Art for Water: Millerntor Gallery 2017

Of all the things London spoiled me with, Street Art was one of the most vibrant. Rarely a week passed without a new great show opening around town. I still remember the very first KAWS show in London 2003, Banksy’s first exhibition at the Dragon Bar or Ben Eine painting his letters in Bricklane.  And who can forget the legendary group show Santas Ghetto on Oxford Street 2006 uniting the “Who is who” of the global Street Art movement like some arty Avengers?

Well, I am happy to report that Hamburg is getting it’s arty groove on as well with murals by 1010, LowBros and a vibrant Graffiti scene that has been spawning legendary writers and taggers like DAIM, OZ (RIP) and MOST just to name a few.

So I was more than happy to learn about the annual Millerntor Gallery event that transforms the football stadium of the Hamburg Soccer Club St.Pauli into an open air gallery over a long weekend to raise funds for their charity Viva Con Aqua

Already in it’s 7th year, the line up featured an international selection of fantastic Street Artists and Graffiti writers and thanks to an invite by local Graffiti Store Underpressure I was able to create artwork for their charity auction featuring 100 painted Minisubwayz trains who would get raffled away during the event.

In addition of having had the honour to submit some art alongside some proper Graffiti and Street Art legends I was able to support the Street Art School Hamburg during the gallery run.

Offering workshops to educate visitors about Street Art and let them have a go at painting and stencilling themselves, it was the perfect hands on experience to unleash their own creative genius after checking out the show!

Of cause I had a stroll through the show as well. Here are some of my personal favourite pieces from the art on display. 

For sentimental reasons I really loved the Bud Spencer piece by Spruehwairk… great execution as well! Following is works by Marc Jung x Marco Fisher, Gabriel Riquelme and Smith The One x Seher One. How dope is that skull?!

Music and talks were a big part of the experience so shout out to Hamburg artist Marambolage who decorated the stage area with colourful drops!

Another impressive piece was the Underpressure train wall. Over 100 artists contributed and for 75€ per lucky dip you could go home with a train full of original artwork. I still don’t know who got my train, so please contact me if you were the lucky one!

The Millerntor Gallery didn’t just attract artists and musicians so I was able to make friends with a lot of other DJs, Promoters and general movers and shakers as well. Big shout out at this point to the Ramba Zamba St Pauli Fanclub who ran the Kuttique stall. Fucking mentalists! Not only did they invite me to spin some tunes but suddenly the whole place became the backdrop for a Nigerian Pop Video. Crazy…

With all this energy all around me I couldn’t resist picking up a couple of art pieces as well. After walking past it a hundred times I had to pull the trigger and got this hand painted tray by MyntOne. I am a big fan of the Jukebox Cowboys Crew and his execution and colourway was just too fresh!

In addition to that did I pick up a lovely Felipe Pantone print and one of the awesome limited edition Millerntor Gallery Graff Beer mugs.

Tried to create my own limited edition Millerntor Gallery artwork as well but didn’t manage to finalise it in time… one day I shall finish them! Keep your eyes peeled!

So what more can I say: I had an absolute blast! I just love such events that connect the dots between art, music, people and social engagement. I shall put in some work to be able to paint a wall at Millerntor Gallery #8 in 2018! Until then…


Solaris on tour: Amsterdam calling! Part 1

Its always fun to go on a city break, especially when the weather has been this horrible in London like this year! So when I got asked to DJ at a wedding in Amsterdam I jumped at the opportunity to escape the grey and rainy same old same old. So I grabbed a suit, an USB stick full of beats and off I went!

I associate Amsterdam mostly with two things: Very strong weed and the horror flick “Amsterdamned”. While the first might kill your ambition to do anything apart from eating waffles with Nutella, the second one literally might kill you if you stand too close at a canal during the 80ties!

As the days of herbal self medication are well behind me I had plenty of time to find new ways to entertain me in the Dutch capital. So I grabbed my camera and hit the road. 

There are three things I look out for when I am in a new city: Geeky stores, record shops and the local streetwear retailer of choice! The last one on that list was the most obvious: Patta rules Amsterdam when it comes to sneakers and clothes so my first point of call was to check out what’s happening at the Dutch version of Supreme or Palace.

The store was close to Centraal Station and featured a very minimal white interior and rows and rows of kicks! As the T-Shirts didn’t flatter my shapely body and 5 panel caps are a young man’s game I ended up purchasing only with a Patta coffee mug like the Streetwear tourist that I am!

Put the kettle on… now all I need is Supreme teabags!

While there are a lot of chic stores in Amsterdam I didn’t really run past anything that caught my attention fashion retail wise. Honorable example: The Comme Des Garçons Black store next to Patta… creepy big babies anyone?

