Kickstarting 2018!

As I am sliding into a common “GJD” ( Grey January Depression ) I remembered that it’s a good idea to list all the things to be thankful for in life. So that’s a perfect jumping off point for a traditional Blogger recap of 2017 and an outlook of what 2018 might have in store!

Yes I know I am a bit late to the party but hey, it has been a crazy ride…

Moving back to Germany

2017 was pretty intense for me as I settled back into the flow of my hometown of Hamburg after living 15 years in the Big Smoke aka London. This topic would warrant a whole blogpost in itself, but for now let’s just say it’s quite crazy how much I enjoy being back home! After slagging off Hamburg for the last 25 years for being boring, dull and lacking creative energy it’s quite amazing that my days are flying by and I am not bored for a second. I was SO sure that IF I EVER would return to Germany, the place to be would be Berlin…

So how come I ended up back up north? Well, because I realized that my work actually benefits from a slower pace of life and living in a smaller city! So instead of getting hit by FOAMO ( Fear Of Missing Out ) every day, bouncing around between sneaker launches and exhibition previews like a madman, I actually could sit my ass down to get some personal work done!

I am happy to report that I got pretty busy last year and I am very proud of the outcome: Being it pushing my art, connecting with cool creative people or getting some YouTube videos out there, the slower pace of life definetly helped me to be less distracted and more creative!

Of cause London will always have a very special place in my heart and I am still visiting frequently. If you are planning to visit London this year why not check out my London guide on my blog:


Whilst we are on the topic of traveling, I managed to get a fair amount of travel in as well: Copenhagen, London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Italy and Sweden… always having a great time hanging out with friends and family!

There are so many places I still have to see, so I really want to keep on ticking some cities off my list in 2018. I never been to Greece, Turkey, Finland, Norway or Hungary so this really needs to change this year! I want to focus on smaller city breaks instead of longer holidays as there is just too much to see. So if you can recommend anything, hit me up on all the regular Social Media channels @solaris100!


I always painted and drew, but I am guilty of letting it slide a bit too much for the last couple of years which didn’t make me happy. I am much more happy now being back at it and even getting a couple of exhibitions under my belt in the UK and Germany.

As an artist you are always searching for an unique and authentic creative voice. After I started to just scribble around three years ago, a fresh visual direction opened up to me and I am really happy how my expressionist bubbles and colorful defacing of objects evolved month after month. Now in 2018 I feel really clear about the direction I want to take and can’t wait doing more art! Especially doing murals is a lot of fun and I am planning to blow up the size of my paintings considerably…

At this point I want to give a big shout out to the Street Art School Collective of Hamburg for letting me become a member and involving me into activities like painting murals and the Millerntor Gallery 2017. You can read about that here:

YouTube, Instagram and Social Media Madness

A bit thank you to everyone who follows me on Instagram and all the other obvious Social Media channels!!! Life really inspires me and I just love to share my travels with you. I met great friends online and your support and encouragement really means a lot to me. 

  Follow me on Insta here!
Follow me on Insta here!

I will do more YouTube videos in 2018 as it’s just a lot of fun dissecting nerdy topics like trainers or KAWS toys. I am really into watching videos about nerdy stuff whilst painting or doing chores around the house and it’s very inspiring to see how my fave YouTubers found their voice and raised their game over the years. This new age of direct content creation and distribution is just fantastic!

My current favorite YouTubers are:

Mei Leaf – Don is always entertaining dropping tea knowledge

Paul Cantu – Funny as hell Thrift God from Texas

The Sucklord – Conflicted NYC artist who meditates about Star Wars and the art world… 

So I hope you check em out and give them a thumbs up!

Crafting Solaris 100 Manor

Again really a blogpost in itself, but I am really happy to have found a new amazing flat against all odds three days before NYE 2017! Moving so closely before the new year wasn’t fun but it allowed me a fresh start into 2018. And now, after a solid month of visits to IKEA, I can report that Solaris100 Manor is full operational and offers me to hang out and work in style!

I am sure I’ll do a IKEA Cribs video of the place soon so keep your eyes peeled…

Wow… the Winter blues is gone! So this whole gratitude thing actually works!

