Berlin graffiti appreciation

A mini celebratory holiday to Berlin, with an ‘alternative tour’ around the city, reawakened my love of graffiti. What a wonderfully interesting city – I couldn’t wait to go again before I had left. I started to formulate plans to do graffiti myself, I sure would like a go. I will have to keep an eye on the Cardiff ILLUSTRATE PROJECT who do some workshops on graffiti art.


This photo has some crazy shapes looming from the horizon, inspiration for any artist. From left to right, Berliner Dom, Humboldt Box and the all-seeing eye of Fernsehturm Berlin (TV Tower). You can go anywhere in the city and you still feel like the TV tower is watching you. Berlin looks like graffiti – with a mix of old and new buildings with so many stories engrained in them.

El Bocho graffiti - Little Lucy and her dead cats

A world famous graffiti artist El Bocho (probably second only to Banksey) is known for Little Lucy and her dead cats. She is a TV character who loves her cat but El Bocho flips that on the head, instead finding interesting ways for Little Lucy to kill the cat. They are all pasted up, cut outs prints, stuck on the wall – I just kept wondering, where are all the printers? Do they have entries in the phone book? As some one who has done a lot of printing, I find this fascinating and I am sure you could get a cheap plotter printer and set it up in your basement.

Berlin street art      A daring piece of street art painted from hanging from the roof

I love the speculation that one does, to figure out how the artist got to the place to paint or paste his work. This piece was way up high and probably painted from above by hanging off the roof, not one for the acrophobics. I really liked this one – it was shouting from the rooftops. I think it says “DU! DU! ICH! ICH! NUTTE!” translated from German as YOU! YOU! I! I! SLUT! (anyone know what the most accurate translation of nutte is?).

This ally (sorry ginnel or snicket I am a yorkshire lass) ran from the main road to an awesome art book shop. It had some proper gems and was a legal wall, where people could paint to their hearts content and you could tell. The wall was parallel to the entrance to an old factory that during WW2, the owner helped save the lives of jews and other persecuted people, by letting them work or hide there. I can’t find the story about it, maybe someone could give me a shout if they know about it or you know what to search for on the inter web. I could not find the story.

Tacheles - art squat Berlin

Our next stop was Tacheles, an art squat in the Mitte area. It was sad to hear it was probably going to be shut down soon. The building was amazing and the art inside incredible. Artists had studios and sold their work to any welcome soul who cared to wonder in.

Inside of Tacheles an art squat in Berlin       Looking out the back of Tacheles an art squat in Berlin

Every surface was decorated, this stair well had a fine array of metal work, collage, paint and objects stuck to the walls, ceilings and doors. You could tell from the magnificent stair cases throughout the building that it was originally a department store. Looking out the back was a blank canvas wall for artists, which looked like it was being filled up slowly but surely from the ground level. They need to start hanging from the roof as well. It was said the wall kept being painted back to white and the whole area in general was trying to get prim and proper. I like graffiti and when created with passion, talent and meaning it kicks the living daylight out of any “designer” type stuff.

Fuck Off Media Spree - graffiti in Berlin

Berlin’s river was a creature all in it’s self. It ran through the city like an ice giant’s breath, you could feel the wind smack you in the face before you got close. Berlin in January sure is a cold place, but I liked it. This winter has so far been very mild there, as here in the UK. The graffiti on the building above says “Fuck off media spree” which is a hugh property investment project, that is changing the face or Berlin. There are protests about it and I hope the money people listen to the people who live and use the place and make it a wonderful space. Maybe capitalism should start dying out on the banks of the Spree. why should everything be about money? WHY?!

Tree house built around the former wall

The picture is of a treehouse built in the land of the wall on the East (DDR) side. Here is the story from an online student travel magazine. It is just as we were told and a nice little read. See the table concreted into the floor? No one is going to walk off with that now are they?!

Conclusion = Berlin and I will meet again and I can’t wait.


4 thoughts on “Berlin graffiti appreciation

  1. Great piece Jen. I’m quite a fan of Berlin too; a city like no other. A bit closer to home, there’s a street in the centre of Bristol that’s totally dominated by street art. It’s well worth a visit (close to the harbour area and Stanfords travel book shop).

    Good luck with that bag project!

    • I will certainly have to check that wall out in Bristol, thanks. It sure is a renown place for street art too, nice to stroll past a Banksy now and again.

      Thanks for blog and bike chat and yep, I will keep moving on with the cycle bag design – not quite ready for public view as yet.

  2. Thanks for sharing this.
    I was cycling in Germany & Berlin during May. The graffiti was a bit overwhelming to start with, there’s just so much of it.
    There are plenty of gems though, like the ones you’ve picked out.
    I was amazed by how people had got into incredibly difficult places, and then created intricate designs.
    I went on an underground tour of a flak tower and the Guide told us about graffiti 40m down a dark and dangerours hole only accessible with ropes. Serious commitment.

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