Monday, 16 June 2014

I may be a budding street artist

In my quest to try new things and immerse myself in local culture, I decided to do something a little bit off the tourist path and join the good folks at Alternative Berlin for a walking tour and workshop in the graffiti arts.  Graffiti and street art flourishes in Berlin.  The art form has come a long way since the tagging we saw on the Berlin Wall in the 80's and it has become an intrinsic part of the culture in Berlin, especially in the area of Kreuzberg where our tour began. 

Mural by Alice
Our tourguide Ben aka B.S. took us through Kreuzberg describing different types of graffiti and street art from tagging, to paste ups, stencils and murals.  Some pieces are no bigger than a post it note while others extend across the entire facade of a building.  You have to look down, straight ahead and up to the heavens in order to catch all of the pieces that exist.  There are individual artists and entire crews who are responsible for painting Berlin using spray cans, paint rollers and fire extinguishers loaded with paint. 

After our tour we were taken to the Black Market Collective workshop in Friedrichshein.  Here were were able to try our hands at creating a little stencil graffiti of our own.  We cut out our stencils, were given some canvas and a rainbow of paint colours to chose from. I wasn't sure where I was going with mine and ended up creating a psychedelic mermaid to bring home with me. 

If you're interested in learning something about street art, it's artists, tools, unwritten rules and challenges this is a great option if you like an interactive element to your tours.  Just be sure to get a day pass for transit and pay attention to the route you take to the workshop, you're on your own getting back into town.