Mapping Street Art

Building Art
Although technically street art is illegal, it has become an art form in itself, to the point that some people are now decorating their own buildings/homes intentionally in this urban art style. The building above is an example of this, I believe. It’s along the northern part of the Oudegracht, outside the city center, just north of the Weerdsluis. I’m pretty sure this building was decorated like this by choice, otherwise, there must have been an impressively large, speedy group doing this!

Of course, not all street art is commissioned, but that doesn’t stop some of it from being truly fantastic. While Banksy is probably the best known street artist these days, there are plenty of people doing thought-provoking and visually interesting pieces. AVRO, a Dutch public broadcasting group that puts a lot of focus on art and culture, is putting together a map of some of the great street art of the Netherlands. So far, only one piece from Utrecht seems to be on the list. Hopefully more will be added, though. I suppose I should send them some photos!

Toot Toot


Utrecht’s Urban Gnome

For the past six years, a strange red-hatted kabouter (gnome) has been popping up in spots around Utrecht. Rather than showing up in 3D form in gardens, he shows up, instead, on walls and other flat surfaces. KBTR (Kabouter) is Utrecht’s most famous graffiti artist and has even been compared to Keith Haring.

There’s a website “by and for KBTR enthusiasts” and now there’s a book that will be released on October 27. The book, which features 160 full-color pages depicting some of the many appearances of the kabouter around town, is available in a limited run of 1000 copies and is only sold through Revenge, a concept-store at Vredenburg. There will be a special presentation of the book at the store on the 27th, from 17:00-20:00. There’s more information, in Dutch, on the Holland Streetart Flickr group.

I first came across the kabouter at the Griftpark, although I can’t say if they’re all originals or imitations. Still, I’ve since noticed them in other spots around town and always enjoy seeing them.