Brexit Through The Gift Shop

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23rd June 2016 was a shit day for most of us Brits as this was the day that marked the UK’s decision to leave the E.U and thus officially creating Brexit. 

Fucking politics…

Anyway, the Brexit-inspired mural appeared on the wall of the derelict Castle Amusements building in Dover back in May this year, around the time of the general election, in which the Tories remained in power. Fucking politics.

To highlight the state of what is currently happening in the United Kingdom, the piece depicts a worker chiselling away a star from the European Union flag, oh the irony. The beautiful thing about this piece is not only its representation of the UK leaving the E.U, but also the fact that the building itself is actually cracking right underneath the worker and his chisel. A nice and subtle double meaning behind this masterpiece.

Today I took the journey from London to Dover to see the work for myself. Getting to Dover from St Prancas International is a straight forward journey and it will set you back about £40 for a return fare.

From St Pancras, you can either get a direct train into Dover Priory, otherwise you have to change at Ashford Int. The journey takes about 1 hour 40 minutes so it’s not too bad.

Once you get into Dover the Banksy is about a 12 minute walk from the station. Like most seaside towns in the country the place feels a bit run down and in need of some TLC. That said, it is rather picturesque down in Dover, so if you make the journey there leave yourself some time for a bit of a wonder around.

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In the town centre there’s some nice old buildings – if you like that sort of thing – and in the distance you can see the English Channel and the famous white cliffs.

Dover Town Hall [below] sits in the middle of a rather small town centre, which has a typical high street, you know, Carphone Warehouse, McDonald’s, Sports Direct, Boots and all of that. So don’t go there expecting a good shop, let’s put it that way.

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Dover Town Hall

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White Cliffs of Dover

Walking away from the town centre is the way to go if you want to see the Banksy. It’s on York Street and is in the direction of the seafront.

Once you’re heading the right way you’ll see it a mile off. This was the first new Banksy I’ve seen in over a year so once it was in sight I was getting goosebumps. There’s always something pretty special about finding work by the infamous Bristolian graffiti artist.

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Approaching Banksy’s mural on York Street

As soon as I got closer to the piece I was literally in awe. It is truly incredible. Not only is it in pretty much perfect condition, it’s also huge, which for me makes it one of the best Banky’s I’ve found to date. I also liked the fact I was the only one there taking photos and other than that the place was pretty desolate.

I took a ton of pictures, but still didn’t feel like I had taken enough. It felt like a great accomplishment seeing this work in person and I think that’s what it’s all about.

Here’s some snaps of the ‘Brexit’ Banksy:

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Unfortunately, due to the nature of the street art scene, nothing lasts forever. And especially not when it’s a Banksy as people will pay insane amounts of cash for them.

Not only that, this piece is on an old, derelict building that doesn’t look like it will be there much longer. There’s already talks that the work could be sold, which is a real shame in my opinion.

So my recommendation is get down to Dover and see it for yourself and appreciate this inspiring ‘Brexit’ mural by the one and only Banksy.

If you’ve got a minute head over to change.org and sign the petition to save this piece.

For further Banksy reading check out my other blog posts:

Banksy in NYC (New York)

Banky’s ‘The Drinker’ (London)

Banksy Hunting in LDN (London)

The one and only Banksy (Bristol) 

Dismaland Opens for Business (Banksy’s 2015 dystopian theme park)

Feel free to add comments and share your favourite street art/ artists.

Peace

X

 

 

 

 

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Brighton: sun, sea and street art

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Brighton & Hove, on England’s South Coast, is not just a popular place for families to go on their summer jollies; it’s a city that offers a lot for any urban art enthusiast. So much so, I decided to write a blog post dedicated to it. 

Brighton is a city that reminds me a lot of Bristol and East London, in a laid-back, independent coffee, vintage market, smells of weed, anti-establishment kind of way. Don’t get me wrong, there’s the standard Starbucks, Boots, Tesco Local-themed high street that we’re all used to, but mix that with coffee roasters like Small Batch and the quirky shops on North Laine and you’ll feel something quite unique about this town on the South Coast.

