Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Graffiti tour and last day in Germany

I wanted to take a graffiti and street art tour but I was worried that I'd be too tired because it was 4 hours long. "Why don't you DNF the tour?" asked Pankers. That was a great idea. DNF is a race term that means DId Not Finish. It's my vacation, if I want to go to only two hours of a tour, them I will! 

After my friends left for Oktoberfest and still undecided, I wandered around town and decided that if I made it in time, I'd go. If not, oh well. On the way to Alexanderplatz I stopped in the Ampelman store for some shopping. Ampelman is the little traffic light man in old east Berlin. They saved him as a nostalgic touch to the city. 

I went by this sign and later learned that it meant "water where the fire hose water comes from"

Alexanderplatz, the meeting place of our tour. 

I explained to our guide, Adrien, that I had errands to run and only had 2 hours. He was fine with that. In our group was some kids from the hostel, some Australians and a chain-smoking Russian girl with fake, injected lips who talked about clubbing and how amazing the clubs in Berlin are.  She was friendly, though. 

We went to parts of town together on the train - places I'd never venture to on my own. We had to walk up and down tons of stairs. Walking down stairs the day after a marathon is a special kind of hell. 

This artist formed an important graffiti gang called the crazy young kids or something like that. He painted two-handed fists around the city from 1995 to 2004. He invented a special hand cart that enabled him to roll up and down the subway tracks at night to paint. They were the premier graffiti group in the early 2000s. The groups formed little families and everyone had a job to do when a piece went up because they had to be painted so fast. Some people watched for police, some painted, etc. 

This is an example of a heaven piece. You climb up to the roof of a building (or break in) and paint down with big rollers. The artist's nickname issue Poet. The piece below was spray painted with a fire extinguisher, which I guess is harder than it looks. Artist's name is Just. Poet and Just are famous Berlin graffiti guys. 

This was hand-painted by repelling down the building. When the spotlight of the car dealership next door shines on it, it looks like he's really landing on the moon. 

This guy is an up and coming graffiti artist that can paint incredibly fast and created his own font (hard to see). He also repels up and down buildings. 

People don't spend the money to remove the graffiti so much in Berlin because the artists are so relentless - they just paint it back. It's also not usually tied to gangs and crime as it is in Chicago. It's more "art" here. Not universally loved but more universally tolerated as part of the patchwork of the city. People paint over the graffiti with other graffiti, though. It's accepted that a piece could change over time. 

This guy paints indigenous animals that were forced out by the cities developing. He travels around the world and paints different animals native to that area. I thought this was fascinating. 

This was part of a big warehouse area that hosts artists. This one is from an Israeli artist and addresses some of Germany's more painful history:

Behind the warehouse was this strange little photo booth that actually had people in it taking pictures! I can not stop looking at this picture. 

This artist takes the environment into account. When the pipe drips and freezes, it deliberately looks like snot! 

I forget what all the ants mean here. I was just so tired and didn't take notes. 

I went home and read. I walked by my favorite new restaurant

But decided to go for German instead for my last night in Germany.

Next: Croatia 

No comments: