard tactic. Nike wanted something more disruptive in the Eastend, so they went huge with thew biggest Nike kick SF has ever seen. Nike owns Team USA basketball and the Nike Hyperdunk+ worn by some of the biggest basketball players at the games can clearly be see on Old Street opposite Mother Bar
Another clever ploy has been by the earphone manufacturer, Beats by Dre have visited Olympic team hotels, setting up a room and inviting competitors to pick a pair of their liking. So the fact you have seen Olympic hero Michael Phelps amongst. They have had to pay nothing for this brilliant awareness, being shown on TV channels across the globe and in countless photographs. Making Beats by Dre earphones the official unofficial earphones of London 2012
I can’t hear you….
We have bemoaned the way sponsors have acted in such a overbearing fashion, so it is nice to see some creative tactics employed. Though without these sponsors spunking millions then we would not have the games. Double edged sword