Berlin: Street Art

Berlin is full of graffiti and street art. Most of the time it’s quantity over quality, with every building’s ground floor dabbed with tags and scribbles which just ruins the otherwise attractive townhouses. But there are several more organised areas where serious street artists go to work creating really interesting things.


Tacheles is a huge semi-derelict building which has been in its time a department store, Nazi SS headquarters and an electric company’s showroom. It’s now home to a collective of artists who use the building and grounds as a showroom and studio. Every inch inside, from stairwells to windows to ceilings, is covered in layers upon layers of graffiti, stickers and posters; it’s quite overwhelming to see. The courtyard in the back hosts more art installations and several bars.

The Stattbad, out in the northwest of town, is another disused building turned gallery – this time an old swimming baths. We went along to a night-time event here but probably turned up too early as not much was open. There was a great room of screenprinted posters though, and it was worth going just to wander around the creepy abandoned changing rooms and empty swimming pool.


There was a section of the Berlin Wall very near our hotel in Friedrichshain – the longest section still remaining – named the East Side Gallery, which was given over to artists to create murals celebrating the fall of the old regime. Some panels are just given over to scribbles but in general the murals are interesting and well-preserved.

And here’s just a few more of the better street art dotted around the city.




More photos of Berlin street art on Flickr


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Pick Me Up graphic arts show

Here are some photos from the Pick Me Up graphics arts show at Somerset House. Suffice to say it was a pretty definitive show of the best contemporary UK illustrators and designers. I felt visually drained – in a good way! – by the end.


Hellovon


Claire Scully


Natsko Seki and Jess Wilson


Evening Tweed


The best bit was Rob Ryan‘s open studio, where you could wander around and see his inspiration and processes.



More photos on Flickr


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Art in East London

It seems to be a busy time of year for excellent art exhibitions in my neck of the woods. Despite them all being within walking distance of work I hadn’t visited any yet, so this gloriously sunny weekend we took ourselves off on a touristy tour of the East. We ended up wandering from Angel to Shoreditch, down Brick Lane then up Bethnal Green Road via Casa Mexico to pick up some supplies – then home via Broadway Market. Quite a walk, I have sore feet now!

First stop (after a delicious lunch at Saf), the Noma Bar show at KK outlet. Noma creates brilliant editorial illustrations with clever illusions or double meanings. The show at KK Outlet is small but I liked the 3D sculptural pieces. See more of his work here.

Next up, the Lyrics & Type screenprint show at East gallery, Brick Lane. All the artists had to create a 3-colour screenprint inspired by song lyrics, and there were some really gorgeous ones – especially liked I Love Dust and Steph Says Hello.

The show is put on by Melbourne-based Timba Smits of Wooden Toy Publishing Co, who also produces a beautiful quarterly magazine of the same name. We had a chat to him and turns out he’s recently landed in London and is hoping to raise a name for his publishing house over here. I don’t think he’ll have a problem doing so – we leafed through back issues of the magazine (really a small book) and it’s gorgeous.

We also wanted to check out the Usugrow show at Stolenspace but it was closed when we got there, and totally forgot to go to Kemistry gallery to see the Polish cultural poster exhibition, so I’ll have to pop in at lunch.

Here are a few more snaps of street art around the area.

A Roa piece on Curtain Road, cleverly painted on a corrugated wall so it changed depending on your point of view (you saw the rabbit’s circulatory system from the other side). Roa has a show on at Pure Evil Gallery at the moment, too.

David Bray pieces at Brick Lane

Stopped for a flat white and cherry cake at Taste of Bitter Love, a quirky little coffee house on Hackney Road.

Can’t beat a bit of old signage..


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Daytripping in Bristol

So we made it over to Bristol on Saturday to check out the Across the Way show, amongst all the other little recommendations you guys gave me (thank you!). Unfortunately the weather was overcast and drizzly so we didn’t really fancy doing much leisurely strolling or cider-drinking, but we fitted a fair bit in.

We started by hiking up to Stokes Croft to find Here Gallery. It was an interesting area, the self-proclaimed ‘cultural quarter’ of the city with lots of interesting street art and nice looking cafes alongside a rough-and-ready kind of atmosphere – it reminded me of Mile End in London.

We found the gallery/shop with no trouble and it’s a gorgeous little treasure trove of prints, books and cards from tons of artists, both local and ones I was already familiar with having seen their work online. The exhibition space downstairs is small but perfectly formed. The prices were all really reasonable but I resisted buying anything due to a severe lack of wall space.


We lunched in Cafe Kino, a community co-operative just over the road from Here which served tasty vegan falafel and bean burgers, then headed down Jamaica Street back into town. We walked down Park Street, popping into a few nice clothes and interiors shops on the way, then found Start Gallery, hosting the Teasemade exhibition by local artists Peskimo and Chris Dickason. The whole show was lovely and I particularly fell in love with Peskimo’s bright, retro-feel work – we wanted to buy the tea tins print below for our kitchen but didn’t have enough cash – hopefully we can find it to buy online.

I also loved these characterful mural paintings going up the stairs into the gallery space, anyone know who did them?

I was impressed with Bristol’s arty community feel. Obviously Banksy had a big influence on the city’s art scene – there was lots of interesting street art at every turn and it has more than its share of small quirky gallery spaces. It’s a shame our visit was short but it was a nice taster for the city’s art scene.

Lots more photos on Flickr!


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Kinetica Art Fair

I popped over to the Kinetica Art Fair yesterday, armed with my E-P1 and crazy little CCTV lens. I figured the nature of the exhibition – motion-based installations mostly utilising light as a medium – would be a nice match for this cheap but fast little lens.

Kinetica art fair

My favourite exhibit were these holographic light sculptures by Rosaline de Thelin. They are made with fibre-optic cables and apparently inspired by ‘astronomy, scientific theories and quantum physics’.

Kinetica art fair

Kinetica art fair

I love these abstract bokeh photos; the unusual spiral characteristics of the lens really made some interesting results.

This was a cool little kinetic sculpture of a broken-up pair of glasses with motion driven by cogs; every so often if your point of view was right, you’d see the glasses reform into a what appeared to be a whole.

Kinetica art fair

An installation of hundreds of LED lights which pulsed according to levels of sound in the room. Video of it in action here.

Kinetica art fair

Kinetica art fair

An interesting setup where a sensor traced the outline of a sculpture of a head and drew it onto paper on the floor.

This sweet installation entitled Flutter, by Cinimod Studio, shows the motion trail of a butterfly’s wings on several ‘video fins’.

Today is the last day of the exhibition, so get over there if you want to see it! Lots more photos on my Flickr.