I still can’t believe it. I feel like I got sucked into a parallel universe where Britain ACTUALLY voted to exit Europe. What?

Quick disclaimer: I normally don’t do politics. I feel it’s a massive charade played by people in power. I have no snazzy numbers, big words or political education to back up this blog post. All I know is that I have been living in the UK for 15 years now as an German expat and the morning of the 24.6. felt really weird! For the first time in my white, male, privileged middle class life did I feel like some people didn’t want me in their country. What?

I assume each one of you, my dear readers, have currently your own discussions about the situation going on your Facebook page. Seeing my friends argue back and forth as the situation unfolds really put a couple of points to my attention that I’d like to talk about in this blog post.

But first let’s rewind the clock and start at the beginning of my love affair with Britain.

I guess my first exposure with British culture must be James Bond. Back in the days of NO INTERNET AND THREE TV CHANNELS  the adventures of the British master spy put down the blueprint of Britishness in my head: Traditional, eccentric and with a cheeky streak of taking the piss but getting away with it…

Next stop: 1990! German HipHop is just emerging and Britain and France are leading the charge emancipating the artform from America and putting their own spin on it. Especially British Hardcore bands like Gunshot, Silver Bullet, HiJack and Killa Instinct really influenced early German Rap. Still have that Killa Instinct 12″ in my collection… bless!

Now enjoy some German Britcore from 1992 by legendary crew ReadyKill from my hometown of Hamburg… ahhh memories!

As my love for rap grew and WITHOUT THE INTERNET IN EXISTENCE I had to find ways to stay up to date with what’s happening. HHC aka HipHop Connection published in the UK was my first point of call and I became a dedicated reader. Fun fact: HHC was already in operation when The Source was just making their first baby steps in the US. Woha… First!

Another massive influence on me was the Monty Python crew. When my local TV startion N3 showed re-runs of the old episodes in the English original version I was glued to the telly: The Pythons really took all the British stereotypes and infused them with a heavy dose of surreal humor. My mind was blown! Somehow Germany always felt too safe, middle class and blant to me and the eccentricity displayed by the British really appealed and struck a chord. 

When I started studying Graphic Design and my record collecting obsession was at it’s peak, all the things I were into at the time came from across the channel: MoWax, NinjaTunes, TheFace, Rave Music…

While a lot of my friends who went to the USA on school exchanges came back as Gangsta Rappers and B-Ballers, the UK was really my spiritual home for music, style and club culture.

Around 2000 I had the chance to do a study semester abroad and I was very lucky to get accepted into Central St.Martins in London. I still remember how I stood outside the massive school building in Holborn with a coffee and a Pret A Manger bag in hand, thinking to myself: “Oh yeah…!”.

So I never left!

I loved the diversity of the people I studied with, the passion each person invested in their work, the creative competition and the energy that was created by traditional Britain with their bowler hats and Saville Row suits rubbing against the grime of the working class and the drugged up club kids.

London for me was always this crazy melting pot where the whole world came together to exist alongside each other. What impressed me as well was how immigrant culture fused with British lifestyle. Whilst in Germany Turks and Germans stayed quite separate until recent, I was impressed how Indian or Jamaican citizens were reppin’ Britishness, adding their own flavour and becoming part of the nation’s DNA and cultural heritage.

And I feel this is what makes this Brexit thing so weird and emotional. It just doesn’t feel right. Disconnection and London just doesn’t work in my head. 

But this is where the issue lies: London is not really Britain. And even London has had it’s fair share of unrest and violent clashes.

If I really felt the Brexit would benefit the British people I would support it. But what I see is is a PM that put the Brexit out there to keep himself in power, gambling that nobody will call his bluff. Well, they did!

I see people like Farage and media outlets like The Sun fanning the hate and anger against Immigrants, yet I feel the real issue is politicians failing their voters and the unchecked greed of the industry and banking system.

I feel what this vote showed is that you can’t sit on your high liberal horse and ignore the concerns of people who live in more rural parts of the country. You can’t just shut opinions down, even when they make you uncomfortable and you don’t agree with them. Because if you don’t listen to them, somebody else will and use all the emotion and anger for their own agendas.

What frustrates me is that although we made such advances in human rights and growing more loving and accepting of each other, people like Trump and Farage can still get so many angry people behind them. I blame the lack of compassion and attention by the so called ‘educated left’ who failed to make sure everybody in the country is onboard and doesn’t feel left behind.

