It all began with Banksy from Bergen in Norway in the nineties. Today, paintings by Norwegian street artists have become popular collectibles. Learn more about Norwegian commercial street art.
“Street art is a new and young art direction that captures the modern zeitgeist. It points the finger at what does not work and is critical of society. The illegal aspect also makes it exciting,” explains a German art collector.
Many of Norway’s most recognized street artists come from Bergen – e.g. Dolk, AFG and TEG. The city has attracted street artists for many years, and you will find some really impressive works here, particularly in stencil art. Street artists actively contribute to the public debate – including the artist AFK whose works have been hotly debated in the city on numerous occasions.
It is not easy to define Street Art. Artists who receive this designation often themselves feel that they do not fall under the definition. The performers represent a diversity of people and expressions, as in all (sub)cultures. But we call it Street Art when we have to describe a work of art that we have seen on the street.
Street Art has its roots in the graffiti movement. Both forms of expression use the public space to display works without permission. In the nineties, Banksy made his mark as a graffiti artist in London. When he started using stencils on the eve of the turn of the millennium, street art had its final breakthrough.
At Gategalleriet in Bergen, you can see exhibitions and buy works by both well-known and less well-known (street) artists.
The book Street Art Norway states that there there is no limit to what techniques you can use. What the artists have in common is that everything is carried out on the street – in public space. Therefore it is difficult to publish a collection of Norwegian Street Art without offending someone. In the book, the editors have chosen to look at the phenomenon, precisely as a phenomenon, and present a diversity of artists and expressions that they believe people will appreciate.
Important players in street art are Swoon, Os Germeos, Brad Downey, Shepard Fairey (aka Obey), Blu, Zevs, Miss Van, Mark Jenkins, Influenza and Faile. Dolk from Bergen is considered Norway’s most promising street artist. He is often compared to Banksy and Ble le Rat. Other Norwegian names worth noting are Pøbel, Strøk, Muskelpust and Decline.
Stavanger hosts an annual Nuart Festival, which attracts the world’s top street artists. The festival was held for the first time in 2001, and Nuart is now considered one of the world’s leading street art festivals. Street art enthusiasts from all over the world attend exhibitions, events, performances and workshops at the festival.
This urban art form has received a lot of attention in Norway in recent years, and Norwegian Street Art has garnered a lot of recognition both nationally and internationally. The motivation and goals of these artists are as varied as the artists who practice the art form. The book Street Art Norway deals with the art form in Norway from its early beginnings in the 1990s up to today’s leading artists.
However, the street art community is divided when it comes to the commercial part. Successful artists claim that those who complain and hiss about the fact that street art has become salonfähig are the ones who are less successful.
Norwegian Commercial Street Art, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): Girl with balloon © Banksyshop