All over Norway in the largest cities, but sometimes also in remote spots, you can witness a vast variety of walls and corners adorned with stunning street art. Norway is most known for its impressive fjords, glacier hiking, Aurora Borealis and much more. Norway’s thriving art community, however, is less known. Find out more about the jaw-dropping street art in Norway.
Norway is known for many things like its impressive glacier hiking, summer skiing, Aurora Borealis sightseeing, and much more. However, one thing most people aren’t aware of is Norway’s thriving art community. In addition to Norway’s wonderful museums, you should remember to look outside as well. Some of Norway’s most notable art can be seen on seemingly random buildings that have been used as canvases for the artwork.
Gained international recognition
For a long time, Norwegian cities had zero tolerance for street art and artists were punished with heavy fines. Today, however, the cities support street art and compete for becoming street art cities. Stavanger, for example, has become the home of the most impressive murals and graffiti art pieces in the world.
From an anonymous existence, the Norwegian street art movement has in recent years gained international recognition. If you have an interest in seeing a world-class alternative to traditional art, make sure you plan to find a selection of interesting and impressing street art in Norway.
Street art installations in Oslo
The first street art installation in Oslo started in the 90s in Brenneriveien.
In Oslo, you should definitively visit the vibrant and diverse neighborhood Tøyen. The first wall there, The Treasure Hunter by Chilean artist INTI, went up in 2012. Since then, many other artistes were invited to join the effort to transform the area into a colorful district.
The Norwegian artists Steffen Kverneland and Monica Tollnes painted a caricature image of famous artist Edvard Munch in front of the background from his iconic painting The Scream. Tøyen aims actually at becoming Scandinavia’s largest outdoor gallery before the Munch Museum there leaves for downtown Oslo in 2021.
The Finnish artist Jussi TwoSeven has put his talent of black and white artwork to create a majestic depiction of a realistic grey wolf face that covers the entire side of a multi-story building.
Two of Norway’s most recognized street artists are Martin Whatson and DOT DOT DOT. Whatson has been impressing audiences with his mixture of vibrant colors with black and white subject matter for many years. One of his most revered pieces is something unofficially known as the “Athletic Figure” depicting a ballerina that can be found on the side of a residential housing building in Oslo. It is a must-see for any art lover.
Amazing walls in Stavanger
Home to several amazing walls created by international and local public art practitioners and home to the NUART street art festival, Stavanger is another highlight. Pøbel is one of the most internationally recognized Norwegian street artists and Stavanger is his hometown. In Stavanger, make sure not to miss the “Deer” by the Portuguese street artist Bordalo II. His trade mark is to mix sculpture, trash-art and painting. Martin Whatson is also represented with black-and-white characters, juxtaposed with colorful graffiti and tags.
Related: Norway’s Capital of Street Art
Bergen has a lot to offer
In terms of street art, Bergen also has a lot to offer. Don’t miss the impressive piece “Laugh” by Norwegian artist AFK. This is a satire of a Jewish and a Muslim man laughing together while reading a copy of Charlie Hedbo. His art usually revolves around current events and this piece was created as a satirical response take on the Hebdo affair occurring in 2015.
Other recognized street artists from Bergen are Dolk, TEG and Argus. In 2000, contemporary artist Bansky came to Bergen and left behind several traces of his work on the city’s walls. Bergen municipality has washed away his work, as at that time there was no tolerance for graffiti and no one could have known how famous Bansky would become. Still, his art inspired the urban artists from Bergen and started a stencil art trend.
This year, Bergen has paid tribute to the late Ari Behn with a portrait. The portrait is painted on a wall by the old car inspection center in Fyllingsdalen in Bergen and is about 6 meters high and 15 meters wide. The street artist Tegson from Bergen and the two Spanish street artists Bisho Sevillano and Rochihiro are behind the painting.
“In many ways I believe Behn and street art go hand in hand,” says Øistein Jakobsen of StreetArt Bergen. “He was a visionary and a thinker. He was a breaker of the ordinary. That’s the essence of street art,” he adds.
“Ari Behn was colorful. I have followed his art for several years. In the artistic field he was an exciting person. It’s exciting with people who don’t follow the A4 standard. He made his own,” said Tegson to the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.
Outside the big cities
But street art can also be found outside the big cities. The street artists Dolk and Pøbel have decorated abandoned buildings in the Lofoten islands. It became one of the most talked-about art projects in Norway in the last decade. Other cities above the Arctic Circle that have become rich in urban art in recent years include Bodø and Vardø.
Far south in Norway in the town of Flekkefjord is an area called the Dutch Quarter (Hollenderbyen). There you can enjoy a rare mix of old, white wooden houses and colorful murals and pieces of graffiti.
If you have read so far, I’m sure you’re interested in street art. The examples above are only as small taste of what Norway has to offer. Make sure to book your trip to Norway to see these and other beautiful examples of street art in Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen, Flekkefjord, Lofoten and everywhere in between.
Feature image (on top): Street art in Stavanger. Artist: Fintan Magee. Photo by Brian Tallman for NUart
Jaw-dropping Street Art in Norway, written by Tor Kjolberg