During my recent Europe trip, I ensured that I made notes and maintained a travel diary throughout 45 days. Here, I share one of the highs from the Berlin trip. Without doubt, this day gave me one of the best experiences from the capital of Germany. When you are in Berlin, the Berlin wall, museums and the history related to the divide is the top most attraction for tourists but for me, it was about street art. Berlin is the mecca of street art, with impressions on every wall, corner of a house, bridge pier, tunnel, roadside and more. In fact, there couldn’t be a better place to do a street art tour and a workshop. Thus, I chose this city. Those who have been reading me or following me on social media know my love for street art. So before heading to Germany, I did my home-work well and sorted out things of my interest. I was really excited to see the ultimate destination for graffiti writers, street artists and all kinds of artists. If these numbers are to be believed, you will be impressed to learn that nearly 400 art galleries and more than 30,000 resident artists make it one of the world’s most creative capital city.
Berlin is uniquely artistic!
Berlin is different than what I had thought. I had some preconceived notions about it but it surprised me in many ways. I had imagined it to be like any other capital city, chaotic, glamorous, magnificent, pompous and touristy. On the other hand, I was impressed to find it cool, creative, reflective and extremely charming. It never felt crowded at any place. The Berlin Wall is definitely the most important part of its past and present. I visited all the locations associated with it and loved turning the pages of history. This also helped me to acknowledge and applaud the city for what it is today. It was very interesting to see how the city has transformed after the unification of East and West Berlin. The acceptance of different cultures and freedom to live a creative life makes it uniquely beautiful. In my view, one of the most fascinating perspective of this city lies in its Street Art and Graffiti.
What is Street Art Tour and Workshop?
When I got to know about this tour, I knew I wanted to enroll and join in. Next thing, I knew that I had to reach the meeting point at Alexanderplatz TV Tower, outside Starbucks at 12 P.M. A group of people were already there along with tour guides from Alternative Berlin Tour company. They gave me a warm welcome and a quick brief around the agenda of the day. The next 4 and a half hours sounded really exciting. It involved walking as well as traveling by public transport to reach the artist hubs and multicultural districts. This combined workshop/walking trip is about exploring the hidden gems where street art and graffiti thrives. The most interesting part of this trip is painting inside a former abandoned factory complex.
A transport ticket was needed. I did not have worry about it because I had BerlinWelcome Card. This card offers unlimited travel within the public transport network in Berlin. It not only came handy for this workshop but also for all the three days that I spent in the capital. I did not have to buy tickets for any mode of transport (tram, bus or train). Also, Berlin WelcomeCard does not only offer free use of public transport, but also gives you many discounts for partners in the city.
Berlin is home to numerous creative works but this street art workshop helps you discover some of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking works of famous artists. There are some unknown corners and sweet-spots in the city and the aim of this tour is to take enthusiasts like us to places which are off the radar of the usual observers, tourists or street art enthusiasts. It also helps you to understand that what makes the capital city famous as well as infamous when it comes to street art. It is the best way to see Berlin with an artist’s eye. The best part about this tour is that the guides also keep an eye on what’s new, which artist painted what, and where to go to see the freshest and finest works that the city has to offer. First, we traveled to Warschauer StraBe and then to Revaler Strabe.
Observations to make about the Berlin Street Art
Honestly, there was lots to see, from giant murals, little stickers to secret stencils. Our guide also shared some of the secrets that how some of the artists manage to make some graffiti in 5 minutes and run away before the police arrives. Also, the time or the number of days it takes to do some of the commissioned work. The most interesting thing is that every work in every nook and cranny stands out differently. Each work reflects the creative persona of the artists and each one is trying to convey something useful through their art work. Some works are identified by their signature motifs or mascots or style and it was so much fun to learn about their distinguishing styles.
Nearly a decade ago, when UNESCO declared Berlin as City of design, a lot of renowned as well as budding artists came in and settled in Berlin. And together they gave birth to trailblazing art, graffiti and tags. Some of the artists who have done some amazing work in Berlin are – AgostinoIacurci, Alaniz, El Bocho, Victor Ash, Alexandre Farto aka Vhils, Andreas Preis and Bansky. Don’t forget to check out the works of Berlin Kidz who are known for getting in trouble and yet taking risks in creating murals in interesting places.
Workshop where we learned and painted!
This experience was like diving deep into the Berlin culture. The whole idea of making an art piece was kicking. We were led into a huge factory complex which smelled, only of spray paints. It was a hidden but huge space with lot of drawings, cutters, rubber mats, scalpels scissors and spray colors waiting for us. We were asked to choose one and cut the white areas between the blacks. These cut outs were designs that we would spray painting on canvas sheets. Our guide briefed us about things to keep in mind and explained us ways of using the spray bottles. The next hour was fun-filled where we all worked on our designs and made some creative art. I was all the more excited because this was something that I would get to keep it with me and bring back home. I had painted Monalisa in this street art workshop and I will never forget it.
Overall, I would say I really enjoyed this colorful and creatively enriching day. Even if you are not a street art fan, you will get to learn a lot. It is worth the time and money because it is about more than one experience. One gets to hop on the public transport, walk through the colourful lanes of Berlin, learn about different styles of some of the world famous artists and see the capital from a completely new perspective.
Happy Traveling. Keep reading my stories.