Another thing I expected to see more was surprisingly Street Art! I guess it must have something to do with the narrow streets and squeezed buildings which don’t really provide a lot of paintable surface! Then again, I haven’t really done any research and just ran up and down through the city centre so maybe the outskirts of Amsterdam are full or crazy murals, who knows…

Stickers, on the other hand, were EVERYWHERE. Just good that I packed a big duffle bag of Solaris ones so I could go All City!

Whilst on the topic of Street Art: Somehow it was Banksy season in the Dutch capital: Pink posters advertising the Banksy show at the Moco Museum were everywhere so it would have been rude not to go!

As much as I liked Dismaland, I really prefer my Banksy on the streets and not in a museum. It’s still mind boggling to me what crazy prices Banksy pieces command and how much he became the blueprint of what Joe Public perceives as Street Art: Some funny riff on a celeb stencilled with some paint drips around it and an ‘edgy’ slogan below. I don’t blame Banksy for this development, but the level of celebrity he achieved makes visiting exhibitions like this slightly surreal… and may I say… naff.

Curated by Steve Lazarides, the show had a lot of pieces on display that Banksy is known for. It just feels weird seeing a piece of Graffiti displayed in a gallery environment that you still remember seeing on a grubby wall in East London. There was an attempt to juxtapose the Banksy artwork with Warhol pieces which fell a bit flat as the Warhol artwork was put into the basement gallery, next to the toilets and the gift shop… poor Andy!

Seeing the Warhol show being put into the lower floor gallery shows how much Banksy draws the crowds these days. As much as I am happy for his success I do wonder how he feels about having tourists buying bootleg merchandise at shows that display work that could have gotten him arrested just a few years back. I guess he might actually really appreciate the irony of it all! 

Oh and did I take a picture at that Banksy tourist wall? OF CAUSE I DID, because I am just a sheep like everybody else! XD

Well, after I exited the Moco Museum I head back into the town centre, running into quite a couple of galleries and stores which were, literally, up my street.  Turns out I ended up in the part of Amsterdam known for it’s antique stores, art galleries and boutiques: Nieuwe spiegelstraat.

First up was the cool stuff store ‘Famous‘: Toys, Books, Screenprints oh yes please! On the shelves the usual suspects: Warhol, Murakami, Medicom… basically how my flat would look like if I had serious money… or would be Jayawesum!

Onwards I ran into more great galleries. The big discovery for me was the show of Ayako Rokkaku at Gallery Delaive at Spiegelgracht 23: Her psychedelic comic art is just great, especially as she painted everything WITH HER FINGERS! Whut?! Cray cray!

I was especially in awe of her layered 3D perspex paintings that were so polished that you couldn’t really make out the seams of the glued together slabs of plastic. Amazing…

Further up the road, even more Banksy at the Lionel Gallery! This show had mostly prints and some pieces by other contemporary artists like KAWS, Hirst and of cause, Warhol. Here my big discovery was Spanish painter Yago Hortal: Loved his bold colours and abstract shapes… check him out!

I had a lot of fun just walking around and looking at what’s happening around me. And although there wasn’t a lot of Street Art out there, I at least spotted an Invader and a really psychedelic bike… I wonder how long it’s owner sampled the local mushroom offerings to come up with such a bold design! 

Let me sign off for now with this famous monkey: Who would have thought one day it would be in charge of the art world! Still, there is lots of other great things to see and do in Amsterdam, so keep your eyes peeled for Part 2 of my Dutch travelogue where I hit the local toy and record shops!

Still Here: A Decade of Lazarides

Yes, I am still struggling to take good shots in dim light conditions! Then again, this picture really captures the frenzy that ensued once Lazarides opened it’s doors for it’s 10th Anniversary show at their gallery in Rathbone Place in Central London. Pure mayhem!

Before I could even start checking out the show I needed to head to the freebie table to refill any depleted energy with bottles for Golden Lager and Streetart Marshmellows by Boomf. Tasty!

Recharged and ready for action I threw myself at the show which spread from the basement all the way up the the 3rd floor of the gallery! 

I really wonder if they put something special into the Bristol water supply as it’s uncanny how much this city contributed to global urban culture: Massive Attack, Portishead, Banksy, Nellee Hooper, Breakbeat Era and the one and only Mr Steve Lazarides!

Looking at the walls it becomes clear why Steve Lazarides get credited with being one of the major players in the urban art business: 3D, Aiko, Anthony Lister, Antony Micallef, Banksy, Brett Amory, Chloe Early, David Choe, Doug Foster, Faile, Frank Laws, Gary Taxali, Herbert Baglione, Hush, Ian Francis, Invader, Joe Rush, Jonathan Yeo, JR and many more represent the extensive scope of Lazarides art portfolio.

