Art in unusal places

I was recently invited to the opening of an art residency at a hotel. The hotel was the Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel in London. The Art Movement, an art consultancy, has taken up residence in the hotel and will in their programme showcase some of the world’s finest contemporary artists within the hotel lobby and Lowndes Bar & Kitchen Restaurant. The first artist being Chuck Elliott. The aim being that guests can view the art and purchase. It’s intended to be a new way of displaying art as an alternative to a gallery. The Art Movement want to demystify the process of acquiring original art.

blast/first/fracturerefract by chuck elliott

Chuck Elliot Blast/FIRST/fractureRefract . Taken from artnet.com

I quite like this idea of creating new ‘art galleries’ accessible to people who maybe wouldn’t wander into an art gallery. I like it when art is accessible to all people, I think that is why I am so drawn and interested by graffiti and street art. It’s a way for people to express themselves on an open canvas to a wide audience and get them thinking. Street art is something that I always look for when I am abroad as it gives you another layer to the culture and the people of the country you are in.

Some of the many pieces of street art from San Jose

Some of the many pieces of street art from San Jose

Some of the many pieces of street art from San Jose

Some of the many pieces of street art from San Jose

Amazing use of space for art in Soweto

Amazing use of space for art in Soweto

One of my favourite cities for Street Art is Berlin. This is a city rich with art and it has a long history of expressing itself through art – just look at the East Side Gallery – the remnants of the Berlin Wall. It is showcase of politics, oppression, freedom and culture. Its one of my favourite galleries. But along with the wall, the streets and buildings of Berlin are littered with graffiti and art all showing different thoughts and feelings.

Its not only the East Side Gallery that show cases the artistic talents of the city but all surfaces, no matter their height. The sides of apartment buildings are painted to look like gardens, a wall full of sunflowers or words of expression.

Its not only the East Side Gallery that show cases the artistic talents of the city but all surfaces, no matter their height. The sides of apartment buildings are painted to look like gardens, a wall full of sunflowers or words of expression.

The East Side Gallery, the worlds longest open air art gallery.

The East Side Gallery, the worlds longest open air art gallery.

Of course here in London and the UK we are not short of street art. Just look at Banksy, he made a name from creating art, originally on the streets of Bristol, and then further a field. In the eyes of some he is just a graffiti artist or vandal while others are willing to pay millions for an original Banksy. Wandering around Bristol and spotting a Banksy is part of the fun of going to visit the lovely city.

Bristol Street Art

Bristol Street Art

Bristol Street Art

Bristol Street Art

Here in London of course we are spoilt… yes I am not going to deny it most of the graffiti out there is just tagging and pretty non descript but then you go to somewhere like Shoreditch which is starting to become like a living art gallery, around every corner is an artistic surprise, big and small. I follow quite a few people on Instagram but I particularly like following Anissa Helou as she is always putting up new pieces she finds wandering around Shoreditch – I can admire the art wherever I am thanks to her pictures! The art has become so popular that tours are popping up to show it all off.

Shoreditch art

Shoreditch Street Art

More recently I have been introduced to an art project in Cuba Fusterlandia,created by Jose Fuster, known as the Picasso of the Caribbean. As you enter the Havana suburb you are met by block after block of mosaic creations. It’s a suburb that has been turned into a living art project and encourages the inhabitants to express themselves through their houses, gates and gardens! This is definitely something that I am very excited to explore when I go to Cuba in January!

Stepping away from paint into the world of sculpture there are so many places that are now being used as galleries outside of the norm. I like the idea of sculpture parks, like the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail. Putting a piece of sculpture in the context of nature, where the elements can get to it. Of course this is not art you can buy but it can be appreciated, and your perception and feelings towards it are always going to be different depending on the weather. You are more likely to rush around when its cold and wet than if it was a warm sunny day where you can linger and explore all the aspects of it. Sculpture parks and walks allow you to go back time after time and experience the same things in different ways, something that isn’t really possible in a climate controlled museum or gallery.

P1020881 P1020900There is so much creativity out there that its hard to contain it all within the four walls of an art gallery – of course do not tell that to all those boutique private galleries that fill the streets of London and other cities a like trying to sell the wares of artists. As long as it isn’t hurting anyone I do not see a problem with using new spaces to express yourself through art. I hope to keep seeing art popping up in unusual places. I encourage you to go out and find art in unusal places. Find something and keep going back and see how the elements effect your perceptions of it. Go and explore art – I dare you!

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Berlin revisited

Berlin is one of my favourite cities, it is full of so much history, culture and art, plus the beer is pretty awesome! I was lucky enough to go out there for work last week and tagged on a couple of extra days to carry on my exploration. Berlin is a city that expresses itself. Its also a city that spent a great deal of time being defined by a wall, which has more recently become a show case for some rather spectacular art in the form of the East Side Gallery. Its using something that defined and divided a city for so long as a social platform that brings people together and teaches but also encourages expression.

Its not only the East Side Gallery that show cases the artistic talents of the city but all surfaces, no matter their height. The sides of apartment buildings are painted to look like gardens, a wall full of sunflowers or words of expression.

Its not only the East Side Gallery that showcases the artistic talents of the city but all surfaces, no matter their height. The sides of apartment buildings are painted to look like gardens, I saw a wall full of sunflowers orĀ  naked walls are used for words of expression.

This is a city that just keeps on producing, even outside restaurants art is given centre stage. This piece was on the wall next to a restaurant we wandered by, the bright colours lit up just caught my eye.

This is a city that just keeps on producing, even outside restaurants art is given centre stage. This piece was on the wall next to a restaurant we wandered by, the bright colours lit up just caught my eye.

Even under foot the city expresses itself through art. This very fancy man hole cover depicts the cities main attractions, such a cleaver idea!

Even under foot the city expresses itself through art. This very fancy man hole cover depicts the cities main attractions, such a cleaver idea!

One of my favourite things about Berlin is the Amplemann - the little green chap with a very cool hat on. He is a remnant of Berlins divided past and has over the last few years got himself a cult status. This photo just reminds me of how popular he has gotton - he has his own shop - the power of an image!

One of my favourite things about Berlin is the Ampelmann – the little green chap with a very cool hat on. He is a remnant of Berlins divided past and has over the last few years got himself a cult status. This photo just reminds me of how popular he has gotten – he has his own shop – the power of an image!

It would be hard to reminise about the art in Berlin without thinking about all the incredible art it has displayed on Museum Island. This particular image is a snapshot of the Ishtar gate, the gate way to Ancient Babylon. Its one of the most stunning piece of architecture and art.

It would be hard to reminisce about the art in Berlin without thinking about all the incredible art it has displayed on Museum Island. This particular image is a snapshot of the Ishtar gate, the gate way to Ancient Babylon. Its one of the most stunning piece of architecture and art.

 

Not exactly art, but it made me smile - who doesnt love cleaver word play.

Not exactly art, but it made me smile – who doesn’t love clever word play.

This wall was awash with art, so much is going on, from the complicated to the simple. This is a perfect example of the chaotic imagry you find around the city.

This wall was awash with art, so much is going on, from the complicated to the simple. This is a perfect example of the chaotic imagery you find around the city.

Perced just above the last image was this chap, is it an elephant, is it a mouse?

Perched just above the last image was this chap, is it an elephant, is it a mouse?

The East Side Gallery, the worlds longest open air art gallery.

The East Side Gallery, the worlds longest open air art gallery.

If you would like to see more examples of Berlins amazing street art, then Time Out has some great images, and this article on Smashing Magazine is a great piece. Alternatively, get yourself booked on a trip to Berlin!