The weather was murderous, on a par with Belfast, except that the vending machines in Berlin don’t sell umbrellas. For this reason though the only three people in Berlin mad enough to venture out got a nearly private tour. Our guide, a cheerful Kiwi and an artist himself, took us straight to Kreuzberg, the birthplace of Berlin’s graffiti scene that exploded after the fall of the wall.
We were shown graffs near the ground and graffs so high up the buildings they were called Heaven Spots – either because of the height or because the risks involved from graffing upside down at the top of a building would take you directly there. To become a big name on the Street Art scene though, it’s a risk many consider worth taking. These artists would also certainly avoid receiving the ‘toy’ tag on their work, a dig at amateurs, i.e. go home and play with your toys instead.
We saw El Bocho’s Little Lucy and her cat series – based on a kid’s TV show character from the former Czechoslovakia. Lucy was boring enough to be kind to animals and therefore El Bocho paints her murdering the cat at every opportunity around Berlin, apparently infuriating one tour attendee enough to create her own art seeing the cat killing Lucy instead.
At the end of the tour we were taken to a studio to make our own art. The studio was huge, grungy and not as warm as I’d hoped and so it was with numb fingers that I cut out stencils of a British cop and Berlin’s TV Tower (because the two go so well together). I then sprayed the background, forgetting to let it dry properly, and therefore creating a sticky mess on the canvas that took some effort to mould into something that suggested intentional art. Some random paint splattering, an assortment of kitchen utensils to create patterns, and some touching up of the outlines later and I was Artist. Here it is…
All in all, if you’re at all interested in the Street Art scene or have even a smidgen of inner artist lurking inside you, you shouldn’t miss this tour! Highly recommended.