Stockholm was not in a hurry to show us any street art.
Granted, coming to the city for business, we moved around a relatively contained area roughly within the 5km radius from Gamla Stan. Adding to the disappointment, 2017 Stockholm Street Festival, including Stockholm Urban Art event totally devoted to street art/graffiti scene, was scheduled on the same weekend we were leaving Sweden. Talking about bad luck, huh?
In a month we found just a few memorable pieces.
It seemed that unlike Montevideo or Sofia, Swedish capital is still in the process of building a relationship with street art. Perhaps, it’s not entirely unexpected since the city of Stockholm introduced a zero-tolerance policy against graffiti in 2007, a move that was harshly criticized and was called an attack on an art form and freedom of expression. Legal walls were prohibited, along with any activity that could encourage illegal painting or “vandalism.” Moreover, even art with a graffiti aesthetic was not allowed to be displayed in any public space. After a change of power in Stockholm’s government in 2014, politicians announced plans to introduce legislation that will allow art on the streets and will make Stockholm the city with the most legal walls in Europe. Fast forward three years later, anecdotally from what we heard and witnessed with our own eyes, the situation in Stockholm has improved. The legal walls exist now, huge murals adorn some buildings, and graffiti and street art pop up here and there around the city.
On one cloudy afternoon, our patience was rewarded with a fantastic find. We stumbled upon the newest epic mural in Södermalm. By the time we walked by, it was not even finished yet. The artists were still putting final touches.
Grey skies and a lack of proper camera marred first pictures. We had to come back to properly capture vibrant colors.
This is a remarkable artwork. The size, the colors, the details leave you speechless. Going through all intricate nuances – just look at the shoes or notice woman’s nails – could easily take an hour or more. And, if you are even slightly familiar with the street art scene, you would immediately recognize the unmistakable style of Os Gemeos, the immensely talented twin brothers from Brazil. This is their first work in Stockholm, a city that is just coming to terms with this type of happening given its strict regulation against graffiti and street art.
If you happen to visit Stockholm anytime soon, make sure to put aside some time to thoroughly enjoy this whimsical masterpiece. Here is its exact location:
The same little plaza that now hosts Os Gemeos mural has another interesting piece. First, it was a black-and-white pattern that caught my attention. A rectangular box – perhaps a postbox? – got a makeover. Aha! These cheerful little ghosts are practicing their line-dancing moves. The devil is in the details, however. Look closer, and you will notice what I am talking about.
Finally, it looked like Swedish capital decided to have mercy. In the course of four weeks, Stockholm showed us some hidden pieces of street art. One graffiti was concealed under a bridge, another was lurking in a park. I did my best trying to identified authors. Still, there are a few parentless pieces. If you recognize a work and know the artist, please. drop me a note – an email or a comment below – it would be great to put a name on every piece of street art. Thank you!
There are 2 artists behind GraffitiSthlm: Klive and Kaos. They have the aerial view of this giant Spiderman on their website. Due to the gigantic size of the mural, it was impossible to get a shot without any obstructions from the ground.
Stencils created by artist @hellstrom_streetart were seriously damaged, so better to check his Instagram account.
These days almost every street artist has an Instagram account and fairly active on social media. It was interesting to see their work on greater scale. In case you are curious too, I am listing them here:
- Hop Louie – @hoplouie
- Asvillain – @asvillain
- Os Gemeos – @osgemeos
- KP Klisterpeter – @kp_klisterpeter
- GraffitiSthlm – @graffitisthlm
- Arrow Street Art – @arrowstreetart
- Hellstrom Street Art – @hellstrom_streetart
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