By the time you read this, I will already be out gallivanting through New York City, Brooklyn and Queens, hunting Space Invaders, Banksys, Hanksys, Swoons, and many more of my favourite street artists. I am here for a month, housesitting in the Upper West Side. I end this year the way I began it: on my own terms, and travelling. I have never been more free.
And I win.
Enjoy some of my greatest goofy 2014 hits, in GIF form!
Rolling my eyes at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof, leaving Germany for the last time.
Dancing on the streets of Bonn.
Warsaw’s Palace of Culture and Science, built by… uh… Stalin.
The best Klezmer band in Brussels right outside my window!
(hit the volume button on the bottom right corner of the vid)
The Berlin eyes have it.
The ghosts in Shoreditch’s windows
Art imitates life imitates art.
Guns in Copenhagen are beating like hearts.
Brick Lane street art goes largely ignored. (It says, “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”)
Where’s the Space Invader?
I like to call this one, “Ew, I smell that, was that you?”
I like to call this one, “Oh is that really what you’re wearing? How… brave…”
I like to call this one, “Is that a bee or a fly?”
I like to call this one, “I just had a small stroke.”
How I talk to Cats (part 1), filmed whilst housesitting in London.
How I talk to Cats (part 2), filmed whilst housesitting in Copenhagen
How I talk to Cats (part 3), filmed whilst housesitting in Enkhuizen (the Netherlands)
Now let us go out of 2014 with a bang, just like we did in Paris…
Goodbye 2014. I hope I never see you again.
I didn’t include this photo in my Berlin Wall post because it deserves its own dedicated post. I found this Banksy on the East Side Gallery, and it’s an old piece of his: a monkey wearing a sandwich board that reads, “Laugh now but one day we’ll be in charge.”
Someone has added a stencil mocking him that says “Shut the fuck up.”
I didn’t have the time to post this when I was still in Copenhagen. I was walking along and I came across this Banksy piece from his parachuting-rat series. If you know Banksy like I do, you know that he hasn’t done one of these for YEARS, so this piece is extremely old and a rare find.
But how did I know it was a real Banksy and not some imitation?
Because it’s behind plexiglass.
The month that was….
So my time in Copenhagen is coming to an end. This past month feels more like an entire season, I have done so much in such a short period of time, it feels like I spent more than just 4 weeks here! I hung out in Dybbolsbro, Norrebro, Christianshavn, Vesterbro, Frederiksburg, Valby, Oosterbro, Charlottenlund, Lyngby and of course, Christiansborg!
And the things I did! As you see above, I hung out inside an 800-year-old tree, I saw some avant-garde Danish theatre (that came with English subtitles!), I was thrown into the mix during the Eurovision Song Contest (Conchita for the win!), I rode bicycles and boats, I stumbled over cobblestones, I ran in and out doorways to try to stay out of the rain, I ate SO MANY DANISHES (the pastry, you sickos), I photographed street art, I saw live jazz concerts, I made a bunch of new friends, and I got to see Nils Frahm TWICE in concert, the second time for free! See the pics below:
That’s how close I was. I could literally reach out and play his piano if I wanted to. I waited outside to get into this show for about…oh…4 hours! In the rain! So I was damn well gonna make sure I had a good spot.
It was weird though because for some reason, he didn’t have a sound engineer with him. So my friend Mads literally just stepped up to the plate and did his sound for him the entire time. It was hilarious.
And then he played “Says” live and I nearly died. I couldn’t make out where the piano ended and his fingertips began. It was a blur of movement and motion. I think I had my hand over my mouth the entire time. At the very end, he just rips the chord right out of the amplifier to end the song, and I almost fainted.
And of course, I climbed a spire that overlooks the city. Normally, when you climb a church spire, the stairwell is INSIDE the spire…. NOT IN COPENHAGEN!
And this is where I was living. Seriously.
It’s so hard to believe this is Copenhagen and not the French countryside like Bordeaux or Toulouse!
Edit: I just realized that in 2006, whilst in Copenhagen, on my way to Berlin, I wrote this post. Notice the similarities? FREEEEEAKY.
Now, as I pack my things and try my hand at a new city (Berlin, can you feel me yet?!), it’s important to remind myself why I am this insufferable yet affable nomad…. because life is too short to spend it all in one place.
I never seem to stay in a city for very long. Keep that in mind, guys — In your towns (and in your lives), I am always only just passing through.
See you in Berlin!
I had read a long time ago on some of my regular favourite street art blogs that Roa visited Copenhagen a few years ago, but I didn’t know where his work was, until the other day when I’m wandering around the Valby area and I look up and see a huge Roa curling around the spire of a converted church! (Now it’s an artists centre). WIN!
Look at that gorgeous dead thing! If you check out my Roa category, you’ll notice that Roa always does animals that are either in death, in decay, or fighting for survival. His work is a gorgeous depiction of the circle of life.
And then I walk around the side of the building, and there’s a huge Aryz mural just staring at me!
Look at those colours.
Look at that face.
Go go gadget Copenhagen.