I am definitely VERY grateful for everything that happened in the last year and the year before as it led me to this grey January day in Hamburg where I feel ready to F**KING ROCK in 2018!

Thank you so much for being part of the journey so far and let’s keep on moving together…



Funny how? My love affair with stand up comedy

With one of my favorite comedian riding to town this month, I thought I reflect a little bit about my love for stand up comedy. As you, my dear reader, might have already figured out, I am quite into things: I can obsess about records, toys, street wear, urban art and cinema… hell, pop culture in general! But somehow stand up comedy never made my list of obvious obsessions. 

I rarely go to gigs and don’t really catch up with what’s out there at the moment. Yet again, stand up has fascinated and entertained me since I was a little boy back in Germany and I think nobody comments as poignantly on the weird spectacle of human existence than Stand Up Comedians!

I feel they fill the role of the court jester, who was the only person allowed to mock the king and therefor had the power to touch on some uncomfortable truths without ( literally ) risking his neck.

When Philosophers and Politicians debate, things can get very emotional and heated. One feels compelled to take a stand, argue for or against and feel either insulted or vindicated.

As comedians are meant to be funny, we are not so pressured to take their rants as serious personal attacks, but rather chuckle along as we can relate to the stories about the trials and tribulations of modern life.

Of cause there are as many types of comedy as there are pebbles on a beach, but personally I always enjoyed most humor that touches on real issues and moral dilemmas.

But let’s rewind the clock and talk a little about the comedians that I love…

It all started for me with this guy! I won’t bore you with elaborate ramblings about German comedy, but OTTO has to be name dropped because I listened to this specific record over and over all the way back in 1981! 

One can compare him to a thin Bill Bailey: Surreal humor fused with great musical craftsmanship and physical slapstick. Very silly but very funny! 

There are so many great comedians out there that I love, for example the whole Monty Python crew, but in order to keep this blog post snappy let me just ramble about some stone cold classics and some more recent discoveries…

When I moved to London I ended up in a flatshare with my friend Mark Ward who at this time shared the flat already with another dude who came straight from NZ and wore big glasses and mighty sideburns: Turns out Jarred was a budding stand up comedian and always had some stand up specials on rotation in our communal VHS player. 

Through him I got to discover Eddie Murphy as a stand up comedian and not as the Hollywood star I was used to seeing in flicks like Beverly Hills Cop or Search for the golden Child.

Eddie just KILLS it in his flamboyant leather outfits doing impersonations, songs and just hilarious routines. Both of his specials from the 80ties are absolutely amazing and I can watch them on repeat. Thanks Jarred! 

Next up is every Lefties favorite comedian: Bill Hicks. In his short career he left a distinctive impact with many classic routines. I just love his delivery and clever philosophic observations, peppered with a lot of sex, drugs and Rock’n’Roll. He died of cancer in 1994 way too early at the age of 32. 

His legacy can still be felt today and I can really recommend the documentary film about his life from 2009 also.

From Bill Hicks to one of the longest serving comedians ever, George Carlin. I must have come across his comedy specials when I searched for more Bill Hicks material. This guy is insanely talented and has been called  “the dean of counterculture comedians” for a reason: Starting out in 1960 he kept working all the way up  2008, recording his last comedy special for HBO the same year he passed on.

What makes Carlin for me so endearing is his razor sharp intellect and his mediations on the power of language. Being able to switch from clever satire to full on ranting, George Carlin is still the gold standard when it comes to the thinking mans and womans comedy.

Onwards and upwards: Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle. Two absolute heavyweights of stand up comedy. Chris Rock comes out on top for me though: I just love all his specials and can listen to his rants and observations any time. Especially when it comes to call out issues of race in America, few comedians are as fearless as him.

I find it interesting that I never found Chris Rock funny in any of the films he was acting in though: Grown Ups 2 anyone? But when it comes to stand up he’s a beast with his powerful delivery he apparently modelled on Baptist preachers delivering a sermon. Truly never scared…

You really have to be fearless to go out there, and these two ladies have bigger balls than most men: Joan Rivers and Margarete Cho never shied away from talking about their own demons, being it extensive cosmetic surgery or drug addiction.