For me, Brighton cements itself as one of the best cities in the UK for street art and the sheer scale of the graffiti makes it comparable to Paris and Berlin. The likes of Banksy, Blek le Rat, RONE and Gary Stranger, to name a few, have all plied their trade in this seaside town.

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The narrow and winding streets down North Laine are well worth a look

North Laine is a pretty good place to start graffiti hunting in Brighton as the surrounding streets are plastered with colourful tagging, stencils and huge murals.

In typically British fashion it was pissing it down throughout my trip to the South Coast, but it didn’t spoil the urban art on offer:

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While strolling around the streets of Brighton I came across this old school camper van, which I feel says it all about the city and its culture:

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Up the top end of town and about a 10-15 minute walk from the seafront is Trafalgar Lane – a street not too dis-similar to the Rue Dénoyez in Paris, aka the graffiti street – where street art in any form is legal.

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Many backstreets in this part of Brighton strike a familiar theme, and from here, right down to the city centre each road and every road is worth walking down.

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I couldn’t really post about street art in Brighton without mentioning Banksy…

Back in 2004, the Bristolian street artist, sprayed the ‘Kissing Coppers’ piece on the side of the Prince Albert boozer in Brighton city centre, only for it to be sold-on for an astonishing amount. Ten years later, after same-sex marriage was legalised in the UK, the piece returned on the old and abandoned Astoria, though representatives of the graffiti-legend stated it was not his work this time round.

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Kissing Coppers on the Brighton Astoria

Whether Banksy returned to do this himself or not, I guess we’ll never know. However, I did find this a rather romantic aspect to the urban art scene (no pun intended).

And to make it even more interesting, when wondering through the city centre I stumbled upon a piece by Blek le Rat – a French street artist and pioneer of stencil graffiti (who claims ‘Banksy stole his style’). I found it quite compelling that the  Frenchman’s work was particularly unnoticed; it wasn’t covered in plexiglass, nor was it tagged over by someone else, in fact, there wasn’t even hoards of tourists frantically trying to get a picture of it. Yet, if this had been done by Banksy it would have been covered up by the building’s owners and sold to Brad Pitt or some other Hollywood celebrity by now.

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The stencil pioneer: Blek le Rat

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Blek le Rat meets the fish eye lens

Back in the city centre there’s some amazing existing artwork by RONE (an Australian-based street artist) and Gary Stranger (famous for his typographic pieces) that are well worth checking out:

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Classic, clean typography by Gary Stranger

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Stunning work by RONE

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I highly recommend a trip to Brighton, and even if you don’t like street art; who doesn’t like fish and chips, cheesy arcade games on the seafront, donuts and skinny dipping?!

Just don’t go in February…

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Check out my other blog posts for more pictures and guides to street art in the UK, including how to find the best Banksy’s in London.

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, please add comments, share your favourite pieces and add any info I’ve missed.

Peace x

 

Banksy’s ‘The Drinker’ is back

Over ten years ago, Banksy hit the streets of central London with his statue entitled ‘The Drinker’. This piece was then stolen by the artist under the name of AK47 back in 2004 (said to be valued at around £300,000) during an ongoing dispute with the Bristolian street artist.

Fast forward to 2015 and the highly talked about statue returns home, to a familiar spot just off Shaftesbury Avenue.

This is Banksy’s latest work (though in fact it’s almost 12 years old) to grace the streets of England’s capital, which is no stranger to some seminal art work by the infamous artist. The romance behind this piece makes it even more exciting to find.

Getting there: Head on the central line to Tottenham Court Road or Holborn and take a short walk to Shaftesbury Theatre.