It’s a joke that a Capitalist like Trump can be successful in pretending to be a friend of the working class whilst he would be the first guy to outsource production to China if it makes his profit margins bigger. Well, there used to be this Austrian guy who could convince a whole country that the ideal is to be blond and blue eyed whilst he himself looked like the total opposite. Wrap your head around that one! 

Humans are tribal and emotional and we need to accept that. People want to feel safe and supported. And they will follow leaders who promise these things, even when the facts don’t match up. Because it’s not about facts, it’s about feels.

In order to keep negative sides of the human condition like fear and anger at bay we need to be more aware of staying compassionate and inclusive and make EVERYBODY in the country feel listened to and respected, no matter what the opinion. Just waving stats into peoples faces does nothing. 

The Anti Brexit campaign failed to capture people’s hearts because it was based too much on threats. And knowing the British with their stiff upper lip, this was the absolute wrong path to take. A bit like when you were a kid and you jumped into the puddle of mud just because your mom forbid it and you wanted to piss her off.

So in that aspect I can understand the Brexiters. It was a big FUCK YOU to Cameron and the European Status Quo. The tragedy is that exiting Europe will not fix their perceived problems.

So my plea would be to not have frustration and aggression take over and to stay open and compassionate. It’s the only way to keep all this ignorance and manipulation at bay. Calling people names is not helping changing minds and hearts. So although we might be angry and pissed off, let’s try to stay positive and inclusive and make our opinion heard in a positive and inspiring way!

Because after all…

London Gallery Crawling: Part 1

Living in London as a creative person can be a blessing and a curse at the same time: It’s absolutely fantastic to have the best of art, design and music at your fingertips, yet it can be mind-fryingly overwhelming as well.

It’s easy to develop full blown FOMO ( Fear Of Missing Out ) syndrome as the best of the best exhibiting their work in an seemingly never ending queue of awesomeness on a daily basis. It’s just really easy to get lost in the whirlwind of other people’s work and loose one’s own creative focus!

Still, with the right amount of self discipline ( erm ) it’s possible to get stuff done AND enjoy the richness of London’s creative scene. So please enjoy my little recap of exhibitions I checked out lately…

Maser: Orbiting on the Periphery / Lazarides Gallery

I always enjoy shows at Rathbone Place where Lazarides currently operates it’s main gallery. Home of many great exhibitions in the past, it’s one of the top galleries for Urban Art in London, check it!

As dedicated followers of my digital adventures know I am a sucker for bright colours and shapes. So great I stumbled into the show of Irish artist Maser purely by chance! I really enjoyed his paintings and took a good long look at his technique as he used a lot of different materials and interesting approaches to getting certain effects on the canvas…

Ahhhh colours…


The Connor Brothers: Wondrous Obsessions / Hang Up Pictures

Another heavyweight of the British Urban Art gallery scene, and conveniently just up the street where I live!

I feel Hang Up Pictures are curating more withered, darker looking shows compared to Lazarides and Stolenspace who do like their art rather eye popping, so having The Connor Brothers commission a selected group of artists to create work living alongside natural history artifacts, scientific objects and antiques just totally fit the bill!

Victorian Street Art you say? Hmmm… All I know is that no art show worth it’s salt is complete without an hawt female intern or gallery manager looking concentrated into a macbook 😉

And onwards…

Felipe Pantone & Alex Yanes / Stolenspace Gallery

Ticking yet another box: Stolenspace! Founded by D*Face in 2005, for me the gallery really helped Street Art upping the ante regarding the quality and the craftsmanship of work exhibited.

Did they take a page out of Obeys playbook creating Street Art with a high-end finish? Maybe, but I always enjoy checking out what’s on…

I really like the concept of joined exhibitions and the two gallery spaces at Stolenspace are perfect for that! On my last visit the first gallery was showing ‘Way-Out’ by Alex Yanes. I saw a bit of Barry McGee aka Twist in his work  and really enjoyed his painted wood sculptures, mixing lots of materials to add detail. Especially the finish and combination of characters and type really hit my spot. And his painted Boombox was just too dope!