Especially Joan Rivers is an absolute legend! Starting out in 1965 she became first woman to host a late night network television talk show and her raunchy self deprecating comedy was very unusual to be delivered by a woman back in the Sixties. All the way up until her death in 2014 she was working and nobody did bitchy celebrity comedy just like her. RIP!

Now, as you might have noticed dear reader, my earlier stand up crushes are all American. So let’s give the Brits a little love! This island has so many talented comedians, you wouldn’t know where to start! I do love how many different flavours of comedy can be successful at the same time and co-exist next to each other: Bill Bailey, Ricky Gervais, Jimmy Carr, Sarah Millican, Frankie Boyle, Michael McIntyre… 

The British exceed in is dwelling in the melancholy of human existence: Steward Lee and Simon Amstell always bring the goods when I feel ready for a slice of poetic depression and woe! And I think I don’t know any comedian who is as constantly every so slightly disappointed with humanity than Steward Lee…

Now a bit of a controversial pick near the end of my list: Everybody’s favourite debonaire dandy / egomaniacal serial shagger Russell Brand! Whilst there are many many occasions where it’s competely understandable to hate Russell Brand, you can’t take away from the man his total commitment to his own vanity. And it does take some vanity and obsession to go out on a stage to stand in front of a group of strangers and go: Look at me! I am funny!

Clever enough to know about his addictions and desires, Russell manages to never completely disappear up his own bum so let’s not be too hard on him. Really enjoyed his last Comedy Special, give it a try!

 Now to the big guy who inspired me to count down my favourite comedians, Mr Bill Burr. 

Nobody does a good rant like good old Billy Freckles and I can’t wait seeing him this week performing at the Apollo in London. Apart from great rants, a killer delivery and a fearlessness to really lean into controversial topics, it’s his down to earth approachability and heart in the right place that I really rate.

He is just a very funny guy and I love listening to him. Plus his advice on life he gives out on his weekly podcast is damn PRICELESS!

So I hope you enjoyed my little excursion into my fave funny people and maybe see you at the Bill Burr show this weekend!

The joy of bargain diggin’

I have been a vinyl collector my whole life but the small flats in London with no storage space and the pain of having to carry around crates and crates full of heavy vinyl stopped me to keep expanding my collection.

Another issue for me is the price of vinyl: Spending around £100 just to get 10 fresh new tracks into my DJ bag when I spin just makes no sense, at least not to me. I rather burn CDs with some new bangers I purchased digitally for 99p a song or even downloaded for free from Soundcloud… sorry, purists!

I still have a passion for vinyl though! It’s actually very remarkable that vinyl, a very much antique analogue format, still flourishes amongst the digital revolution. I believe it’s the haptic quality, the great cover artwork and just the pure joy of holding your favorite track in your hand.

So although I rather buy digital music now, I do make the the odd exception and pay full price for a new slice of vinyl. Actually there are only three reasons I buy the odd full price vinyl record here and there:

1) It’s just too amazing

 via  Dj Food
via Dj Food

There is only so much temptation a man can withstand: Star Wars plus 7Inch plus Rave Beats plus an original vintage toy? All for £5? HELL YES! Balkan Recordings just killed it with this one!

2) Recordstore Day suckered me into it

Ahhh the day that appeals to the nerdy, hoard-y side of every Vinyl nerd: Must get the exclusive for the collection! Oh look it’s so special can’t miss out! OMG this looks like a star!!! With it’s high price points and limited pressings it aims straight at the wallet of middle aged collectors like me, d’oh!

3) It’s connected to UNKLE and Futura 2000

If there ever was a record label that made me catch the vinyl collecting bug it must have been MoWax and it’s artist in residency, Futura 2000. With it’s endless special editions, fold out covers, Japan exclusives and rare promos, MoWax made it’s releases insanely collectable. So whenever I see a MoWax record that I don’t own yet it itches me to get it.

Ok, let’s be honest. There is a fourth reason I still buy vinyl from time to time. The reason being when it’s dead cheap!


