44flavours is an art collective based in Kreuzberg – Berlin, consisting of Sebastian Bagge and Julio Rölle. Their work showcases a high level of knowledge of the diverse fields of art, by incorporating and rearranging them to bring their own visions to life. Growing up with graffiti and the derivative sample and remix culture of hip-hop, both artists developed their individual styles without the implicit limits of any specific medium – instead they exploited multiple media to support and best express their ideas and tastes at the moment of creation. 44flavours is not only synonymous with the strangely beautiful exhibitions, which frequently sprout up all over Europe, but also with a cutting edge Design Studio, which focuses on a very broad scope of graphic design, illustration and typography. 44flavours is still evolving in an environment of unlimited freedom and creativity. Their studio activity is dedicated to pushing skill, craft and conceptual knowledge to their ever widening limits.
My artistic work reflects my life as both a homo consumens and a woman in the Western world. I particularly like horror films which feature murderous female characters. I'm a fan of the Austrian philosopher Robert Pfaller, lyrics by PJ Harvey, advertising slogans etc., reproduced in drawings and text pieces using trendy materials such as glossy fabric, neon markers, LEDs, rhinestone, acrylic glass...
The barrage of media
Based on the idea of appropriation and pop art, I work with the aesthetic materials I find. The barrage of media contains such an abundance of intriguing things that I don't see any need to invent my own picture genres. I just adopt these ideas and present them in a new light. The viewer will recognise familiar ideas which have been changed.
Jim Avignon is a contemporary German pop artist and musician. He became a well respected cult figure in the Berlin art and techno subculture of the 1990s and kept this status to this day.
Jim Avignon started painting when he was 21 years old, first exhibiting in techno clubs. His ideas on art were very clear: "I'd rather sell a thousand images for one dollar, than one image for a thousand dollars." He demonstrated his commitment to this philosophy while exhibiting his work in Frankfurt in 1995: the public was invited to take any of the 800 originals on display home for free. Aptly, this exhibition was named "Get Rich With Art". At a 1992 exhibition in Kassel, Avignon created one painting each day, only to destroy it in the evening. A documentary called "Destroy Art Galleries" was made about the exhibition.
In 1990 he painted a mural on the East Side Gallery, to this day one of the last remaining stretches of the Berlin wall. He repainted his work in 2013, causing a veritable scandal being accused of the desecration of a monument.
Throughout the 1990s, Jim Avignon exhibited in a variety of underground galleries in Berlin and Frankfurt. In the mid-1990s he began to concentrate on music, but continued to design his own record covers, flyers and posters as well as backdrops for his shows.
Jim Avignon is a prolific, provocative and highly original artist who has published a number of books. Jim has done live paintings in a number of venues including the Institute of Contemporary Art in London.
His designs have appeared on Swatch watches and on the tail of an airplane.
For the Buddy Bear Berlin Show in 2001, he designed a bear located in a prominent place on the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin for more than a year. Later on Jim stole the bear, hid it for 12 years and had it reappear in the Art Village of Berlin Festival wearing a knitted mask, demonstrating solidarity with the then imprisoned Moscow punk band Pussy Riot.
For Arty Shop Jim Avignon contributes an exclusive silk print titled “Allee der Alphatiere” (Alley of the Alpha Animals) in an edition of 20 copies.
Want to know more? Visit the artist's website.
Matthias Beckmann is a Berlin based draughtsman. He is well known for his reportage drawing series made on the spot about the German Parliament, the hospital Charité, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Kunsthalle Bremen, the art museum S.M.A.K. in Ghent, Vietnamese life in Berlin-Lichtenberg, the work of Calixto Bieito at the Komische Oper Berlin, the Broadcasting Company Berlin-Brandenburg rbb, artists' studios in Berlin or the Romanesque churches in Cologne. He also works on animated films based on thousands of drawings.As a printmaker his favourite medium is etching because it is so spontaneous. The etchings presented here show his artistic and spiritual heroes Francis of Assisi, Albrecht Dürer, Adolph Menzel, E.T.A. Hoffmann and Jacques Tati. With a subtle sense of humour Matthias Beckmann uses the traditional religious form of the altarpiece with predella to honour his personal heroes. As a youngster Matthias, coming from a Catholic family background, was an altar server.His works can be found in the graphic collections of museums in Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Darmstadt, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Ghent, Haarlem, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Wuppertal etc. You will find further information on the artist's website: www.matthiasbeckmann.com
Ivan Beslic is a self-taught Croatian artist based in Düsseldorf, Germany. His work is defined by decisive strokes and a close kinship with his subjects. Beslic explores his surroundings to gather everyday observations that inform his art, which focuses on 90s hip-hop culture. He relies on the beats and rhythms of the musical genre to inspire his workflow and spark creativity. The 31-year-old sketches his portraits on Paper with a black marker. He then fleshes them out with a series of bold and colourful marker strokes that appear to reveal and conceal his subjects in a type of hide-and-seek with an urban graffiti aesthetic. The end product is reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh’s scratchy technique and Jackson Pollock’s emotional outpouring. Beslic explores the limits of colour to capture mood. His close-up portraits of 21st century men – including musicians Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, Guru, Ryan Leslie and Eminem, as well as NBA players – are not unlike Andy Warhol’s own series of the most influential personalities of his time. Beslic’s introspective coverage of hip-hop culture has led him to develop close relationships with the artists he depicts, who are also the proud owners of the portraits they inspired.
