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Art: from the street and into the home

Scandinavian Graffiti and How to Create Street Art at Home

by | Dec 5, 2019

Once upon a time graffiti was a word for bad art or scribbles by unruly children on buildings in the rough part of town. Or on the side of trains. Graffiti was vandalism committed by an underclass who didn’t know how to express themselves like artists and writers. That is all changing. Graffiti is now on the hotlist of art collectors looking for big investment and the next big thing.

Is Graffiti Art expensive – how much does it cost?

Graffiti art is still affordable enough for new collectors and dealers looking for entry level pieces to help grow their art portfolio. The price for a canvas by a top graffiti artist can get into the millions and their work is now reproduced on canvas and posters.

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

Still today, the Scandinavians have not accepted graffiti as an artform as much as their neighbours in Great Britain and Germany or people in the USA. 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 most people.

Old Scandi Graffiti – Viking Art and Scribbles on Stone

This despite our ancestores were at the forefront of ‘tagging’ and scratching one-liners in walls and stones and caves wherever they went in the world. Doing back to the Vikings 1,000 years ago, did the equivaliént to spray painted 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 mainlan, 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 eventually covered by modern day graffiti and acid rain. Today they are properly protected by temperature controlled glass cages and are a major tourist attraction.

graffiti art the nothingness of nothing hill by kristian hornsleth

Art or Vandalism – Street Art as Protest

The dividing line between art and vandalism is becoming ever thinner with many people now treasuring 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 main spot for the selfie and Instagram generation. The contrast between an old, beautiful, modest house and the modern and aggressive graffiti artform is as stark as it gets.

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

house covered in graffiti in aarhus denmark scandinavian art

Graffiti Art in your 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 and whose painting Big Shoes is shown above – what was acceptable and not changed. Lots of words, slogans, aggression and ugly images combined with clever slogans or poems became fashionable. And he trend went from fashionable to very expensive and to now being serious collector’s items.

Scandinavian Graffiti Artists – 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.

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 it’s 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, mugs…you name it.

From flogging pieces to friends and people scratching their heads at the oddness of his drawings – some of which look like the drawings of a five-year-old – Pava 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 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 artform 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.