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Street Art of Blu: Murals in Berlin and Lisbon

I stumbled upon Blu murals on my last two trips to Europe. While I love Blu’s mind-blowing wall-painting animations like Big Bang Big Boom and Muto, it’s cool to come upon his still images—and remnants of his animations—on facades around the world. Especially when you’re not looking for them…

City: Berlin // Neighborhood: Friedrichshain

A mural from across a parking lot. Here’s a time lapse video on how it was made.

The first mural, across the River Spree, taken from the Oberbaumbrücke.

A wider shot showing an adjacent mural.

 A closer view over a poster-strewn wall.

A massive pink man, made of many little men, hiding next to the Oberbaumbrücke.

The massive man of tiny men, up close.

Location: Lisbon // Metro Station: Picoas

Blu in LisbonA shot of a Blu-bombed building at Picoas Metro Station, on the yellow line, as part of a collaboration with OsGemeos for the Crono Festival. This video shows the project-in-process.

Zooming in on the facade.

Straw detail.

Imagery along the curved corner of the building.

A shot from below. Details under ledges.

More street art in Berlin:

More info on Lisbon:

Categories: art photography travel

Tagged as:

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Writer at Writing Through the Fog. Editor at Automattic.

142 replies

  1. I like how the murals make plain buildings come to life, especially if the buildings are in neighborhoods that are considered urban.
    Found this post through a post on street art that you commented. Nice to see fellow lovers of street art.

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  2. So glad I saw your post. Wonderful images of Blu murals. Really peaked my interest in photographing murals.

    Thanks and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

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  3. Amazing. Europe has some of the best Street Art. I find it beautiful but I wonder how most Europeans feel about their street art. What is the prevailing attitude?

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    1. Hey Charlie–
      You know, that’s a good question, and I’m sure the attitude and response depends on each city. But I don’t know the answer for Berlin and Lisbon. I love graffiti, street art, and flyer culture, but in Lisbon I actually thought a great deal of the “street art” I saw was ugly and took away from some of the neighborhoods. (The BLU stuff is an exception, of course!) Lots of mindless, illegible tagging and scribbles, for instance. (And it seemed to be a dirtier city than others, so that added to it, too.)

      But yeah–very good question. Makes me want to look this up and see if anyone has written about it.

      Cheers,
      Cheri

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  4. Congratulations on FP!
    These pics are simply amazing! Thank you for sharing!!
    I like them all, especially the big- man of mini-men and the man drinking from the earth. Well shot!

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    1. Hey Eleanor–

      So, I Googled the place in Oslo and came upon images of statues by Gustav Wigeland — one is a tall, lean column made of “many men,” and from what I see it looks like there’s a whole sculpture park by this person. I think this is what you’re referring to, eh?

      Very cool. Thanks for the note!

      –Cheri

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  5. Cheri, I was so inspired by your mural pictures in Europe, so I looked for something similar locally. It turned out that Philadelphia has a lot of murals to offer, and the city has really high quality murals in the center city. So I took a self-guided mural arts tour with a friend today and took a lot of pictures. Even though my pictures don’t look as artistic as yours, i was so happy that I had a chance to experience an aspect of Philly that I would never have thought of without stumbling to your blog.

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    1. Aw, that’s great — I’m so glad to hear that! I maintain this blog to document my travels and musings for primarily personal reasons, so when you say you were inspired by some of the work featured here, it makes me happy. I have not been to Philly yet — I’ve been meaning to visit a friend there for years, but haven’t gotten around to it. I’d no idea the city was full of murals — good to know. Thanks so much for your comment.

      Cheers,
      Cheri

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      1. You should definitely visit Philly when you’re back to the US. It is a dynamic city with a lot of public arts to offer. The murals are into depicting multiculturalism and US historical events and people because it is a program funded by the city. I will continue reading your blog for arts and traveling inspiration.

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  6. Blu’s work is amazing! Thanks for this post. I’m going to try to find more of this artist’s work online.

