Essential Stops On A Street Art Tour Of Berlin
From barely legible tags, to full-blown spray paint masterpieces.
From barely legible tags, to full-blown spray paint masterpieces, Berlin is riddled with graffiti and street art. The very nature of it – forever being erased, covered, added to or otherwise altered – means that the landscape is constantly changing, keeping everyone from international tourists to locals curious about what will come next.
One of the best-known areas of Berlin is Kreuzberg, or X-Berg, as it’s known to locals. Formerly one of the poorest quarters in Berlin, Kreuzberg has emerged a now-reunified city, known around the world for its alternative scene and counterculture.
Elephant playing with a balloon, Jadore Tong
Where: Wilhelmstrasse 7, Kreuzberg
Find it: Once you get to number 7, walk around the apartment complex. It’s in the back. The mural can also be seen from Friedrichstrasse (South of subway Station Kochstrasse – U6 line).
Jadore Tong is a French/Columbian artist from Berlin, famous for his murals, canvases, graffiti work and interior design. This piece is truly spectacular and a must see in order to marvel at the pulsating colours up close.
The Cosmonaut, Victor Ash
Find it: Take the subway (U1) to Kottbusser Tor. Walk to Mariannenstrasse (about 5 minutes) and you’ll see it right away. You can even see it while riding the U1 Subway Line.
Artist Victor Ash is a Copenhagen-based artist originally from Paris, France. He painted The Cosmonaut in 2007, and since then it has become one of the most popular pieces of street art it the area, with visitors travelling from all over the world to see his work.
The mural is painted exclusively with black paint, with the colour trickling down the wall in places. While it looks like a giant stencil, Ash actually transferred the design onto a giant grid painted onto the wall, sqaure by square, by hand. When the mural was first painted, the shadow of a flagpole at a nearby car dealership would be cast across the wall, and into the Cosmonaut’s hand.
Untitled, Fintan Magee
Find it: Along the lake
Fintan Magee is an Australian street artist known for his murals throughout Australia and the world. Inspired by a children’s book by Michael Foreman, this wall showcases a couple separated by war. It’s harsh, but it promotes a hopeful message with some saying the baby symbolises the continuation of life.
Collin Vandersluijs and Super A, Mural
Find it: Along the lake
The level of workmanship and detail from Collin Vandersluijs and Super A on this mural is truly remarkable. Vandersluijs is an artist from the Netherlands, famous for his paintings on paper, canvas, and buildings. Super A, also from the Netherlands, has their work in galleries across the globe. Their collaboration is one that should be admired up close.
Pixel Pancho, Mural
Find it: Along the lake
Pixel Pancho is an Italian street artist from Turin, specialising in large wall murals, and is considered to be one of the top artists in his field. Pancho works with an earthy colour scheme to convey a more ancient feeling. Inspired by different environments, like the beach, the forest, and sci-fi universes, the artist brings his concrete creations to life.
Rounded Heads, Nomad
Find it: On Oppelner Street
One of the the most popular murals in Berlin, Nomad‘s Rounded Heads turned the heads of some of Hollywood’s hottest. Stars like Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and Salma Hayek all have Nomad’s artworks hanging on their walls. Kutcher was reportedly so into this artist’s work that he invited him to Las Vegas to paint a mural on the roof of Planet Hollywood. The story, although not entirely clear goes like this: Nomad, drawing inspiration from skateboarding, hardcore punk, graffiti, punk, and the grunge movement of the ’80s, was so thrown-back by the hollowness of Hollywood life that he hasn’t painted a mural since.
Today, he lives in Germany, working on smaller works in his studio in Grunewald.
Yellow Man, Os Gêmeos
Find it: 10997, Oppelner Street
Early in their careers as artists, Brazilian twins Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo – known as “Os Gêmeos“, meaning “the twins”– found out they were having identical dreams. A conversation sparked the realisation they had both been dreaming about the same yellow-skinned creatures. Soon after, their collaboration was born. Now, they paint the unique, genderless creatures all over the world.
Banksy, Flower Thrower
Find it: In the courtyard of what was the Kunsthaus Tacheles (Art House Tacheles) on Oranienburger Street.
Flower Thrower is one of the most recognisable street art pieces by one of the most famous and controversial artists in the world, Banksy. Known for his use of stencils, Banksy has developed an entire art subculture devoted to his works, showing up in locations all over the world at any given moment. Despite many attempts to unmask the artist, his identity is unknown, which adds to the mystery of his works.
This particular piece has been recreated a countless amount of times, on posters, mugs and canvases.
(Lead image: Matthias Ripp / Flickr)