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The Street Art of Berlin

Blue woman graffiti in Berlin

A Photo Journal of the Graffiti from Germany's Capital Berlin has long been known for its counter-culture, including the music, art, and freedom of expression that comes with it. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, there was such an exodus of people from East Berlin to West Berlin that many buildings, warehouses, and homes were left abandoned. These spaces attracted squatters and low-income artists who made use of the countless fresh canvasses for street art and graffiti. As Berlin continues to grow into a booming metropolitan city in the international spotlight, the gentrification of past counter-culture hubs continues to increase as well. The Mitte district is now the center of the tourist zone. Kreuzberg is no longer just home to alternatives, underground raves, and punks. The neighborhood of Prenzlauerberg is now most known for modern design, hip cafés, and wine bars. But one thing continues to unite all of Berlin and the artists from around the world who continue to flock there: they love their street art. Here are some of my favorite captures of an incredible city and and its unquenchable desire to express itself within its own walls.

The gentrification of Mitte: the demolition and reconstruction of a reknowned squatter's hub and its street art gets set for a major face lift.

The alley next to Café Cinema near Hackescher Markt has become a hotspot for both street murals and art loving tourists.

Urban Spree Gallery and the Techno Warehouse district in Friedrichshain used to be the grounds for fixing trains and rail cars and was taken over by the counter culture in the 90's. Today, it is still a mecca for artists, spray painters (note the wall of spray cans) and a good time that'll last through morning.

The Astronaut of Kreuzberg has become of the most famous murals in Berlin, revered for its technique in freehanding such a large piece.

The East Side Gallery - a 1.3 km section of the Berlin wall - is an international memorial for freedom with a constant rotation of exhibits and murals.

Berlin even knows how to bring the street art to large festivals that come to town like Lollapalooza.

...and a trip to Berlin isn't complete without a sunset session atop Klunkerkranich and seeing their giant poodle balloon installation.

Impermanence is a beautiful thing - especially with street art that might get covered up or painted over the next day. An incredible thank you to all the talented artists who put their passion into art that is free for public to appreciate and enjoy.

Stay weird Berlin. Tchüss! -John Early *Write in the comments below, I'd love to hear which piece is your favorite!

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