Scandinavian Graffiti: How to Create Street Art at Home

Art: from the street and into the home

Once upon a time graffiti was a word for bad art or scribbles by unruly children on buildings in the rougher part of town or on train carriages. Graffiti was vandalism by an underclass, it was claimed, who didn’t know how to express themselves like artists and writers. That has all changed. In the Nordic countries, Scandinavian graffiti at home is on the hotlist for investors.

Is Graffiti Art expensive – how much does it cost?

Graffiti art is still affordable enough for new collectors. Dealers look for entry level pieces to help grow their art portfolio. Top graffiti artist, living or passed away, command prices in the millions for a canvas. And much of their work is reproduced on posters, mugs and t-towels.

See these Banksy photo prints for those who appreciate his art, but can’t afford an original. They’re sold here on Amazon. And when the ‘vandals’ started scribbling on smarter buildings in upmarket areas, people got scared. It could wipe thousands of pounds or dollars or kroners off the value of a property.

How ironic that today, when a Banksy piece suddenly appears on a wall, that property shoots up in value. Still today, the Scandinavians don’t quite appreciate graffiti as an art form as much as the Germans, British or Americans. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t there – there’s much graffiti around on the streets, even if it hasn’t quite been accepted into the home and onto the walls yet by the mainstream.

Old Scandi Graffiti – Viking Art and Scribbles on Stone

This despite our ancestors who were at the forefront of ‘tagging’. They scratched one-liners into stone walls. Going back to the Vikings 1,000 years ago, our ancestors then did the equivalent to today’s tagging. They spray painting in Istanbul, Athens and the Orkney Islands on the Scottish coast. Inscriptions inside the Maeshowe monument on the Orkney Islands, once Danish, is among the most famous runes in Europe.

An in Jelling, the small town on the Danish mainland, two equally famous stones feature writings from the 10th Century. However, both were raised and written by kings – Gorm the Old and his son Harald Bluetooth. The stones were left there for nearly a thousand years before they were covered by modern day graffiti and acid rain. Today they are properly protected by temperature controlled glass cages and are a major tourist attraction.

Scandinavian Graffiti at Home: Street Art as Protest

art or vandalism wall art in denmark graffiti

The dividing line between art and vandalism is getting ever thinner. Many people now treasure the sometimes beautiful, witty or thought provoking images being painted – often illegally – on walls. Above is a daring mural on the side of a building in Aarhus, the cultural city of Denmark (above political posters). Some will call it art, others will call it a crime.

This house in Aarhus, Denmark (below), has become a tourist attraction and hotspot for the selfie and Instagram generation. The contrast between an old, beautiful, modest house and the modern and aggressive graffiti art form is as stark as it gets.

Yet, it has been this way for years – the owners don’t seem to mind. Furthermore, the city of Aarhus is avant garden when it comes to art in Denmark – a European Capital of Culture in 2018. It is home to the superb Aros cultural centre, which features international and Scandi exhibitions by the most thrilling and innovative artists in the world.

house covered in graffiti in aarhus denmark scandinavian art
scandinavian graffiti at home – How to decorate your home with Street Art

Make your home more exciting with graffiti art. Granted, it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. But gone are the days when the only paintings you could respectfully have on your walls were portraits and ‘picture perfect’ oils and acrylics.

Abstract art has long been accepted, but with artists such as Michel Basquait – muse of iconic pop artist Andy Warhol – what was acceptable then as it is now. Lots of words, slogans, aggression and ugly images combined with clever slogans or poems were fashionable in the USA before Europe. And the trend went from fashionable to very expensive and to now being serious collector’s items.

Scandinavian Graffiti at home – Who are the Big Names?

One of the top names in Danish art is the provo conceptual artist Kristian von Hornsleth. He claims not to be able to paint, but he has strong social and political views and can come up with slogans, which he promotes through is art.

Below is one of his works produced while living in London – in the smarter area of Notting Hill. The west London address is home to hedge fund manager and art collectors… But Kristian produced a graffiti, now in our proud possession, called The Nothingne$$ of Nothing Hill. Divinely sarcastic and poetic.

graffiti art the nothingness of nothing hill by kristian hornsleth

A piece of graffiti art on the wall is bound to be a talking point in your home. Be bold and mix it up with old style furniture and accessories. The combination of old and new, conservative and avant garde is exciting. And if the painting is an inspiring piece of work you’ll never tire or looking at it.

Another artist doing well in the graffiti space is Danish Poul Pava. His child like scribbles and drawings and slogans are so popular they now appear on aprons, posters and mugs.

Most of Pava’s paintings look like the drawings of a five-year-old. Despite this he has become a household name in Denmark. There is hardly a home that doesn’t own a poster, a mug or a placemat for the children by Pava.

poul pava scandinavian graffiti painting in your home
Graffiti Art Exhibitions in Scandinavia – from the Street to the Museum

Tagging is a centuries old tradition and is today many young hopefuls’ entry into the art world. Bursting with ideas  and finding no other way to get their point of view across through words or images, they spray paint wherever they find the space. That’ll be on the side of a train, bridge or anywhere there’s a ‘canvas’, not always without risk to their own lives, a risk not worth taking.

Their language a unique way of communicating often full of energy – positive but more often angry, aggressive screaming. When graffiti artists move on to the bigger stage such as private galleries and museums, their original pieces increase in value. So effective is graffiti as an art form and increasingly as home decor, it is now often used in ads and commercials to sell products and ideas – reaching out to a younger audience.

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