June 13, 2024

Berlin Walls – A Black Book of Urban Art

A ‘black book’ is an urban artist’s portfolio. But I am not talking about ‘knights’, or ‘angels’ and their ‘window-downs’ or ‘throw-ups’, whether their ‘up’, nor how long a ‘run’ takes. Respect nonetheless, but I am just looking at urban art as if in a vast urban gallery as I walk the streets and enjoy the exhibits. So, check out Berlin.

I believe one can tell a lot about a city by looking at the quality, frequency and organization of its urban art. So what conclusions can I make about this city?  It’s art is certainly one of the first things I noticed on that initial visit seemingly so long ago (the wall came down that year) as I explored the streets.


Never mind all that… I cut to the chase, and lay it out in simple (possibly somewhat opinionated) facts and some pics for your perusal and thought:

  • Berlin is the artist Mecca of Europe: I really need say no more!
  • The Berlin city government is very liberal, and in its proper German way promotes, and in some cases even finances art and culture projects (after wading through the channels of bureaucracy) allowing artists to use abandoned urban backdrops (buildings) as platforms for graffiti, installations etc. in organized events to ‘gentrify’ areas with art.
  • Bohemian cooperative enclaves and legal squats exist, making use of otherwise derelict areas and are always urban art sculptures in themselves.
  • Giant murals on building fronts and chopped-off facades (whether from demolition or WWII bombings) are commonly preferred and widely accepted by residents and landlords alike.
  • Though a standard amount of vandal-type graffiti is apparent in Berlin, the aesthetic urban art definitely outweighs the crappy tagging.


A big shout to all the urban artists documented here in this black book of pics… names, I feel, are not necessary.


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