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Story by Katherine Martin Photos by Megan Smith


alking down any street in Berlin is like visiting an outdoor art gallery —


around every corner, another exhibit and more artists. Street artists have covered al- most every inch of free space, from build- ing walls to warehouses, in brightly colored paint and posters. Like the city itself, street art is changing.


It started as a way for artists who could not aff ord to exhibit their work in galleries to display their art and is now becoming more commercial. Lady Gaby Bila has been giving walking


art tours around the city for the past year. Bila said it was her idea to show visitors the thriving art scene that makes the city tick. “In Berlin, I have always been involved


10| ALPINE LIVING 2011


in the arts scene in one way or another, performing, going to concerts or being in- volved in projects,” Bila said. “Living in Ber- lin inspired me to become a performance artist.” Bila said street art has been popular in


Berlin since the 1980s when artists began painting on the Berlin Wall. What makes the city a popular place for


street art are the all the creative people that live there. “Berlin buildings can be very grey and


boring,” Bila said. “The street art gives it a very colorful and individual flair. Also, it stops the advertising and billboards popping up everywhere. Street art stops making Berlin a big city just like every other city.”


Berlin artist Dave the Chimp said street


art is popular in the city because there isn’t enough money for the graffi ti to be cleaned up.


Chimp said he started painting in the


streets over a decade ago because he didn’t see the point in making paintings in the studio when there were no opportunities to show in galleries. “Since it’s fun to paint, I fi gured I’d just do it outside instead,” he said. “T at way the work was on show without the hassles of dealing with galleries. Since moving to Berlin, I’ve continued to paint in the streets as it’s nice to have friends around every corner.” Chimp said he didn’t decide to become a street artist. T e label was forced upon him.


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