Bonn. The street art scene is more and more visible in Bonn. But graffiti is also damage to property.
Walking through the streets of Bonn you cannot help but notice the artistic motifs on public spaces around the city. The house fronts in the Bonn Altstadt seem to serve as a canvas for the local art scene. Often the street art has an important message behind it. The so-called ‘Banana Sprayer’ Thomas Baumgärtel has immortalised himself at the entrance to the Bonn Kunstmuseum (art museum). The famous banana motif by Andy Warhol can now been found in many museums, here in Germany as well as worldwide. Winston Churchill with his cigar, local portrait artist Jan Loh alias “Alle-mal-malen-Mann” and an aged Pippi Longstocking can also been seen adorning the buildings in Bonn.
Graffiti is very visible especially in the Altstadt. Some artists prefer to show their work here. The pictures are often critical of politics, the economy and society. There are also of course other pictures which are simply funny and nice to look at. Bonn street art has a strong message and can be interpreted in many different ways. Just as the artists intended.
Most street artists do not put their names on their works. This is because it is illegal to paint on public spaces. Many property owners view this type of art as vandalism and file a complaint. This is also the case for electricity boxes which are the property of the public utilities.
“Our society has been dealing with the problem of graffiti for many years. In the Nordstadt there is an accumulation of graffiti and we do not see it as an enrichment of our neighbourhood”, says Helmut Hergarten, Manager of Haus & Grund. These art works are “forced upon” the building owners and we should not have to accept them. Hergarten advises filing a complaint with the police in such cases of property damage.
But there are some types of street art which are not seen as vandalism. The so-called ‘Paste Ups’ by the artist 1zwo3 for example are stuck to wall with a brush and paste. He uses felt-tip to draw on paper and these pictures can be removed with warm water and are therefore popular amongst many street art supporters. The ‘Paste Ups’ are often only to be admired for a short period of time before they are removed by property owners or by art lovers. 1zwo3’s artwork can sometimes be seen at exhibitions at the Fabrik 45 on the Hochstadenring.
You can find more photos of Bonn street art at www.ga-bonn.de/streetart as well as on the Facebook page Streetart Bonn.
(Original text: Laura Torres, Translation: Caroline Payne)