Music Exchange in Notting Hill was the first amazing bargain paradise with a basement with thousands of records for £0.50 or less I discovered after moving to London. The place was/is perfect for discovering cheap promos of your favorite label, a forgotten classic on 12″ or an overlooked gem. Nothing feels more satisfying than leaving a record store with a bag full of great music that cost you next to nothing! 

So when I saw that my local record store Love Vinyl had a 20p bargain basement I just had to get involved, being the vinyl cheapskate that I am. The joy bargain digging brings me by far excels buying a rare copy of an overpriced album on Records Store Day.

Because you can just enjoy yourself without the guilty conscience of spending too much money on things you don’t actually need. You can be experimental as it doesn’t matter if you purchase some duds and you can indulge by buying some records for the album cover alone!

It’s a bit like eating low fat Nutella if there were such a thing: All of the pleasure, none of the pain!

With me having had an amazing bargain run this month, I thought I’d share some of my finds for your viewing pleasure…

Category: Who cares about the music, great cover!

Never heard of that Madonna song but I am digging ( pun intended ) the Warhol-esque 7″ cover. Next: Lime green, Apple logo and some vintage printer styles on Ninja Tune, how can I not bag this.

Straight up 80ties rave amazingness next, gotta love that Benz star too: KRUSHing it. Last but not least: Force MD’s. Can we please bring back synchronized dressing? 

The one that got away: I still can’t believe I left this one in the shop…

Category: This actually might be good!

The name Spyder D rang a bell so I just went for it. Turns out the track samples Nu Shooz 1984 Hit “I can’t wait” and is a total oldskool HipHop party rocker!

Next, the XL sleeve and the artist name “Hardcore” gave me an instant Rave vibe and I do enjoy my vintage rave music so this one went into the bag. Another winner as it turned out indeed to be some good old rave tune in the tradition of early Prodigy. WIKKKIT!

Next up good old Tony Touch. The title had me loop “He is the greatest dancer” by Sister Sledge in my brain straight away. Turns out, that’s exactly the song Tony messed with so another party track for the DJ bag.

Last but not least a record I found at Oxfam, fam! Priced at £0.99 DEFINITELY upper price range but AV8 from New York are known for their party Hip Hop mashups. 

Championing the style long before Insane Bangers, Hot Cakes and other Party Breaks labels, they can be hit and miss but the 12″ turned out well with 6 playable tracks! Yes Yo!

Biggest surprise: Bob Sinclar! I loved his first album back in 1995 but he since walked the dark path of commercial house music and looks today like David Guettas evil twin brother after a night of shagging models in a New York penthouse. But the lovely lady on the cover, the retro vibe and the happy price of 20p convinced me to give it a shot. 

Truth be told, the original mix is horrible. Good I checked the flip as a dude called Tommy Musto Aquavela managed to craft a remix that is actually pretty damn enjoyable. Well done! 

Last but not least…

Category: This is a certified hit! Go on, judge me!

It’s always fun to find guilty pleasures and childhood hits on 7″, especially abandoned in the bargain bin! This is barely the tip of the iceberg of my finds, other highlights include “Working 9-5” by Dolly Parton and “Magic Fly” from Space… 

Standout find: This crappy plastic bag. When I asked for bargain records in my local record store in Dalston the record dealer fished out this scruffy looking bag of scruffy looking 7″ from a hook in the back room.

I walked away with 10 records costing me £2 total. Songs purchased: “In the ghetto” by Elvis, “It’s not unusual” by Tom Jones ( banger! ), “Downtown” by Petula Clark , “Da Ya Think I’m sexy” by The Rodster. Just to mention a few of the oldies but goldies acquired. Now all I need is a drunken house party with a record player and it’s ON!  

So as you see, there is no shame in the bargain digging game! By the way… did you know you can replace scruffy looking vintage sleeves quite easily? Me not either. Check this out…

Ok I am off to collect a free 7″ from my local pub which they placed next to the beer tabs for decoration.:  Jefferson Airplane “White Rabbit” with “Someone to love” on the flip. OH YES!