Pretty sure this is some new work by 3D of Massive Attack…

Seeing all this art on the wall reminded me of the heyday of Pictures On Walls, another one of Lazarides Art ventures. I still remeber the excitement buying my first ( and only ) #Banksy via POW and the queues that would form outside their print shop in Old Street. Their website is still up but I wonder if they release any new prints. 

Climbing up the stairs revealed some tasty #banksys… some of them from the very early days. I must say I prefer his prints to his canvases. I still remember being at his first show in London, upstairs at the Dragon Bar near Old Street Roundabout. An artwork was around £300 and apart from that amount being quite a lot of money for me back then the rats on white plain canvas just never really appealed to me. Ha! If I only knew back then what I know now… *sigh*

What can I say, with the latest investment into his business Lazarides is going from strength to strength!

Here is to the next 10 years…

Still Here: A Decade of Lazarides | 12.2.2016 – 24.3.2016

Wednesday–Saturday 11am–7pm. Admission is free.

Lazarides Gallery | 11 Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1HR

Neverended: End of the Line 10th Anniversary Show

February keeps on hammering me with great shows to go to! For two weeks EndoftheLine takes over the entire LondonNewcastle Project Space on Redchurch Street in the heart of Shoreditch with a massive retrospective of the last ten years of East London’s Graffiti, Street Art and Hip Hop scene. 

Matilda and Jim of End of the Line have been very busy the last 10 years organizing amazing art shows , running event spaces like the legendary Rockwell House and being at the core of the London Graffiti scene. Since I moved to London I kept bumping into the two when I wandered around in the East or popped into the Dragon Bar for a cold one. 

It’s great to see how far the two and EndoftheLine progressed in the last 10 years! 

Very impressive was also the scope of featured artists! Jim’s massive murals around London and running the UK side of the Graffiti Blockparty “Meeting of Styles” helped them to connect to the “Who is Who” of local and international Graffiti Writers and Street Artists: Will Barras, Mr Jago, Bom.k, Sowat, Faile, Tizer, Xenz, Sheone, Dan Chase, Ed Hicks, Rabodiga, 45RPM, Candy Lo, Imaone, Suiko, Zoer, Does, Odisy, Dr Zadok, Reeps, Dotmasters, Steff Plaetz and 123 Klan are just a few to mention…

Walking around the show made me feel like I jumped straight into the pages of an issue of VNA magazine! Loved it! My favorite pieces on show came from the always fantastic ROID, Faile, Terratag and Jim Vision who painted an apocalyptic wall that invited the visitor to become the Angel of the Apocalypse! Of cause I had to oblige…

End of the Line made sure that the visitors can immerse themselves in the world of Graffiti, Street Art and music with a series of pop up events the organized in the exhibition space as well. Planned are live art, life drawing classes, music showcases by the 5th Element Agency & Lyrix Organix, pop up feasts and live talks. Follow End of the Line on Facebook for the latest scoop on this!

So what else is there to say for the time being apart from encouraging everybody to check out the exhibition! I personally feel very inspired to hit the canvas myself again actually.

Oh, and they are running a small pop-up shop as well for the duration of the show featuring limited edition prints by many of the featured artists, collectibles and a selection of customized street furniture. Get involved!

Dismaland REDUX

I don’t know how he does it but somehow Banksy manages to stay ahead of the pack and makes his at times painfully obvious social critique still enduring and exciting. Maybe that’s because he always finds new ways to come up with exciting ways to present his artwork. 

I am thinking about his New York residency that created awesome stunts like the cuddly toy transporter or the budget art for sale. I am still amazed he managed to pull this off without getting busted…

Picking a run down English coastal town to take over a derelict Tropicana Seaside resort is just another stroke of genius. On my travels around England I was always fascinated by the environment of these places where a sense of dread clashes with amusement rides and cheap booze in the local pub.

So when the tickets got released for his latest collaborative show it was time to fire up Trainline, grab my travel companion Bob Motown and see what all the dismal is about!

It rained heavily on the day with a strong gale battering the installation… perfect weather then! What surprised me was the variety of people visiting: From hipsters, school kids, families with babies all the way to grandma and granddad in their walkers, everybody crawled the different exhibition spaces and queued orderly for Dismal Castle.

I am still amazed how Banksy managed to transcend the walls of Shoreditch and became the Street Art Sensation he is today, leaving a myriad of other stencilled depressed mice and Ronald McDonalds that tried to follow in his footsteps  in the dust.

But well done to him! Love it or hate it… I personally had a dismal time at Dismaland!

I wonder if Blek le rat got himself a ticket too?