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Brooklyn Street Art

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Vinny Goes to Hamburg: Street Art from Germany’s Largest Port

Posted on February 23, 2010

Vinny Cornelli is becoming a regular on BSA because with his photography he peels back some of the street art hype and looks at the innards of the gritty culture that engenders it.  A departure from documentation, his eye captures something more.

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

For this photo essay, Vinny shows and tells us about his trip last week to Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city after Berlin- and opens our eyes to their approach to aesthetic expressions of the spirit on the street.

from Vinny Cornelli

Last weekend I was able to visit my girlfriend, Lena, on her home turf of Hamburg, Germany. I concede (for some of the obvious reasons) that the trip was incredible, warm and homey. Even outside of those reasons, I was also so very excited by the colors and comforts I felt from a city that seems to gush as a result of the public street and graffiti art that the population either endorses or passively permits.

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

Hamburg is home to the likes of Flying Fortress and Funk25 and many other street artists. The city also fosters the existence of squats such as the Gaengeviertel; a small community of flats, studios and galleries that keeps it’s doors, beers and art open and available to it’s public. Like many people, these are some of the ideals that I subscribe to and appreciate.

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

Because I was in the good company of Lena, light snowfall, and the art surrounding us, I had the fortunate opportunity of a guided walking tour through many streets, nooks, and playgrounds.  It was quite nice.

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

One interesting/odd observation I noted was that much of the street art was placed well above the mass marketed posters of albums, concerts, and movies hitting your local Hamburg establishment. In a way, it gave me the feeling that everyday, commonplace (and I think boring) life is placed at eye-level.  Yes, this is what’s sometimes seen in NYC and other hotbeds of public art…but some of it just doesn’t fit.

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

I visited C215 this summer, and he spoke at great lengths of the importance of where he’s placing his stencils – otherwise, it becomes irrelevant. I feel that the wheat pastes and stencils in Hamburg tend to suffer as a result. Placement seems sporadic when viewed with other works sharing the same wall.

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

On the other hand, it seemed that the graffiti artists were better leveraging the walls and spaces they occupy and their work also seemed very well organized.

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

© Vincent Cornelli

I thoroughly enjoyed capturing these photos and the inspiration they foster.  I have already booked my tickets to return in April, so I look forward to sharing the city of Hamburg’s movement into the spring.

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