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  7. Great photos! Beautiful art in two cities I hold dear to my heart – thanks so much for posting and for hipping me to Blu. There’s so much to explore on your blog – keep up the great work and have a great weekend!

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  8. That wall art is awesome… I lived in Virginia and Seattle and there were giant murals of whales that were done by the same guy!

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  9. Nice art and nice of you to promote it but this post, like so many other blogs, is not based on your own work and has little of your own thoughts. It’s easy to post some photos. It requires effort (and talent) to write about and discuss them. Sadly, blogging is about posting frequently and trying to catch someone’s attention for 30 seconds. People view posts like this and soon forget them.

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    1. Hi there–
      I appreciate your straightforwardness, and take your criticism seriously, as I agree that many blogs are simply platforms for people to scrape content and images from other sources and regurgitate, alter, or present as their own. I totally admit this BLU post is one of my recent “lazy” posts — and believe me, I have a handful, as I’ve not felt inspired to write lately, and in the absence of a creative spark I look to my volume of photographs from my travels and do photo posts like this one, often with little of my own commentary.

      Yes, you are right: it requires little effort. So, I value your comments, and when I choose to highlight other writers’ or artists’ work in this way in the future, I will push myself to add something new to the equation.

      That said, from what you hint at — “It requires effort (and talent) to write…” — I feel you, likely a first-time visitor to my blog, are judging my entire body of work from this post. I always wonder how WordPress editors select Freshly Pressed posts, and if I were able to nominate a post for selection, this post would *not* be one of them! It doesn’t represent, truly, the writing I do and love. (I’m not saying I’m not grateful for the feature; I think it’s awesome it was selected.) I’d say 85% of the content on my blog is original nonfiction, memoir, and travel writing. But yes, I toss in colorful, fun, easy photography posts like this, too.

      If you are at all interested in the themes and ideas that I love writing about, select one of the Virtual Life; Life, Time, and Memory; Writing Life; or Love posts on my Top Posts page.

      Again, thanks for your feedback.

      –Cheri

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      1. Well handled :) Thanks for including the link, as I teach incarcerated teenage boys and use Art in the classroom as a way of inspiring them and keeping their attention. I hadn’t known of Blu or this clip (which I am going to now show them), so without your post not only I would be missing out, but my boys would be missing out too. Sometimes it’s okay to just share!

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        1. “Sometimes it’s okay to just share!” << I agree with this, too. Thank you! I'm glad you've found this post helpful for the work you do, and I think that's awesome you'll introduce BLU to your students. And what an interesting (and challenging, I'm assuming) line of work.

          Cheers,
          Cheri

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        2. Yes, that was a good response. Perhaps I was more annoyed at the many dumb responses like “Awesome!!!!” and “I love these images, so colourful and vibrant.” Reminds me of Twithead (Twitter). I wish you further success (whatever your goals and aspirations may be) in your blogging.

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  10. In addition to being fine art, some of the works were clearly intended to make a social statement, not too heavy-handed but obvious enough. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. *Extraordinary* post, Cheri! With 11 photos, you’ve settled the question I’ve asked many a time: “Is street art ‘art’?” Let’s hear it for a resounding YES!!! Thanks … and congrats on being Freshly Pressed. Well deserved!

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  12. Great shots. After having documented street art in my city for years, this makes me really jealous. The art is amazing. i really appreciate your perspective – both long and close-up shots. Nice work.

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  13. These are such great pictures! My wife is a long photography lover and I’m planning this day trip to the city (of Los Angeles) to take pictures… maybe not as good as these ones, but still.

    Thank you for sharing.

    -MTO

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  14. love love love this!!!!!
    the commentary that is being reflected in the work is so outstanding. It makes me miss Europe. Beautiful shots! and loved the close ups. I love being able to look at details, its something you rarely get unless youre there in person! thanks for sharing!!

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  15. okay duuuuh i feel retarded now, you posted the clip in your blog. nevermind. i’m so eager to get wordpress relevancy i didn’t even notice it before i commented.

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  16. The man made up of little men reminds me of Clive Barker’s short story, “In the Hills, the Cities.” Very ominous. Very cool.

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