I ended my tour of Berlin street art at YAAM (Young and African Arts Market). It's a chill reggae beach bar on the banks of the River Spree. A little something for everyone on the streets of Berlin.
When the Berlin Wall came down in '89, there was a migration of artists (and others without much money) from West Berlin who moved into the abandoned buildings in East Berlin. This influx of young and creative squatters developed into an underground community. Many of them took to the streets and alleys at night to express themselves through public works of art. The tradition holds true today. A glimpse into the world of Berlin's urban art.
Public graffiti is illegal and punishable by fine or even prison time. Therefore, the artists only work at night. They need to be fast or risk being caught by the police. "Paste ups" allow the art to be done on paper at home, or in a studio space, then pasted up using rollers and brushes. Whereas spray paint might take a minimum of 15-20 minutes, paste ups usually take just 2-5 minutes. This makes a big difference when every minute counts.
Some of the art is political in nature, but others just enjoy the rush of getting their work seen. An artist may also use prior work to build off of, creating an ever-evolving landscape of urban expression. The paste ups also eventually wear away, revealing new canvas beneath.
The entire sides of buildings may serve as a canvas. Referred to as a "burner" these works are often created with the consent of the building owner. Illegal works in hard to reach locations are called "heaven spots" due to the danger involved, compounded by the need to work in the dark.
The artist called El Bocho was inspired by Little Lucy, a character from a popular Korean animated children's show. He uses the imagery throughout his work, often depicting her killing her cat in a number of creative ways.