The main space was dedicated to ‘Data Somersault’ by Felipe Pantone. What can I say: The pieces had my eyeballs somersaulting fo sho! The vision screwing patterns, rainbow colours and retro computer aesthetic really made me think this is the kind of art that hangs on the walls of Bill Gates or Max Headroom. The mix of 80ties gradients and stern black and white symmetry really rocks!


Phil Ashcroft: Fallout / Canal Projects

Always good to support local galleries! I never been to Canal Projects so it was awesome to check out a new art space. Especially when the very talented Phil Ashcroft has his paintings on the walls: Check it out, it’s on till 10th September!

I always liked a mix of acrylic paint and vector based aesthetic: Long time member of the Gamma Proforma Crew and Scrawl Collective Phil Ashcroft was rocking it and there were a lot of familiar faces and dope beats courtesy of Dj Monkphat.

Having a friend over from Germany who is really into art was pretty cool too! She wasted no time discussing post modernism with poor Phil… or maybe they just had chat about colour matching paint and scarves? Who knows…


To finish this piece off with a bang:

Jeff Koons: Now / Newport Street Gallery

Last month was the time to FINALLY check out the gallery space build and curated by no other than Damien Hirst! What can I say… what a building: Designed by architects Caruso St John, the gallery spans 37,000 square feet and includes six exhibition spaces – one with a ceiling height of eleven metres – split over two levels. It hosts art from Hirst’s private collection is free to get in. Sweet!

Hirst is so rich, he can even afford a couple of  hawt interns / gallery managers looking into Apple products! At the same time! Plus security! Bling Bling!

For avid fans of Koons the NOW show has no surprises in store really. If this is Hirsts private collection he basically acquired the most iconic pieces from Koons catalogue: Floating basketballs, pieces from the Popeye Series, Cicciolina in the face photos and massive polished sculptures from his Celebration Series… 

That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it! The space lends itself perfectly to display Koons work, especially the two massive sculptures on show. 

I just hope her boyfriend doesn’t get chrome envy…

Koons is just the daddy of Pop, with his porn pictures soiling the clean and innocent polish of his other work in the perfect amount. His re-creations of inflatable toys or the massive Play Doh mountain and chrome sculptures really express the joy of collecting and the visual power of cute toys. Looking at his work gives me the the same kick I get from marvelling at toys from my local toy store. Just in bigger. MUCH BIGGER. Something KAWS understood and applied to his own work quite perfectly.

I can only applaud the crispness of his work. Well done assistants, well done…

Upon leaving the gallery I spotted a stencil piece in a nearby tunnel, facing the gallery. A tribute by Banksy or just a miffed art critic venting? It shall remain a mystery…

Hope you enjoyed the show(s)… till next time!


Lazarides | Hang Up Pictures | Stolenspace Gallery | Canal Gallery | Newport Street Gallery

Creative Triathlon: Meeting of Styles 2016

When Jim and Matilda from Endoftheline offered me to get involved into the creative frenzy that is the annual Meeting of Styles festival I couldn’t say no: I grabbed my camera, dj bag and paints and headed down to the Nomadic Garden in Bricklane to see what’s going on!

What is Meeting Of Styles you ask? In short: It’s a yearly paint jam that’s organised by people all over the globe! Want to know more? Well, why don’t you check out this educational video curtesy of UK #mos16 organizers Endoftheline:

Bricklane has been a Streetart and Graffiti spot for ages so picking the creative space of the Nomadic Garden and the surrounding area felt like the perfect spot to host this massive event.

When I arrived for the second day of the festival, things were already in full swing: Artists were hitting walls, musicians were jamming and people were enjoying the sunshine, wandering from artists to artist to see what’s happening! Of cause there was food and drink as well…

I really enjoyed the mellow and inclusive vibe that was all around me. As London can be pretty snobbish and hectic this was a welcome change from the norm. It reminded me more of the Hip Hop Jams of old than the polished exhibitions that are everywhere in London these days.

Of cause the centrepiece, like every year, was the massive main wall painted during all three days of the festival. It’s still mind blowing to me how a squad of artists manages to work together so perfectly on such a massive scale! I can’t give enough props to everyone involved in bringing the tentacled London bus to life!

For more pictures of this piece and much more please check out my Flickr!

The one thing that get’s lost these day when it comes to HipHop IMHO is the culture aspect of it: It’s not all about the BlingBling but expressing yourself truthfully via art, dance and music! MOS had an impressive list of DJs, Beatboxers, Musicians, Graff Writers and MC’s all getting down together and I loved every minute of it! Big up!

