The German street art scene, with its overwhelming numbers of experimental, highly innovative and perfectionist artists, has always been keeping up with those of New York, Paris and London. The city of Berlin, with its rich graffiti history (just think of the 1980s graffiti decorated Berlin Wall with its politically engaged murals and bubbly lettered slogans), is one of the most 'bombed' cities in Germany or even in Europe, some refer to as a graffiti Mecca of the contemporary urban art world. Today we take a quick look at some of the most prominent and internationally acclaimed urban and street artists from Germany whose artworks display a wide array of exceptional talents.
Clemens Behr is a urban artist, muralist and sculptor from Berlin, Germany who travels extensivly and leaves his amazing installations in every city he visits. And his pieces are impossible to miss. With a strong graffiti background and proper education in graphic design, Clemens Behr took a turn toward transforming walls and space into sculptures. He developed his unique style of architecturally deconstructionist, three-dimensional works which appear like living parts of buildings, spectacularly painted by an extremely talented graffiti artist. These visually confusing installations, composed of found materials, cardboard, wood, tape and paint, carefully placed in their environments, and inspired by its architectural elements and color palette, bedazzle anyone who is lucky enough to find them.
Hendrik Beikirch, better known as ECB, is a prominent German street artist from Koblenz, widely known for his massive, highly emotional portraits of anonymous people. Using acrylic, paint and aerosol and utilizing his deep graffiti roots and extraordinary skill in producing photo-realistic images, ECB meticulously paints captivating black and white portraits of ordinary people that look back at the viewer with empathy and compassion. The deliberate use of minimized color palette gives a certain patina to ECB's murals, reminiscent of old photographs from the 19th century. In 2012, ECB created Asia's highest mural, an astonishing, seventy meters long portrait of a fisherman, painted on a tall building in Busan, South Korea.
Nomad is a pseudonym of one of the most prominent and legendary German street artists, whose identity remains unknown to the general public. Inspired by countercultures such as skateboarding, graffiti and hardcore punk, Nomad started his artistic career in the 1980's, leaving his immense visual imprint on the Berlin early street art scene which gained him a huge following of countless admirers and art collectors. Armed with an overwhelming talent and passion of a true artist, Nomad broke out from the turbulent life of a homeless street artist and became a renowned and widely recognized contemporary artists whose works can be seen all around the world. From freely improvised trashcan scribbles, graffiti bombed walls, tumbleweeds desert sculptures and Renaissance inspired paintings, Nomad's constantly evolving art is a wonderful artistic representation of his vagabond lifestyle and a simple yet overwhelming celebration of freedom.
Andreas Von Chrzanowski, also known as CASE, is a renowned graffiti artist, born and raised in East Germany and currently living and working in Berlin. CASE began painting in the mid 1990's and he quickly gained attention for his profound photo-realistic imagery. In 2000 CASE, and three other fellow street artists, founded now famous Maclaim Crew which is considered to be the pioneering photo-realistic graffiti art collective. CASE is widely recognized for his breathtaking images of twisted, abstract portraits and body shapes that are so bizarrely beautiful and go beyond the reality and step into the realm of surreal while challenging the audience's preconceptions of what beauty actually is.
Pisa73 is a Berlin based street artist and graphic designer of unknown identity, widely recognized for his complex, multi-colored stencil murals, posters and stickers inspired by political and social debates. Born in 1973, Pisa73 picked up his first spray can in 1990 and later obtained a visual communication degree at the School of Applied Science Pforzheim. With an already respectable street art career, Pisa73 turned his focus on stencils in the early 2000s, a step that greatly improved the visual impact of his art and led to his international acclaim. Using photographs of protests and concerts as his starting points, Pisa73 creates captivating stenciled images that tell powerful stories of violence, aggression, religion and sexuality.
Emess is an acclaimed Berlin based stencil graffiti artist, famed for his bold, often humorous artworks that convey strong messages about issues that usually get hidden and intentionally ignored. Using the wide range of media such as prints, sculpture and large scale murals, Emess produces witty pieces that always hit the target and successfully startle their viewers, confronting them with issues they would rather forget and avoid to sincerely talk about. Such is Emess' renowned What's the color of money? series of artworks that show famous bank note portraits and feature catchy pop song titles as slogans of our love for money.
Christian Kramer, also known as Dome, is a renowned German street artist from Karlsruhe, with a respectable, two decades-long and highly prolific artistic career. Dome started spray painting as a twenty-year-old in 1995. Quickly gaining attention, it took only a couple of years for Dome to start exhibiting his work in galleries and on walls around Europe. Today he is considered to be one of the most prominent names on the German street art scene, widely recognized for his avant-garde artworks that wonderfully merge realistic and surreal elements. Recently Dome turned away from a large color palette he had used earlier and shifted toward creating monochrome works in ink with impressive results.
Jonas Burgert is an acclaimed German painter and sculptor from Berlin, widely known for his monumental paintings that depict an unsettling, bizarre world in which time is suspended and which is crowded with odd ensembles of both familiar and fantastical, dream-like creatures on a quest to find meaning in their existence. Burgert's images of this grotesque world, full of overwhelming darkness and brutality, successfully provoke the audience to contemplate on their own lives. Inspired by art history, Burgert paintings show clear references to Renaissance painting and Flemish masters, but also reveal Burgert as an exceptional visual artist, unparalleled in his contemporary construction of the figurative realm.
Christian Hans Albert Hoosen is an acclaimed artist from Berlin, widely recognized for his poetic paintings and collages, extremely rich in metaphors and color symbolism. Featuring vivid colors and layers of sketched motifs and forms, Hoosen's paintings depict a wild, chaotic universes, full of wondrous beings and comic-like figures. These paintings appear to be telling different stories and demand to be carefully studied before the meaning is revealed through numerous associations. Just like any great artist, Hoosen paints simple things he takes from his own everyday life and uses them to write a melancholic visual poetry of the human condition.
David Ostrowski is an internationally acclaimed abstract painter, widely known for his paintings of reduced composition painted through layers upon layers of errors and imperfections in order to discover the fringe limits of painting. Created using extremely reduced color palette of oil and lacquer, employed through series of unmotivated physical actions and gestures, Ostrowski's paintings are dominated by overwhelming large areas of white nothingness that reveal artist's deep and intense analysis of the medium. Standing in front of them audience can meet their own mirror reflections shown through deeply introspective Ostrowski's work of astonishingly beautiful visual poetry.