Great Street Art (OK, Graffiti!) from the Berlin Wall……

For the last ten years I have really enjoyed the opportunity to photograph graffiti as I travel the world. I now have an enormous collection of photographs of Street Art from around the World and I am trying to put them into some kind of relevant and consistent format to publish in prints, book form or perhaps as an iApp. There is a fascinating combination of artistic and political statements combined in the better work.

It is not easy to decide exactly how to classify these various works of art. Yes, I definitely use the word art in connection with them. Not all graffiti is art–some of it is just an annoying  eye sore, however much of it is fine art of a bold new school. I like to define graffiti as vandalism when it is scrawled on your wall but potentially art when it is on someone else’s wall!

One of the joys of my crazy World travel is that I have been able to visit quite a few areas on repeated occasions and watch the progress of the various pieces of street art. I have been able to record and document the mutation/evolution of individual ‘canvases’ (OK, walls) over the period of many years. Sometimes the original work is improved but usually just defaced with names and slogans. Sometimes you return and the entire wall has been painted over in a uniform color. Sometimes the entire wall is gone!

Some of my very favorite pieces of street art illuminate what remains of the Berlin Wall. As you can imagine there is a distinctly political edge to the rapidly dwindling original artwork in this location. In my opinion a devastating lack of attention has been given to these unique artifacts. If you want to see the best of what’s left, during a visit to Berlin, take a cab to Space Beach a unique riverside beach style counter culture site. Even if you don’t have any interest in Graffiti I highly recommend a visit to this fun spot.

I want to highlight three of my favorite pieces of graffiti from the Berlin Wall, at least one of them has already been lost. What a shame! I won’t go into the historical details that accompany these pictures. If you have an interest in those kind of details then go ahead and bug me to finish my book! If you have an interest in the general field of Graffiti then I heartily recommend viewing the DVD ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop.’ It is a fascinating ‘documentary’ about contemporary street art and it’s potential commercial exploitation. The movie is well worth seeking out—in fact it is probably available for free viewing on the ‘Snag Films’ website or even Netflix. 

~ by Nick Lewin on August 28, 2011.

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