Okay, Norway may not be the first country that springs to mind for the eager street art hunter. But you might be surprised.
Stavanger holds the world’s leading celebration of street art, Nuart, kicking off in only a week or so (September 10). It’s a festival with an international audience and line up that makes visiting the city an absolute must for street art buffs. I mean, C215 Aakash Nihalini, Mobstr, Phlegm, Vhils, Escif…you get the idea. It’s a big deal!
The capital Oslo may not have a festival of this sort, but if you know where to look there’s loads to see and plenty impressive work to spend a couple of days exploring. I had a look before going for any online tours and couldn’t find many, if any, so I put together this really manageable walk through some of the best streets for art.
Where to start?
There’s tagging and all sorts across the city (see below for an example), but to make the most of your time I’d recommend hanging around hip Grünerløkka. A lazy comparison can be made to parts of east London but there’s really a unique feel to the area, and far more relaxed than it’s UK cousin.
Use Thorvald Meyers gate as your reference point and branch out from there. There’s plenty of coffee shops and bars for refreshments if your legs can’t carry you all day, or that index finger develops a nasty blister from all the snapping.
Schous Plass and beyond
Jump off the tram at Schous Plass and head down the hill to check out two great artworks on your left hand side.
Most impressive being the piece above Platkovsky’s work at Korsgata crossroads. I actually can’t find out who the artist is, but it’s minimalistic design and use of parallel surfaces a distance apart makes for a great perspective piece. Bravo sir/madam…
Lying beneath is work from the Polish artist Platkovsky – whose abstract works inspired by urban architecture are to be found on this particular route, more on that shortly.
On this occasion it was obscured by some parked cars – so apologies for the close ups and a dodgy angled shot…
From there I took a wander down Markveien, and at number 56 there’s some more from our Polish friend Platkovsky. Tucked away in the entrance to a block of flats these bright coloured abstract pieces can be found across Grünerløkka and they’re pretty easy on the eyes!
Hausmania, Ingens Gate
Those among us who are self confessed Berlinophiles will be familiar with Tacheles, the squat-cum-artistic community that was based in the until recently abandoned building on Oranienburger Strasse.
Oslo kind of has a similar thing going on with Hausmania, branded a “self-governed cultural house”. Walking along the Akerselva river you can catch a glimpse of the place through the trees and some of the artwork on its walls. Quite difficult to get a good close up view of these pieces due to the river, but with a powerful enough lens you could get some good shots.
Blå, Blå, Blå…
The surrounding area by alternative music venue Blå is one of the highlights of Oslo’s street art offering. Every wall is covered, many by some top artists and a number of my favourite artists. This one below from Pez is a perfect example of his style…the nice guy on the bench isn’t bored by the painting though, surely it’s the book he’s reading?
While I visited there wa sa flea market happening (Sunday) so a few of the pieces were a little obscured, but the playful style of Zosen, an artist whose work I discovered on a recent trip to Barcelona caught my eye immediately. I’m an enormous fan of his style, reminiscent of the likes of Billy, Penfold and Malarky. Behind the second hand clothing and weed themes t-shirts and flags the work was still visible enough to appreciate!
Round to Brenneriveien
Nip through Ingens gate and onto Brenneriveien for a full street of some amazing work. Sheffield’s own Phlegm completed one of his signature monochrome murals here a few years ago and it’s still going strong.
Nestled alongside is a great mural from M-City. I don’t know a great deal about him, the extent of my knowledge that he comes from Gdynia (near Gdansk in Poland), he’s called Mariusz, and his work is sh*t hot.
Walking along this street is really worthwhile, there’s loads on display. A piece that caught my attention was the cool design to the Brenneriveien workshop and gallery in light pink and navy blue. Perhaps not that surprising given the workshop is home to some super talented artists.
Marius Johnsen‘s work from a couple of year’s ago stands strong above the street, this one entitled Is this what beauty looks like is an example of the overall theme of his work emphasising themes relating to the “medial impact on society and the individual’s perception of this”.
Plenty of other work around here thoigh, so make sure to leave enough time to explore. Here are just some examples that were up around the time of my visit…
Live long and prosper at Vulkan
When I visited I was making my way to Mathallen in the Vulkan district of Oslo, a really interesting development project on the banks of the Akerselva river once home to warehouses and heavy industry.
There were a couple of really nice organised pieces on the walk round showcasing some of the top class letter work on display in the area. Something really pleasing about how clean these examples are as well as the colour schemes that kept in mind the surroundings. They fit in and don’t fit in almost simultaneously…
Time to hit the Øl dusty trail
So by this stage, if you’re like me, the walking will have worked up an appetite for some local brews. With that in mind, make your way back round to Grünerløkka and catch a few more pieces before knocking back a few local specialities.
A collab between Platkovsky and FAK (not sure on this one) lies in wait on Stolmakergata and is worth one final detour to experience the two meeting of styles – abstract and character based art interacting nicely!
So that’s it for my Oslo tour – I’m sure I missed out plenty of other great spots, so if you have any other suggestions, post them below. I can see myself going back a few more times so really excited to hear about other spots. If you use my tour, let me know what you think, or if you spotted any other great art on the way around!