Tabea Blumenschein is a German artist, actress, director, designer and writer and one of 1980s West-Berlin most shining and prolific personalities. She played leading roles in movies like “Portrait of a Drinker” and became a star of the art scene. Tabea Blumenschein was or is friends with the writer Patricia Highsmith, the actor Udo Kier, the painter Martin Kippenberger and the artist Wolfgang Müller with whom she performed around the world in the band “Die Tödliche Doris”. Her current drawings can be described as “art brut type art”. In the manner of fashion design sketches she portraits beautiful sailors, androgynous Bavarians or Tahitian beauties with colorful felt-tip pens and combines these with comments.
Like her artwork? Get your motive of Tabea Blumenscheins edition "sailors, bavarians and tahitians" here!
Dave the Chimp
Dave the Chimp is an artist known mainly for his work on the street, but he is also a successful illustrator, publisher of fanzines, designer, writer, sculptor, cartoonist, and most recently, director. His characters are one of a kind and enable Dave to tell complex stories with a humorous twist with just a few strokes. He also has been riding skateboards for 30 years. Dave the Chimp has exhibited in more than 50 exhibitions worldwide alongside Banksy, Blu, Swoon, Os Gemeos, Miss Van, Shepard Fairey, and others, and has had solo shows in Italy, Germany and Luxembourg. His work has been published in over 30 books, on subjects from Architecture to Zines. A book solely of his work (Part of Rebellion 2) was published June 2009 by Publikat. Dave the Chimp was the first UK artist to create a skateboard shoe for Vans. His "Wake Up" shoe, released in 2008, was a full-on neon explosion in the usually subtle "artist shoe" world. He still loves to paint in the street and ride skateboards fast.
Emess’ work is most often motivated by political questions. Confronting theviewer with issues that would rather be swept under the rug, for which there are perhaps no clear answers or solutions but that need to be addressed. The use of humor and his sense of aesthetics catch the viewer off guard for a moment allowing attention to be drawn to the subject. Emess sees no difference between the street or the gallery space, his work is designed to reach an audience and adapts itself to the situation. His range of media goes from sculptural objects or large scale murals to woodcuts and delicate prints. - Alvaro Campo, Candyland
In his latest print series Emess borrows portraits of known personalities of customary bank notes and puts them in a new context to each other and to itself by a very poppy over-layering of silkscreen and stencil. Thus are confronted Che Guevara and JFK as well as Nelson Mandela and Muhammar Gaddhafi. One starts to realize how easily the line between rebel and dictator, between statesman and terrorist can be shifted, and above all how much this perception is depending on the respective cultural point of view and the actual political situation. In this serigrafie which encloses a total of 14 portraits and 108 unique prints the inscription "German workers!" takes relation on the xenophobic propaganda of the Nazis. This happens in accordance to the political posters by Klaus Staek and as a central theme picks out the change of national identity by a stronger and stronger globalizing job market.
Like his artwork? Get your Emess editions here!
