The walls of Berlin are so slammed with graffiti and Street Art that artists and writers have no choice but to go over each other. While Germany (and France for that matter) have foresworn the laissez-faire approach of unregulated economics that led to the financial collapse, Berlin’s approach to graffiti and Street Art here is still relaxed.
Roa, Alec, Blec, Buve. (photo © Gilf!)
Since the fall of the wall nearly a quarter century ago, the sense of liberation is still exploding on a cellular level throughout Berlin’s creative scene; a pent-up energy of free expression that has given the city a truly magnetic quality which draws artists from around the globe. Each visitor seems energized by their experience here where artists continue to seed, germinate and grow a dynamic scene that continues to take surprising shape. As of yet, it hasn’t been capitalized on entirely, but you can be sure that it will be one day very soon, if the pattern of other artist-led movements in cities of the Western world are indicators.
Victorash Astronaut (photo © Gilf!)
“The walls of Berlin are heavy with an exclusive cultural history. A city once divided, now converges into a thriving epicenter of artistic expression,” says New York Street Artist Gilf!, who just got back from this place of relative artistic freedom. Even as she toured the blanketed walls she says she knows that it is a temporary condition, and wonders if the “the rattle of spray cans” will fall silent one day. Today on BSA we have exclusive insights and photos of the scene from her perspective as a New Yorker in the early twenty-teens.
Artist Unknown (photo © Gilf!)
“Layers upon layers of spray paint, wheatpastes, murals, and installations make this metropolis a street art mecca. The energy is contagious, inspiring, and thought provoking. When discussing art, often times people compare modern day Berlin to New York in the nineteen eighties: expressive, prolific, and all-encompassing.” – Gilf!
Evol miniature bombed building. (photo © Gilf!)
“The extreme censorship of decades past, contrasting with the current overwhelming display of personal expression on the walls of Mitte, Kruezberg and many other neighborhoods became my internal obsession as I walked the streets. As this art form becomes more and more censored in US cities like New York and Chicago, I can’t help but draw a reverse parallel with Berlin.” – Gilf!
Gilf! “Malala” (photo © Gilf!)
“The above piece in reference to Malala Yousufzai, the 15 year old girl in Pakistan who was shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting women/girls education. She was transferred to a hospital in the UK, where she was recently released. The QR code next to her sends the viewer to a BBC news page that explains her ordeal”
“I am trying to educate people with this piece. It’s funny how the Arabic really scares people, like it’s some sort of terrorist threat. Even with the translation “knowledge is the deadliest weapon” written in English on her body- it’s not enough to keep this piece up in certain places. People fascinate me. It’s almost subconscious, that choice of ignorant disregard for other cultures, hate is a strong word, but it feels like that sometimes.”-Gilf