Berlin Graffiti: Street art guide, with walking tour

Posted in: Berlin Sightseeing

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A section of the East Side Gallery in Berlin. Photos by Campru.
A section of the East Side Gallery in Berlin. Photos by Campru.

Berlin—Critic and curator Emilie Trice writes, “Berlin is the graffiti mecca of the urban art world.” And a recent New York Times article confirms Trice’s assertion with the observation that “The city’s skyline might be defined by a Sputnik-era TV tower, bombed-out churches and the ghost of a certain wall that once split the German capital. But its streetscape is largely molded by graffiti.”

It is therefore unsurprising that the city’s art landscape includes a number of galleries exclusively showing street art. Overkill Shop, Circle Culture, and Intoxicated Demons are a few choice examples of galleries specializing in bringing street art inside. And recent super-successful shows by celebrated local street artists such as EVOL and Jaybo Aka Monk demonstrate the commercial viability of street art for international collectors.

A graffiti guide

Street art in Berlin.

Street art in Berlin.

But for everyone interested in just appreciating the work in its natural habitat, there is a new book by graphic designer Benjamin Wolbergs, “Urban Illustration Berlin: Street Art Cityguide.” The book makes the perfect guide for a walking tour through Berlin’s outdoor street art scene.

Written in both German and English, the book offers exclusive interviews with seventeen of the elusive artists. Wolbergs does not limit his focus to spray paint. Instead, he gives attention to the rich range of stencils, cutouts, markers and wheatpaste works across the city.

Wolbergs’ stunning street photography in “Urban Illustration Berlin: Street Art Cityguide,” along with the interviews’ insight into the artists’ working techniques, motives, and philosophies on street art, make the book a valuable purchase, regardless of whether one is planning a visit to Berlin.

A self-guided graffiti walking tour

However, the book’s real treasure is a tear-out city map detailing the locations of 500 iconic and admired instances of Berlin’s street art featured in the book. Tear it out and take yourself on a walking tour.

Street art is fragile. And a few of the works Wolbergs spotlighted no longer exist. But the neighborhoods remain active areas for street artists and well worth visiting for anyone interested in the origins of Berlin’s vibrant international art scene.

About the author

Thomas Meyers

About the author: Tom created and launched EuroCheapo from his Berlin apartment in 2001. He returned to New York in 2002, set up office, and has led the EuroCheapo team from the Big Apple ever since. He travels to Europe several times a year to update EuroCheapo's hotel reviews. Tom is also a co-host of the New York City history podcast, The Bowery Boys.

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8 thoughts on “Berlin Graffiti: Street art guide, with walking tour”

  1. Pingback: Künstler filmt Berliner Streetart « kleinanzeigenberlinmitte.com kleinanzeigenberlinmitte.com

  2. I’m planning a trip Germany in the fall of 2013. I plan on flying into Berlin with my sole priority being to see it’s street art. In this post you mention the book Urban Illustration Berlin. I also noticed it was published in 2007. I’m wondering if you think the book will still be useful given the fragility of street art. If not, do you know of an alternative? Any information would be much appreciated!!

    Thanks!

    Reply
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  6. I like the idea of a street art guide to a city. We stayed in a town in the south of Portugal last year and the street art was about the most interesting thing there. Though that possibly says more about the town than the art.

    Reply
  7. I can think of a lot of cities which would suit for a graffiti art guide – what a great idea! Reminds me vaguely of the murals in Belfast, but of course those are concentrated while the graffiti in Berlin is sprawling….

    Reply

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