29 June 2015

Run and roll

The Copenhagen mural bonanza continues. Besides the wired eagle mural by Dal East, this one hit me hard. I followed the progress, while zigzagging between the other five murals, and when I returned for the final result, I let out a big yell. Holding those in, is bad for you. Conor Harrington gives you an idea of what graffiti would have looked like in the 18th century.

Conor Harrington mural, Copenhagen

I got there in time to see the groundwork. The artist was off to fetch 12 liters of bottled water. I was later to understand why.

Conor Harrington mural, Copenhagen

Reference points. You can already tell, this is going to be good...

Conor Harrington mural, Copenhagen

Here is where the water comes in.

Conor Harrington mural, Copenhagen

Run and roll.

Conor Harrington mural, Copenhagen

Conor Harrington mural, Copenhagen
Conor Harrington mural, Copenhagen

Conor Harrington mural, Copenhagen

I get a secret kick out of shooting this with my small camera, while all the male photographers pull out their big.. equipment to compare. I know what kind of magic my beloved camera holds, you can keep your pointy hardware, guys.

Conor Harrington mural, Copenhagen

Mural overlooking a parking lot, in Tullinsgade on Vesterbro. Some old guy had the audacity to question this use of public space. To my face. I detonated on the spot, pointing to the parked cars: "Look at all this ugly metal, taking up our public space? You should drop to you knees and thank this artist for the contribution!". It's okay, you can go ahead and call me crazy, yelling lady.

Conor Harrington mural, Copenhagen

Thank you, Mr. Harrington!

More Conor Harrington:  
Instagram @conorsaysboom


24 June 2015

The perfect gift

Copenhagen has been graced with no less than six fantastic mural paintings. We used to have a tradition for this, both (beautiful) commercials and art, but it sort of died out. The occasion of the six murals, is Danish photographer Søren Solkær’s new book “Surface”, portraying street artists from around the world. I couldn’t possibly care less about the hype surrounding this project, for me it is all about the art. Roaring, temperamental art on a massive scale, reviving the public space, otherwise pimped out to advertisers.

I followed a few of the murals as they evolved, this post is all about the one that for so many reasons made the biggest impression on me. The big bird by Dal East.

Dal East mural, Copenhagen

First shot, note the greenery interacting with the bird. This is how it was planned. If you know even a little bit about how “green Copenhagen” works, you know what is coming...

Dal East mural, Copenhagen

Dal East working his magic mid-air, in short, precise bursts, one eye on the sketch.... pst...pst...pst.

Dal East mural, Copenhagen

This is obviously not something you sneak in and do at night without anyone noticing, as it takes a huge, noisy lift, and a couple of days to finish. So permission is properly asked and granted, before anything (I still love the idea of not asking anyone’s permission, ha!).

Dal East mural, Copenhagen

Calling the murals “public” may be a stretch as they are all on private properties and fenced in, but you can see most of them from the street. They are all concentrated on Vesterbro, two even on the same block. Lucky bastards.

During a break, I started talking to Dal East. It was supposed to be about him, but somehow we ended up talking about trees, and my fight to keep them around. He told me a story: An old Chinese man summoned his sons to his deathbed, and they asked if he had a final piece of advise for them. He told them to go to the kitchen and bring him all the chopsticks. First, he took one, and broke it in two. "Do you see how easy that was?" Then he took the whole bunch, and tried unsuccessfully to break them all. The point he was making to his sons was to stick together, this way they would be strong.

This is certainly true of citizens groups, uniting to save nature. Still get goosebumps from that story, oh. On the last day, I had the nerve to ask if I could take a ride in the lift, and get some good bird shots. My wish was granted. Fear of heights be damned, six stories up we went.

Dal East mural, Copenhagen

Dal East mural, Copenhagen

Dal East mural, Copenhagen

You know I am a sucker for the close-up's, I couldn't help myself. But I was reminded by the lift operator, that it was made to be watched from a distance. To me it is just as magic up close, tattoo good!

Dal East mural, Copenhagen

Flare positioned to match the sunset angle. Details matter.

And the final result. Notice anything missing, compared to the first shot?

Dal East mural, Copenhagen

Someone mistakenly thought that nature was obstructing the art, and cut the branches down. Classic Copenhagen.

As we passed this point Dal East, clearly touched, pointed to the window across the street and said: "look, how sweet". A small family with a fresh view of the magnificent bird, had pasted thank you notes to the window, gathered the children, and was waving and smiling.

Dal East mural, Copenhagen 

We love our new view, thank you!

A perfect picture of how grateful we all feel, for this gift to Copenhagen.

The mural is at Oehlenschlagersgade 76 (link to map).

21 June 2015

Silent Sunday, survivor




17 June 2015

Save the trees!

Friday I was alerted to notes stuck to the six big trees on Nørrebros Runddel, right next to Jagtvej 69, stating they were all about to be felled. Reason given: insufficient planting holes and old pruning damages. And while they are remaking the new Nørrebrogade, they would replace all the trees with young ones, in a few days. Architects and project planners like nothing better than starting fresh, and working from a clean slate.

Endangered Copenhagen tree

From my experience, they will say anything to justify felling. They will lie and call them sick or a danger to people. Blindly trusting this reason was not an option. With the support of the citizens in our tree group Red Byens Træer, we managed to raise a storm, and the mayor of trees reached out to let us know that he would look into it. What a cool move.

Doomed tree

The trees are being felled.

Træerne skal fældes

Favorite graffiti beast, looking horrified by the prospect of losing his leafy friends.

Five banners and two sleepless nights later, our mayor returned with the good news/bad news: We managed to save three magnificent old trees. One other was a so-called risk tree, the two others heading in that direction. I only aged with about ten years.

(Reads: Three endangered trees saved at the last moment) 


But it was totally worth it!

It was a good thing that it was cleared up so fast because the race is on to save another fourteen big, healthy Nørrebro trees that were also lied sick, in order to force a plan through. Just started my first petition today, to see if the citizens have a say in what happens to their own neighborhood. Fingers crossed. Look at these beautiful trees that my city wants to cut down.

Guldbergsgade endangered trees


When they come for your nature, you wake up and defend it. These trees clean the air, and absorb some of the particles from traffic that would otherwise go to our lungs, and stay there. And, we know that once nature is taken from the urban space, it is never returned. Another reason why we should not accept street trees being replaced in nearby parks. Oh, I could go on, haha. Here is a rare patch of un-fancified Copenhagen.

Right around the corner from this, is one of the most incredible murals I have ever laid eyes on. We had a handful of murals made by street art masters from all around the world, just last week. Coming soon on a blog near you.