It was great to finally find this piece, though it’s a shame that AK47 has made some slight amendments to it – renaming it to ‘The Stinker’ and adding a toilet seat. That said, this is street art, and this is what happens. Come back to London soon Banksy…

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What do you make of the new/ old Drinker statue by Banksy? Feel free to share your favourite Banksy pieces in the comments section!

Peace x

 

Paris est beautiful

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In light of the terrible events that have happened in Paris over the weekend (and earlier on this year) I wanted to write quick blog post highlighting how beautiful and incredible this city is. 

Why anyone wants to bring harm on the lives of the innocent is beyond me.

My thoughts go out to those who have lost loved ones and to the many affected by these acts of mindless violence. There is no place on our planet for inhumanity. I hope the rest of us can stick together and unite against extremism. Give peace a chance.

Paris is beautiful:

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One of the best restaurants in Paris. Proper Parisian cuisine.

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Je Suis Charlie tributes shot up all over Paris after the tragic Charlie Hedbo shooting in January.

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‘Beware of words’ by Ben 93.

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Beautiful work by street artist Seth overlooking Paris.

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Street art by C215 in Nationale

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Huge piece by OBEY in Nationale

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The stunning Pantheon

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Work by the famous Parisian street artist Invader

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A see of stunning white architecture

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I’m saddened again to hear about what’s happened in one of my favourite cities. Paris is such an incredible, multi-cultural and welcoming place and it’s shocking to hear the horror that has taken place. I hope the Parisians and the country of France remain strong and know that they have the rest of the world on their side.

#PrayForParis

Street art daily: East London vibes

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It’s been a while since my last blog post so here’s a quick one highlighting some of my favourite pieces in the east end of London Town. 

No matter how many times you take a wonder around the streets of Hackney and beyond, you’re always safe in the knowledge you’ll see work by the world’s best urban artists. There’s never a dull day in London, that’s for sure.

There’s some amazing new work in the east end at the minute, but here’s a ‘Thursday throwback’ to some of my faves. Apologies if I haven’t mentioned the artist (I do try credit artists when possible!).

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One of many pieces by the Belgian, ROA. This piece can be found just off Brick Lane.

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Another piece just off Brick Lane that’s been there for a year or so now. Not sure who it’s by but I love it.

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One of my favourite street artists, Stik, can be spotted all over East London and beyond.

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Stik adding value to this property at the top of the world famous Brick Lane.

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Sadly this UP street art has now disappeared from this wall on Old Street. Definitely up there with my favourite pieces of street art. Who Doesn’t love a Disney movie?

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Work by the incredibly talented VHILS. This skilled street artist carves his art into the building, leaving behind a stunning, life-like image. Not seen anything like this before. His work isn’t as common so when you find one, it’s worth admiring.

Do you have any favourite pieces of urban art in East London or any other cities? Share the street art love here. 

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments, share your favourite street art, and any info I’ve missed.

Peace x

Dismaland opens for business!

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“The fairytale is over, the world is sleepwalking towards climate catastrophe, maybe all that escapism will have to wait.” – Banksy

The wait for Banksy’s latest exhibition is finally over as Dismaland opened to the public on Saturday 23rd August. If you’re a Banksy obsessive like me this event is a must!

The Bristolian street artist (and his PR crew) built up so much hype over the event that six million crazed fans crashed the Dismaland website on Friday trying to get hold of a £3 ticket. I was one of those fans attempting to get a ticket as soon as Friday dawned at midnight.

After trying my luck for an hour or so I realised that nothing was actually happening on the website and gave in. I was checking Twitter simultaneously at this point and it seemed it wasn’t just me staring at a JPEG of a calendar.

I thought to myself, would Banksy really allow for such organisation with one of his events, or is this all just part of his genius plan? I believe in the latter.