Music and Video Exchange | 38 Notting Hill Gate | Notting Hill

Love Vinyl | 5 Pearson St | Hoxton

Eldica Records | 8 Bradbury St | Dalston

Ok so Urban Vinyl is kinda over but…

Hi kids!

After breaking down the sneaker queueing game I thought I address the next essential puzzle piece in a street geeks identity: Collecting expensive toys.

Now when I am talking “expensive toys” I do not talk Porsches or Rolex watches here, I mean actual TOYS made out of plastic or vinyl! Now how did that become part of the Hypebeast DNA you wonder, well, let me enlighten you…

Ok so why do grown dudes collect toys in the first place?

There was this small underground movie getting released in 1977, you might have heard of it… Star Wars? Not only did the movie blew every kids mind back in the day but it kicked off one of the biggest toy franchises on this planet.

As the product design of Star Wars was so damn iconic and awesome it translated like a treat to the toy lines. Basically every person ( guy? nerd? ) that was born around that time got caught up in the Star Wars toy blizzard and has fond memories of the pieces owned.

Then came puberty and most of us sold their Star Wars collections on for peanuts. This should later be revealed to be a massive, traumatising event that lead to many men later in life mumbling: “I used to have that one” through salty geek tears.

So yes, I blame the urge to collect on the trauma of selling on the childhood Star Wars toys!

Ok, so how did certain toys become cool and hip then?

Fast forward and the boy from back in 1975 is the Twentysomething of 1993 who witnesses the birth of street wear and other cool shit: Records, Sneakers and Graffiti. Brands like FreshJive, Fuct, Holmes and Stüssy and nerdy Breakbeat labels like Ninja Tunes and MoWax appear and go big. The traumatised boy from back in the day suddenly has the consumer power to buy all the geeky shit he wants without getting told off by his parents. Yay!

Meanwhile in Tokyo man-boys started to connect their love for street culture with their love for toys. Japanese fashion label Bounty Hunter ( yep, Star Wars reference, told ya! ) created together with BAPE designer Sk8thing 1999 the first “Urban Vinyl” toy: Kid Hunter.

An evil riff on American cereal mascots, this lump of plastic is still on many collectors “must find” lists and signalled the dawn of what we would call Urban Vinyl. Personally Urban Vinyl for me means any toy that has been created to appeal to adults instead of being aimed at kids.

Next thing you know Japanese Toy companies, Western Graffiti artists, Music Label owners and Streetwear hustlers all embrace in one sweaty geek group hug and birth a new category of nerdy collectable that references all the stuff that makes street culture cool and taps directly into the Star Wars shaped hole left from selling all those childhood toys: Urban Vinyl aka Designer Toys!

From top left clockwise: Martin toy for UK street wear label Silas, first Companion toy by US artist KAWS, P.A.P ( PEACE AND PROSPERITY ) toy by US fashion brand Stüssy.

Damn son! I didn’t know that. So who produces all this crap?

When we talk toy companies actually producing these things look no further than Medicom Toy in Japan. It became THE toy company of choice for artists to release through and their iconic Kubrick and Bearbrick shapes kickstarted the blind pack and artist toy edition culture Kid Robot made extremely popular in the West years later with their own spin on the Bearbrick concept, the Dunny.

With more and more known artists creating editions for Medicom toys and global tastemakers pushing the medium, Urban Vinyl became less of a toy and more of an art sculpture that was affordable for the regular collector.

Medicom upped the collecting game as well by introducing the “Blind Box” concept where collectors didn’t even know which artwork they would get, with extra rare “chase pieces” thrown in for good measure. So in order to get the whole series one had to buy a lot of doubles in order to get lucky with the rarer pieces.

Fashion Label A Bathing Ape launched their own toy company Bape Play and the British record label MoWax regularly created promotional collectables for their record releases. Very unsurprisingly both NIGO of BAPE and James Lavelle who ran MoWax were massive Star Wars nerds.

 Futura x MoWax toys produced by Medicom to celebrate the second album by British band UNKLE

  Futura x MoWax toys produced by Medicom based on the cover art for British band UNKLE

From top left clockwise: Futura x UNKLE x BAPE, Policeman by James Jarvis based on his comic “World of Pain”, Kubrick toy by Graffiti artist Stash, Dissected Companion toy by Artist KAWS. 