Philip Grözinger is a Berlin based painter. His paintings show a liking for the absurd. Although disturbingly noire and dystopian on the first glance there is always a bit of irony embedded. His linocut prints show sinister worlds. The settings, with their post-apocalyptic atmosphere, are populated by comic-strip hybrid creatures and loaded with artifacts of an erstwhile civilization, whose inhabitants have left behind machinelike strongholds, burning skylines, and mysterious equipment. The artist’s motifs are derived from a recollection from 70s sifi-films like “Logans Run” and “Star Wars”. By picking motives from the 1970s pop culture, marked by skepticism and cultural criticism when it comes to looking into the future and integrating these motives into his own art works you might call these kind of retro-futur. Being a post-modern thinker though who knows about the ambivalence of Nitzschean pessimism and belief-in-progress optimism Grözinger always finds adds twist to his pictures avoiding simple unambiguity.
Picture by Thomas Dietze
IL-JIN 'ATEM' CHOI
Il-Jin Atem Choi is able to redefine our understanding of space through his works. Although he currently studies in Tobias Rehberger’s class at the renowned Städelschule in Frankfurt, his background in the graffiti scene appears to be always present. Il-Jin Atem Choi’s work coalesces architecture with scripture on paper and arranges the illusion of structural engineered typography. His major aim is to make tangible a narrative or physical sphere. To create this experience for the participant, Il-Jin Atem Choi uses different materials and cooperates with various artists as the work requires. The public space interventions vary from subtle to large scale installations or polychromatic murals. In practice Il-Jin Atem Choi investigates all opportunities to depict or rework the concept of space.
KLUB7 is an artist collective representing a fresh, handcrafted style bringing urban and indoor landscapes to life. Bound together by their background in the Urban Art and Graffiti scene, the six KLUB-members Dani Daphne, Diskorobot, Kid Cash, Lowskii, Mike Okay and Otto Baum have been working together since 1998. Each of them developing their own trademark style ranging from illustration to typography and from handcrafted to editorial. KLUB7 creates murals and illustrations in a collaborative group performance, always interacting with each other's skills. Based in Berlin and Halle, KLUB7 spread their style throughout the world, exhibiting and performing their artwork in cities such as NYC, Paris, Jerusalem and Amsterdam.
PlusMinus3 is an art collective of Dave Großmann, Hartmut Friedrich and Patrick Nitzsche. In a collaborative way they are working on abstract compositions in diverse contexts – from gallery sized formats up to murals of more than 200 metres. Their work can be seen as hybrids of three different styles, interacting with both: themselves and its surroundings. All three share an obsession for high contrasts between geometric shapes and organic materiality, which induces them to consistently search for new ideas and concepts to connect their individual handwritings. Their constant goal of those dialogues on painting surfaces is the highest possible suspense in between logical structure and intentional chaos – always under the influence of crucial elements such as coincidence, spontaneous responding and conceptual planning.
Poet (GFA) belongs to the most important graffiti writers of Berlin. For more than 25 years he has been active in the scene. He belongs to the second generation of European graffiti. Poet is one of the precursors of the culture who is still active to this day. You stumble over his traces throughout Berlin: tags, paste-ups, bombings and pieces. His presence is felt everywhere.
Poet does not stand still though, he still makes graffiti in the tradition of old school New York City, whilst always keeping a strong focus on a distinctive European street art identity. He has vastly broadend his repertoire over the last 25 years, for example, painting canvasses with his partner Arunski. These canvasses still use graffiti concepts as their starting point but the surface transcends and transforms into something new and independent. Together Arunski and Poet have also incited public happenings such as “Pennergold 1 – 3” (Hobo Gold 1-3) and documented these works on video. They address the social reality in the form of poverty in these videos. For Arty Shop Poet has made an exclusive silk print forming the title of it all: Party Arty.
RADICAL ADULTS PRODUCTION
Johannes Buss (1972) was born in Metelen, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. He studied fine arts in Enschede in the Netherlands, where he graduated with a bachelor degree in 1998. In 1997 he was at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver.
After his graduation he moved to Berlin in 1999 where he started of working with the collaborative art project HIGH END. They were invited a.o. to the Akademie der Kuenste Berlin and the Barbican Art Centre in London. Furthermore he was part of the artistic team for the art project Mindmapping in Frankfurt, Dresden and Berlin. In 2004 Buss was invited to be artist in residence at the Bag Factory in Johannesburg and in 2005 he joined the artists foundation Het Wilde Weten in Rotterdam for a working period of 3 months.
Radical Adults Productions
Since 2002 Buss produces works under this name. Crossing borders between art, design and scenography Buss creates work for different occasions. Showcases vary from exhibitions, theatre, set design and music festivals. He extracts existing media out of popular culture, politics and economics and alters and recombines them in form of installations, sculptural objects, and spatial design. Buss has exhibited a.o. at Barbican Art Centre London, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, the Badischer Kunstverein Karlsruhe, the Städtische Kunsthalle Lothringer 13 Munich and the German Embassy in London.