The website has since apologised to people who tried to get tickets and states they will go on sale on Tuesday 25th August – we shall see…

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I was already in Bristol on the opening weekend on Dismaland as I was visiting some of my old work mates for a bit of a piss up. So as news broke through the week that Banksy was in town I knew I had to make it. After trying, and failing to buy tickets online (and becoming part of the dismal experience) I decided on Dismaland’s opening day I would head over to Weston-Super-Mare anyway and have a look, and maybe have an ice cream and build a sandcastle on the beach too.

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Approaching the seafront in Weston-Super-Mare

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The view from the front

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My first glance of Dismaland!

As I walked down the seafront I could see the Cinderella Castle in the distance. Now my only hope was buying a ticket (if they even existed?!) and getting into the Bemusement Park. I joined the rather huge queue at around 11:30, it was massive. There must have been at least 1,000 people there already.

I didn’t let that put me off and took my place at the back of the queue, and was slowly joined by more and more eager Banksy fans. To be fair the queue moved down quicker than I expected which made it a little less dismal.

This is what my three hour queueing experience looked like:

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This is what the queue looked like at 11:15 on the opening day…

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An hour in and the ticket office was getting closer. As you can see it was a classic British summer day.

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13:00 and my £3 ticket was in spitting distance

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The best three notes I’ve ever spent!

At last, I had my ticket. There was just another hour and a half of queueing to go…

For those who want to buy more than one wristband, or a ticket for another day from the ticket office, you can’t. Nor can you take in pens (so no tagging over Banksy’s work). After purchasing my ticket I joined the back of another massive queue. The Weston-Super-Mare sun came out for the second part of my queuing extravaganza and I was sweating my tits off. My neck is now ridiculously sunburnt. When you’re British you just can’t win; it’s either too hot, or too cold.

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Just after one o’clock and almost two hours into my Dismaland experience I was almost there…

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14:00 and I found myself in the next group to go into Dimsaland!

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After three hours queuing and standing around in the sweltering sun, the time had come for me to enter Dismaland.

The experience wasn’t just about the creations of Banksy and the 50 other artists (including Damien Hirst), the staff also added to the truly dismal atmosphere. Walking through security the staff mocked everyone and did their best to make it as uncomfortable as possible.

The guy on the entrance mocked my moustache and appearance in general. I was pretty hungover that day so I was expecting something. Before entering Dismaland you have to go through Banksy’s security checkpoint where the ‘guards’ ask you a series of questions and set the scene for what’s to come.

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After surviving the security interrogation I was free to enter the Bemusement Park! When you enter the park you’re greeted by someone handing out brochures, which you have to really pull to get out of their hands! The staff are all about being dismal, from the expressions on their faces to their attitudes, and it’s all part of the Dismaland experience.

Dismaland is fucking amazing! And I’m going to give it a very dismal 10 out of 10. 

It was like walking into Banksy’s mind and at points I didn’t know whether it was real or if I was still dreaming.

Dismaland is worth the hype, it’s worth the wait and I feel privileged I got to experience it on the day it opened to the public.

Here’s some of my favourite bits from Dismaland:

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Cinderella’s Castle: Here’s one for you Disney fans!

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Exit-through-the-giftshop Punch-and-Judy Selfie-hole Puppets Police-van2 Sand-castle-1 Horse Ferris-wheel Being-British Boat David-Cameron Lorry-sculpture- Stencil Migrant-boat Topple-the-anvil Cinderalla's-cart Winning Sandpit Whale Terrorists Exit-sign

Dismaland was as dark as it was inspiring, and as bleak as it was beautiful. Banksy, we salute you.

Did you make it to Dismaland this weekend or are you planning to go soon? Share your thoughts and dismal experience with me!

Follow me on Instagram:  @rickmacmacca | @loveeastlondon | @black_and_white_ldn

Peace x

Street art daily: day eleven

STREET ART SKULLS

Everyone loves a skull, right? Whether you’re an artist, a tattooist or a bit of an alternative – skulls are very much anti-establishment and against the mainstream.

