Street art has been gaining ground more or less everywhere for some years now. It first appeared as a political and anti-establishment protest in the streets of New York in the seventies. Now, it’s welcomed into galleries and museums where it’s encountering growing success. Today, Street Art occupies a not-inconsiderable position in contemporary art.
In June 2014, Google launched a “Street Art Project” to list and preserve, in digital form, works of Street Art. Across the world, anyone can find these innately ephemeral pieces.
But let’s go back to the beginning, outside and on walls, when Street Art wanted just that, to treat the city like an open gallery, an open-air museum and to offer up pieces to the general public or to anyone with his eyes open.
Tags, grafs, stencils and stickers are creeping into everyday urban life. There’s a fine line between vandalism and works of art, and this art often proves controversial. So, it’s a question of entering into its universe, recognising the techniques and following its progression.
In Brussels, Street Art is the expression of a city in constant flux.
The capital has its stars and its symbolic figures. They include : Bonom, KoolKoor, the Farm Prod and Flagel collectives, the Crayons and the Space Invaders. They’re always experimenting with different approaches and techniques. Buildings, alleyways, cobblestoned streets, electricity terminals, … nothing escapes their desire to cheer up the city. Their form of expression is sometimes entertaining, sometimes surprising and, above all, affordable.
Bonom (Vincent Glowinski) is undoubtedly the most well known among them. Within a few years, he’s become a legend in Brussels as his large murals have appeared on the grey façades of the city. One by one, they’ve been home to curious animals and skeletons, who’ve suddenly sprung up overnight on the blind walls. A prehistoric animal running along the railway track, a fox running down a façade, a buffalo, a whale, an octopus, a giant spider ... all defying the police.
For more information about the artist www.bonom.be
Kool Koor is American, born in 1963 into a family of artists from the South Bronx. He has lived in Brussels for 20 years. A former comrade of Basquiat and Keith Haring, he started doing graffiti at the age of 13 in NYC, the place where the history of Street Art began. From the Bronx, to East Village then Soho, the “Graffiti connection” or “Graffiti writer”, Kool Koor is one of the most interesting artists representative of his generation.
For more information about the artist : http://koolkoor.wix.com
Farm Prod is a collective of Belgian and French artists based in Brussels and operating since 2003. The team gathers around ten visual artists influenced as much by street art as by contemporary art. The complementary nature of the members results in a variety of approaches.
For more information about the collective : www.facebook.com/FarmProd
Flagel is an artists’ collective that chooses the pure snow-covered beauty of place Flagey to express its talents ... when conditions allow ! Initially, there were four artists, long-standing friends, who created their first ephemeral piece of art in 2009. Since then, they’ve been joined by other friends in transforming the square into a work of art as soon as it’s covered in a powdery blanket of snow.
For more information about the collective : https://www.facebook.com/flagelba
Les crayons in Brussels : As you make your way down a back street or come to a junction, wall or façade, you’ll also find drawings of pencils more or less all over the city. These appear and disappear in various animated forms all over Brussels. The identity of the pencil-drawing graffiti artists is unknown. They’re said to be several individual artists originally, among whom a whole system of communication has developed and whose pencils reply to each other. But you never know beforehand where they’re going to pop up next, nor what form or colour they’ll be.
For more information about Les crayons : https://www.flickr.com/photos/ancatphil
Space Invaders : if you pay attention, you’ll also spot Space Invaders in Brussels. They’re a kind of little monster formed with mosaics in colours inspired by the eponymous video game and created by the French artist Invader. Invader has chalked up more than 80 cities he’s overrun, including 1000 Space Invaders in Paris and more than 2700 Space Invaders worldwide. This represents approximately 1,500,000 mosaic tiles stuck down in the streets. In Brussels, the artist has laid forty or so pieces in one week, something that he himself regards as a very good urban invasion score.
Space Invaders in Brussels : http://www.pinterest.com/iamdesigng/space-invader-a-bruxelles/
Museums and Galleries
Some galleries will also give you the chance to discover the work of Street Art artists :
MIMA (Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art)
The MIMA is a contemporary art Museum, unique of its kind in Europe, that will enable the public to explore a history of culture 2.0. The MIMA opens its doors in March 2016 along the Canal in Brussels, in a building of the former Bellevue breweries. The works of art it shows are deliberately free of partitions combining different worlds freely: music cultures (punk-rock, electro, hip hop, folk...), graphics (graphic art, illustration, design), sports (skateboarding, surfing, extreme sports), the arts (cinema, plastic art, performance, comic strip, tattoo, fashion design) and urban art (graffiti, street art). Stemming essentially from “sub-cultures,” such as street art, skateboarding, and graphic art, the artists shown attain remarkable recognition, independently from the network of galleries and art centres.
Quai du Hainaut 41, 1080 Molenbeek-Saint-Jean
Wed > Sun : 10am to 6pm
T : +32 (0)472 61 03 51
The ALICE gallery represents artists from the subculture who mix the conventions specific to art, notably graffiti, street art, punk, skateboarding, advertising and video games. Their aesthetics illustrate a certain urban sensibility inherent in the Western world. An aesthetic appreciation that also comes in the form of T-shirts, CDs, stickers and other popular supports. The gallery also offers a fine selection of books and magazines on graphic arts.
Rue du Pays de Liège 4 Land van Luikstraatje - 1000 Brussels
Wed > Sat: 14h00 – 18h00
T: +32 (0)2 513 33 07
TheSK8room.com is a platform devoted exclusively to promoting, selling and producing art on skateboards. Through this original support, theSK8room.com gathers together artists from all backgrounds including Ryan McGinness, Jeff Koons, Banksy, Terry Richardson, Takashi Murakami, Juergen Teller, and Robert Longo. Thesk8room wants to make art accessible to everyone and give them the opportunity, by means of a skateboard, to have the work of a big-name contemporary artist in their home, like a real symbol of the modern age.
Rue van eyck 54, 1000 Brussels
T : + 0475 95 12 81
For more information about Street Art in Brussels and Belgium, please see also: