I spent about a month in Berlin for work about two years ago – and everyday, be it walking from my hotel room to Ostbahnhof station to those short breaks on the green by the river or the elusive Sunday off-days spent at Mauer Park, there was always new (and jaw-dropping) street art to photograph and instagram.
Anywhere and everywhere, you’d be blind or selectively oblivious to not notice its rich, artistic urban landscape. Sometimes massive three-floors-high murals with strong slogans, and often not intricate ones peeking out from a street corner. Of course, the city’s well-known for its street art with blogs and websites on the pieces and artists and even guided tours and workshops are available for travellers – like myself – who’d like to see an ‘alternative’ Berlin.
After things wrapped up at work, a few of us decided to sign up for one of the tours offered by Alternative Berlin. It is free though you are encouraged to pay a token fee to the guide at the end of the tour, and you’d wanna take out more than a few Euros cause the tour is real informative. I learnt the various types and styles of graffiti like stencilling, tagging or by using posters and stickers, and the best bit – it encouraged me to open my eyes, study the pieces and try to identify the artist behind each work.
For instance, if you spot sadistic acts of torture of cats – they are quite likely to be painted by El Bocho. Some stuff are tagged, so you can clearly see who did them up.
When I was walking through Bali, I began to notice a resurgence of street art that reminded me of Berlin. Very creative pieces on roadside walls, and a few which I saw had the Quint tag, who apparently spreads his love with his full-length works of women/girls in sexy poses. I also quite like the simple, realistic portraits of musicians like Pharrell and Axl Rose.
I guess beyond what we often imagine of Bali’s art scene – like a painter wearing a batik-ed topi (traditional Balinese headgear) painting birds, or the different shades of Tanah Lot’s sunsets – there’s a lot more culture and art to digest there. Even if it’s just on the uneven, crumbling walls of the island.