They look just as good as a tattoo as they do on the wall of a building. With that in mind, here are some of my favourite street art skulls:

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Skull by Alexis Diaz – just off Brick Lane – a few minutes from the Cereal Killer Cafe!

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Work by #EDMX in Camden

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Another piece by Alexis Diaz, this time with the help of Borondo.

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Hanbury Street: Skull by DesX.

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Artist not known: please add if you do!

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Artist not known: please add if you do!

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AMAZING! Colourful skulls on Brick Lane by @fanakapan.

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Artist not known: please add if you do!

What’s your favourite skull street art in London? 

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments and share your favourite London street art.

And follow me on Instagram @rickmacmacca, @loveeastlondon, @black_and_white_ldn!

Peace x

Street art daily: day ten

Camden Town, London.

Camden is the hub for all things alternative and it’s one of London’s major attractions for those looking for something a bit different to Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament and The London Eye. 

Like Shoreditch, and East London in general, Camden is becoming an top spot for street artists from all over the world to ply their trade. Just minutes from the tube station there’s some amazing murals to be found by the likes of Jimmy C, Otto Schade, Irony and Boe and Dan Kitchener (and many more).

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Work by the unmistakable Brazilian, Cranio.

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And here he is again!

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Beautiful work by Dan Kitchener

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Work by Himbad

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Camden really is ‘home street (art) home’.

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Piranha’s made out of rolled up cash. Maybe that’s an interesting look on our government? Work by Irony and Airborne Mark.

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This is an absolutely incredible piece by Jimmy C. It’s worthy of any gallery and yet we have his work on the streets of London for free.

Much of the street art in this post is in an area in Camden soon to be demolished and turned into accommodation (with extortionate rent no doubt), so get down to Camden and explore the streets instead of the markets for a change. You never know, you might just like what you see.

Where do you think is the best area for street art in London? Is Camden better than Shoreditch?

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments and share your favourite London street art.

And follow me on Instagram @rickmacmacca!

Peace x

Street art daily: day seven

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STREET ART SUNDAY

If you’re looking for a cheap street art retreat look no further than Berlin. Not only is the German capital the home to some of the most incredible urban art I’ve ever seen, it’s easily the best place I’ve ever been, too. I went for a week back in May 2013 and I still can’t get over how good it was. I need to live there.

The history on its own is enough to make anyone want to visit. There’s the Olympic Stadium, built by the Nazis in the 1930s, which is now home to the Bundesliga side, Hertha Berlin (it also held the 2013/14 Champions League Final). There’s Brandenburg Gate, The Reichstag, Berlin Zoo, The Holocaust Memorial, Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum (a concentration camp just north of the city, in Oranienburg), The Berlin Wall and as much currywurst and bratwurst as you can shake a few euros at.

Kreuzberg is the home of the hipster and Berliner’s just ooze ‘coolness’. The street art scene in Berlin is second to none, and just when you think you’ve seen the most incredible mural, you go down another street and see something even bigger and more amazing.

Here’s a few of my favourite pieces of street art in Berlin:

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Work by the Brazilian twins ‘Os Gemeos’. This was one of the first pieces of Street art I saw in Berlin, from then on I knew how good it was going to be. Look out for their collaboration with Banksy in ‘Banksy does NYC’.

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I love this – street art of street art. Recognise the Os Gemeos piece?

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This stunning mural can be found on the side of the East-Side Hotel, just opposite the Berlin Wall.

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‘The Pink Man’ by Italian street artist, Blu.

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This huge Russian doll-inspired is another fantastic example of the street art scene in Berlin. Not sure who the artist is, if you know please add in comments.

Sadly these last two pieces by the Italian artist, Blu, are no more (so I hear), but they’re definitely without a shadow of doubt the best pieces of urban art that I’ve seen.

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What do you think of the Berlin street art scene? Are there any better places to go in the world that match the German capital? 

As always, graffiti lovers & artists, add comments, share your favourite Berlin street art, and any info I’ve missed.

Peace x