For a considerable time now I have been fascinated by the idea that art might, as Aby Warburg, a Jewish-German art historian and cultural theorist, suggested, be a sort of apotropaic magic formula, intended not only to turn away evil, but to reduce the gap between the dichotomy of frenetic emotional chaos and distanced, rational deliberations through the help of icons and artistic work.
I have fostered an interest in latency and dreams, these disturbing, but remote realms at the periphery of our lucid and radiant consciousness. I deal with our optimistic self-image that is so assured to stay on solid moral grounds, enlightened and beyond baser instincts, only to watch itself dash against the moral imperative it fabricated and shaped.
The Russian philosopher and literary critic Mikhail Bakthin locates the grotesque within the spirit of carnival, which distorts and defuses all that is terrible by the peoples’ triumphant laughter. He calls it a “game with the absurd”.
The grotesque realism, the artistic expression of the carnival spirit, wants to achieve new outlook on the world, to realize the relative nature of all that exists. The function of the grotesque realism is to transform our image of the world from the ‘ideal’ to the ‘ambiguity’ in order to distil a qualitative truth out of it. At the core of my work I deal with this relative nature of truth that is not clear-cut, radiant and heroic, but grotesque, ambiguous and down-to-earth.
Stohead’s artistic passion is to depict the art of writing, which is displayed throughout his oeuvre. Scripture transports information, provokes thoughts and emotions, which coalesce and are then permanently preserved on paper. However, scripture can turn into an aesthetic masterpiece when using the skill of calligraphy. It is this very process combined with the code of the streets that characterize Stohead’s creative work. These codes are composed of lyrics from songs, texts, and or keywords of relevant social issues decoded and organized by the artist. The arrangement diverts readability and leaves the beholder with the impact of colour figure, and shape. When the viewer starts to decipher the codes they will be confronted with subtitle references to socio-critical themes and poetical discourse in daily world affairs. The quite aggressive diction in Stohead’s calligraphies evolves from his disillusions, anger, and feelings toward a generation that is overburdened with technology. Stohead represents his cultural identity by seeking inspiration from the Hip-Hop and Punk music scene. He uses their urban vocabulary as a main source of inspiration for his work.
Born from nothing
Anton Unai is a painter and installation artist. His work is applied rapidly with force in an effort to show feelings and emotions of euphoria, disenchantment, satisfaction and defeat. Magic and mystery, ground zeroism, genesis, the lack of possibilities. His paintings are gesturally, non-geometrically with DIY brushes made out of shoes, boxing gloves, worker pads, sometimes dripping and throwing objects onto the canvas. In this sense you might call Unai a new expressionist.
A strong dependence on accidents and chances is a reoccurring technique of Unai. But it is actually highly super planned with precision. “I am concerned with adopting always dramatic, on the edge, violent as well as mystical states of consciousness. Usually there was no effort to represent subject matter. Not all work was abstract, nor was all work expressive, the spontaneity has released the creativity of an unconscious mind. The expressive method has to be considered as important as the painting itself... voilá.”
The physicality of the painting, the clotted dirty studio objects, dark and light surfaces are the key to understand the piece as an existential struggle.
VARIOUS & GOULD
The artist duo Various & Gould deals with socially prominent themes such as work, migration, (sexual) identity, death and the current financial crisis, in a playful, intuitive manner. Working in close collaboration since 2005, mutual passions that include their love of paper, enthusiasm for accidental beauty in everday life and art in urban space form the core of their artistic practice. Whilst methods of screenprinting and collage are their speciality, they have recently begun experimenting with public performance and installations.
Picture by Heiko Zahlmann
Heiko Zahlmanns art career started back in 1989 with graffiti. Over the years he has focused more and more on sublimating the aesthetics of that subculture into fine contemporary art. His current work is the result of a continuous process in which he has stripped away the form of the letters used to build the works, whilst reducing the vivid color of graffiti art to dual or monochromatic schemes. His concepts range from applying art to architecture and sculpture and from painting to drawing. The three-dimensional graphic and geometric works are transformed fonts which produce a haptic perception onto concrete walls in the form of reliefs or prints. In these reliefs, the wall itself becomes the medium. Zahlmann was born in and is currently based in Hamburg. He is working worldwide.