As promised, here is the second instalment of my Copenhagen street art photo dump. The above mural of a woman cycling is exactly what Copenhagen is all about. Just like Amsterdam, everyone cycles here. The bike lanes are huge and dedicated, and the city is green. Love this.
In the last post, you saw a huge iron gun made my TEJN, the above is by TEJN as well. It was on the Louise Bridge in the Norrebro area of Copenhagen. It’s a peace sign that needs to be wound up…or locked up…whichever, it’s pretty sweet.
And this was across the street from the TEJN piece, again on the bridge. I don’t know if it’s commissioned by the city or the work of some secret artist. It says “The Earth Bears Your Mark” and then again in Danish underneath.
Hahaha. Run Nazi, Run!
Another Kid Acne that I found in the Dybbolsbro area.
That’s like the mantra of the mafia, or something.
Just like in the last post, more KissMama! “I hate my wife because I’m boring.” Yup, that’s every husband.
“Let me steal your heart.” YOU DAMN WELL BETTER.
It doesn’t need one either.
I can’t tell if that’s a man & a woman, two men, or two women. It doesn’t really matter. It has that Grecian feel to it, classically-cool.
“Street art isn’t dead, it’s only sleeping.”
This is by KissMama
The construction boards all around Copenhagen have provided unlimited canvases for the city’s street artists. Case in point, this gorgeous mural by Zed1.
This giant iron gun, chained to a mailbox, is by TEJN.
You can read Shepard’s account of the attack here.
This EuroTrash is pretty impressive.
Stop Graffiti? That’s so meta.
That heart above the pillar is made of guns that were taken off of the streets.
We want to live together
More to come!
I’ve been on the road for three weeks now, and I’m so glad I decided to throw off the shackles of suspended animation and stationary living that were cutting into my skin (In short, paying rent is for suckers). I’ve been a backpacker for nine years now, and even though I have been to so many places, and learned a lot, I always seem to discover new places and learn new things. So far all the cities on this journey are places I have been to/lived in before (Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and soon Berlin), but it’s hard to be bored in these cities. I’ve forsaken flying, and have been taking the delightful European trains like a civilized person. I’ve been Couchsurfing and house-sitting, which has allowed me to make new friends, snuggle with some snuggle-pets, and take the time to really explore without feeling rushed. My days consist of drinking sweet lattes, writing in my journal while sneaking glances at the pretty bearded hipster dudebro behind the counter, walking around a European metropolis in the sunshine, taking photographs of provocative street art and urban art, indulging in Pain au Chocolat’s without a trace of guilt, going to flea markets, spending hours at enthralling museums, rocking out to Nils Frahm, and partaking in SO MUCH EUROVISION (I had no idea when I came to Copenhagen that I’d be here at the same time as the Eurovision Song Contest, but boy has it been fun! Go Conchita go).
A friend of mine recently sent me this message:
I am forced to agree.
Here are some highlights and urban art from my travels this past month.
In Brussels, of course my first stop was the Jeu de Balle flea market to spend hours upon hours rummaging through boxes to find some love letters. Remember this? Anyway, I found 10 love letters written between a husband and wife from 1956-8 in Brussels. He was a military doctor and so he was stationed away from home quite often. Look at that lipstick kiss in the letter! They totally got it bad for each other. I also found a letter written during WWII (it’s undated but I’m guessing from the letters’ contents that it’s from about 1944) written between cousins about how “les sales boches” (aka The Nazis) have invaded Belgium and the family misses their homeland. They are in exile in an area of France that was not occupied by the Nazis and 12 family members are living in a small flat. The cousin writes to the other cousin, begging him to join her, saying, “we will make space on the mattress for you.”
I love you, Jeu de Balle.
Jef Aerosol has an ongoing exhibit just around the corner from Jeu de Balle.
Of course no trip to Amsterdam is complete without going hunting for a few Laser 314‘s 🙂
I also spent a great deal of time at Amsterdam’s Resistance Museum, and then following a map to all of the important locations in the city during the Nazi occupation, including where Jews had to buy their Star of David armbands, the theatre converted for mass deportations, the Carlton hotel that a war plane smashed into, the bombs that dropped on a home on the Herengracht, the air-raid shelters, and more. Highly recommended if you’re into WWII history like me
This is Laser’s nod to 1984.
When you take the train from Hamburg to Copenhagen, the train (which is only 4 small carriages) goes ONTO THE FERRY. No one ever believes me when I tell them this.
Ah, Copenhagen. I was last here in 2006 (read my post from that time here, and this post has all my photographs from back then). If I’m being honest, my memory of my time here in 2006 is rather hazy, so I’m glad I’m spending a good chunk of time here.
This is wonderful. An underwater sculpture in one of the canals.
The boats have to be careful, otherwise their propellers will be destroyed.
Hans Christian Andersen’s grave!
I swear, Copenhagen is filled with so much antiquity, and so few people, that sometimes, you can walk down a street, preserved in detail for 200 years, and wonder if you’ve stepped through time, without the presence of cars and technology to distract you.
I’m still in Copenhagen, so this section is a work in progress. More photographs to come! I have SO MUCH STREET ART TO SHARE!