The creative spirit wasn’t limited to the garden itself but spilled over to nearby walls in Allen Gardens, Pedley Street, Grimsby Street & Scalter Street. The tunnel behind the Normadic Gardens had been made accessible too so there was no shortage of walls to be hit. Glad everyone had an official permission so when the friendly neighbourhood police turned up everything was cool!

Now enough of talking the talk… time for walking the walk myself! With so much amazing talent involved I felt very intimidated putting my canvasses up but it was time to man up and put that paint down! 

I am by no stretch a Graffiti artists but I do love painting and recently got more involved creating artworks with pens and cans so why the hell not get those dried up paints out! First challenge: As my foundation was screamingly yellow I was instantly attacked by a variety of insects ganging up on me in the gardenso I had to leave and find a spot more removed from the local fauna!

As there was no shortage of space soon I was hitting the canvas. My brain was buzzing, switching from “Oh my god I am so crap” to “Hey… this just might turn out alright…” in 5 second intervals. But hey, everybody has to start somewhere, right?

Painting open air drinking beers was way more enjoyable than watching the paint dry ( literally ) at home so although I didn’t manage to finish my two canvasses ( go two or go home ) in time for my dj set, I was quite happy with the outcome and had a great time. I am a beautiful Art Butterfly, no matter what they say… and I am sure you can check out the finished pieces soon on my Instagram!

When the sun was setting it was time to ditch the paints and get out the record bag: Time for the third part of my creative triathlon consisting of taking snaps, painting pictures and spinning beats all in one day! 

As my slot was quite late a nice big crowd was already grooving to the sounds of the previous DJ crews and beat boxers. Easy!

Although I have been djing for over 20 years now, each new gig is still giving me a bit of stage fright. It’s about connecting with some hundred people and getting the party moving… not an easy task! Hence my serious face: Dj Solaris100 in deep meditation!

I am happy to report that the vinyl only selection of tunes I packed didn’t fall on deaf ears! I especially want to give a big shout out to Paz Dean who dug my vintage HipHop selection so much he basically became my hype man, inspiring all kinds of hardcore breakdance moves as can be witnessed below:

Like any good DJ I ran over time and even sneaked in a cheeky German Hip Hop track in there! The facial expressions of the few Germans dotted around who didn’t expect to hear some Eimsbush Beats in London were priceless!

So all in all it was an amazing event and I need to give again a massive shout out to Matilda and Jim from Endoftheline for organizing all this and all the artists involved blessing the event with their creativity!

Till next year! | | Nomadic

And to wrap things up, here are my Top 5 party smashers from my set at #mos16…

1) “Wicked Funk” – Kwanzaa Posse ( 1999 )

Absolute killer Funk track that has been in my record bag since 1999! Always gets me into the mood and is the perfect jump off point for any set mashing different funky flavours together. 10/10

2) “Represent” – Nas ( 1994 )

Stone cold classic that takes me back to when I was hanging out in my local Hip Hop joint in Hamburg/Geramany called “The Powerhouse” on the legendary Reeperbahn! It was known for playing mostly Eastcoast tracks on an insanely crisp soundsystem… ahhh the golden days! 

3) “Wie jetzt” – Dynamite Deluxe ( 2000 )

The aforementioned German HipHop track! I have been living in London now for 15 years so after adapting to Sunday Roasts and the Monarchy it’s only fair that I import a bit of my German HipHop heritage onto this island! Part of the legendary Eimsbush Crew hailing straight outta Hamburg Ciddy, their MC Samy Deluxe still rates as one of the best German emcees doing it. And the beats? Banging! 

4) “Tricka Technology” – A.Skillz & Krafty Kuts ( 2002 )

I do love all kinds of funky beats so being into Breaks comes natural to me. This banger from the two heavyweights of this musical genre still delivers the goods and works in any context. It’s one of these tracks that sets the mood and gets people grooving…

5) “Sabotage” – Beastie Boys ( 1994 )

What can I say… LEGENDARY! Sometimes you have to give the crowd what they need. The Beasties are the one band that had the biggest influence on me period! Being it their style, music, humor and other creative endeavours. Unhatable and untouchable. Check out their amazing live DVD “Awesome… I shot that” to revisit them at their absolute top game! #ripmca…