Ok awesome! What happened next?

After the first wave of Urban Vinyl from Japan, US based Kid Robot made Designer toys a household name in the West pushing artists like KOZIK, Ron English and Gary Baseman and they own spin on Medicoms customizable Kubrick and Bearbrick toys called Munnies and Dunnies…

 via  avroko
via avroko

From top left clockwise: Toby toy by Gary Baseman, A Clockwork Carrot Bunny by KOZIK, “Grin” Evil Charlie Brown by Ron English and various Dunnies by Kid Robot.

This unholy marriage between art, fashion, music and collectable toys can be highly addictive. With the easy access to merchandise via eBay and online stores and the never ending flood of cool stuff getting released it’s hard to stay sane. You just can’t Collect Em All anymore. Well, apart from when you a super collector Selim Varol. Apart from having the luxury to run his own toy and art store he has amassed one of the most amazing collection of art and toys on the planet…

And then… when you least expect it… suddenly the whole thing flips and goes full circle and you end up collecting Star Wars again… DAMN! But this time the Vader costs £1,250 on eBay because KAWS designed it and that little monkey with the Boba Fett helmet £100 because it’s a collaboration with fashion label A Bathing Ape. Raising the stakes here!

So Solaris, still on that vinyl?

My big epiphany regarding collecting actually came to me in the home land of characters and limited edition: Japan! After spending three days in a row in the Nakano Broadway Toy Mall I was just a shivering, sweaty mess…

The sheer amount of amazing stuff that was available just blew my mind and didn’t correspond with my financial situation or display space availability. At that point I realised I can’t have it all and that I need to get off the crack.

And when even Mega Star Wars Fanboy NIGO get’s rid of his collection you know it’s time to size down!

Times have changed and I am not really collecting toys anymore. There is just too much stuff out there and the golden age of collecting in early 2000 is definitely over for me.

STILL… there are companies and artists out there that excite me… so here we go!

My Top 5 toy things that still rock in 2016

1) Hot Toys

Slowly but surely Hot Toys from Hong Kong seized the toy crown from Sideshow Toys in America and Medicom in Japan by producing the craziest detailed licensed toys out there! The head sculpts look so freakishly real you might think they decapitated Robert Downey Junior and shrank down his skull using some toy voodoo magic. Is it cool to have Hot Toys? I doubt it get’s you laid but respect from your chubby mates is guaranteed! These are definitely BRO toys… and still awesome…


2) 3AA Toys

Like a fucked up dark version of Hot Toys, 3A are creating crazy detailed figures but with an added art edge. Founded 2008 by Kim Fung Wong and painter and illustrator Ashley Wood 3A’s appeal lies in the withered and distressed look, the post apocalyptic feel and unique design of their characters.

I still need to own one of their pieces someday…


3) Homemade Bootlegs

Toy Hustlers and one man bands like The Sucklord8 Bit Zombie or Streets of Beige might be stuck deep in nostalgia but bring enough freshness and mutation to their hand made pieces for them to be awesome. Being it splattering each toy with paint, creating the best Masters of the Universe toy that never existed or creating a gay empire: Bootleg toys are unique, awesome and damn funny!



4) Cute shit that can’t be ignored

What can I say, I still have a weak spot for cute, well designed characters. Three designers who come to mind are Fluffyhouse, Friends With You and Pete Fowler

5) Super 7 

In 2001, Super7 started as a magazine about vintage Japanese toys. In 2004 they opened their first store in the Japantown district of San Francisco to carry not just toys, but everything else that they wanted: t-shirts, posters, books and more. Told ya it’s all connected!

Somehow they are really OG to me and I love all the weird toys they are stocking…

So there you have it!

My super quick rundown of the toy game. I know I left out many toys, artists and companies and I apologise. Plus I like to acknowledge that women collect toys too! It’s just from my own experience that mostly men sweat over the latest toy releases…. #dontjudgeme #itsacompliment

For more things related to being a toy looser check out:, www.kidrobot.com and Toybreak