Everybody seems to think that street art in Berlin is dead and undoubtedly the city isn’t anymore the ultimate destination for graffiti writers and all kinds of artists.
Urban Nation is responsible for the majority of urban art in the city, so our Berlin street art tour couldn’t start anywhere else than from their HQs on Bulowstrasse.
[UPDATE 2018: At last, I visited Urban Nation, read more below!]
As one more year passed by, I found myself thinking about my happiest moments from 2016 and –undoubtedly- attending the legendary Nuart street art festival in Stavanger (Norway) was one of them.
Apart from a couple of interviews (with Axel Void and Henrik Uldalen), I still haven’t told you anything about that amazing experience, although you might have seen my round-up of outdoor and indoor murals and my recap of Nuart Plus academic conferences on I Support Street Art, the website I was representing at the festival.
I had just thrown myself on the bed when one of Nuart‘s organisers texted that they were having a magic time at the festival’s headquarters, where Axel Void was playing some nice tunes. Without thinking twice, I opened my umbrella and ventured back into the Stavanger night. But, when I arrived at Tou Scene, I only found a bunch of artists scattered lazily around the main room: they looked like they had spent the afternoon painting and were just about to sit down, someone was smoking, someone else was sipping a beer, and all of them were staring at their phones or laptops, including Axel Void, who definitely wasn’t playing any music.
Or, better, I should say as seen on the streets of the Northern Quarter, as almost all murals can be spotted in this neighbourhood. Once the centre of the cotton industry, nowadays Manchester’s Northern Quarter is the hipster heaven of the city, and the best place to find some great street art. The most spectacular large-scale murals in the area were painted during Cities of Hope, a street art festival highlighting social injustices while raising money for Manchester charities.
They say street art in Barcelona was a big thing until 10 to 15 years ago. That was before the city council began to ‘clean up’ the city by tightening graffiti laws, imposing big fines and white-washing the most colourful areas in town. Later on, a few street art festivals such as ‘The Influencers’ and ‘OpenWall Conference’ claimed some legal walls around the city, while spontaneous street art is essentially reduced to stencil art and pastel art (as in these cases the fine is lower if you are caught).