10 Belgian Street Art Pieces of 2016 You Should Check Out
Stepping into 2017, 2016 was labelled as the year we will skip in future history lessons and this year seems to be our only hope. But, believe it or not, we are going to prove that 2016 was actually a good year! Not only when it comes to the local music scene (as you already know thanks to our weekly local hip-hop tracks lists), but also when it comes to our street art scene. To persuade you, we put together this convincing list of 10 Belgian street art pieces in our own country you should definitely check out!
The biggest highlights of last year were without a doubt the Sorry Not Sorry festival in Ghent, the Crystal Ship in Ostend, Meeting of Styles 2016 in Antwerp and Le Mur in Brussels. However, choices had to be made and works from all these events could not be featured. Choosing our top 10 was a tough call, since there is so much Belgian talent. But we got through it with a little help: our selection is not only based on the works' popularity on social media, but also on the opinion of Belgian street art photographers and enthusiasts. On top of that, we wanted to make sure you can go and visit these works that are located in public spaces. But don't wait too long, because street art can disappear as fast as it appeared!
CHASE X CITYKINGZ PROMO
Get 10% off on all graffiti and art supplies. Use discount code CHASE in the Citykingz webshop.
Best of 2016 Work by Roa Ostend, Belgium The highlight of spring this year had to be the @thcrstlshp festival in Ostend, Belgium . . #roa #thecrystalship #oostende #ostend #belgiumstreetart #streetartbelgium #streetart #streetartandgraffiti #globalstreetart #streetarteverywhere #art #artwork #streetartfestival #tv_streetart #rsa_graffiti #dsb_graff #dopeshotbro
ROA for the first edition of the Crystal Ship festival at Ostend
This masterpiece is undoubtedly the most popular Belgian street art work of 2016. Worldwide, ROA is truly the most recognized export ‘product’ of our Belgian street art scene - more specifically from Ghent. He is worldfamous for his gigantic murals with gritty black-and-white animals, in a poetical contrast with the urban landscape. This one is located on the corner of the Hofstraat and Platformstraat in Ostend. The Crystal Ship festival last summer also featured other Belgian artists like Jaune, Smates, Locatelli, Isaac Cordal and Pol Cosmo, as well as several famous international artists. Curious about the whereabouts of other works? Take a look at the map on their website or you can even book a street art tour!
Matthew Dawn’s 'After all strangers again' in Ghent
The second place goes to this hauntingly beautiful, but sad and relatable mural at the Dampoort in Ghent. Matthew Dawn is known for bright, colourful pieces with a sense of realism that is not often associated with graffiti. You should definitely keep an eye out for his work, as this Belgian artist is constantly technically improving himself and taking on more and bigger projects as his reputation builds up. For example, this year he successfully launched his tiny pink stencil cap project on kickstarter and now he is on a roll. So, don’t be(come) a stranger and follow him on social media!
This mural in Lier by Joachim and Nils Westergard
To say the least, Joachim is one of those Belgian street artists that left their mark on 2016. All year around, he relentlessly produced new murals (mostly in and around Antwerp) and he even organized his own street art project in Lier. This particular work is located in the Wijngaardstraat, as one of the twelve murals from that project. Joachim teamed up with Nils Westergard, a street artist with Belgian roots who lives in the USA (Richmond, Virginia) and produces work all over the world. Their styles are completely different and it’s amazing how the contrast between them successfully creates two visually complementary sides of the same story.
Dzia’s nut-munching squirrel at Groenendaal station
Dzia Krank is a well-known and respected street artist from Antwerp. Recently, he even designed the art on the album sleeve and on the record of 'The Gold Play' by Tangram records (featured on Chase here). His depicted animals are dynamically and almost organically composed of fragmented graphic lines combined with fresh colour choices. Actually, Dzia’s mammoths were the most popular on Instagram, but since their locations are a secret: the next best thing is this cute squirrel at the station of Groenendaal. At the same location, he also painted a fox ‘jumping for joy’, a bunny who’s ‘running for it’, a beautiful blue bird and a golden buzzard. So keep your eyes open when you’re passing through there!
Collab by PSO man and Solo Cink that popped up in Liège in November
Liège-based street artist PSO man worked together with Solo Cink at 'le hangar'. This skilled calligraffiti artist from Brussels reinterprets gothic letters, transforming them into the building blocks of geometric and colourful works that almost look like mandalas. An abstract context for PSO man's figures, which are always influenced by the foreign worlds he encounters on his travels. The boy is depicted with minimalistic traits, sitting in a toad-like position, and seems mesmerized by something 'offscreen' that is invisible to us. All of this while the alligator behind him seems suspiciously relaxed. Both artists welcome us into an experimental universe, where imagination and poetry go hand in hand.
Society burdens us with high expectations, while birds fly around in freedom. Wonderful wall by @__smok__ & @markgmehling for project Kroonjuwelen in Deurne. #streetart #streetartistry #streetarteverywhere #streetartofficial #streetartnews #streetartanarchy #thisisstreetart #urbanphotography #graffiti #streetartbelgium #streetartphotography #belgiumgraffiti #belgiumstreetart #streetartandgraffiti #dsb_graff #rsa_graffiti #tv_streetart #streetartrevolution #be_one_urbanart #graffiti_of_our_world #arteurbano #thisisantwerp #loveantwerp #deurne #society #birds
'Pigeons of Decay' by Smok & Mark Gmehling for Kroonjuwelen in Deurne
Antwerp-based street artist Smok has a true talent for making lively photorealistic murals of animals. In every piece the focus is on only one animal that is magnified, taken from its environment and placed in a whole-coloured vacuum. For this particular piece for Kroonjuwelen at the sportsclub ‘Klimzaal Wallstreet’ in Deurne, Smok teamed up with the German Mark Gmehling. The symbolical meaning of the work is about society’s high expectations. Obviously, pigeons don't need to worry about those things and can just roam (and poop) freely. So we're guessing, in the end, there will be nothing left but the ruins of our fat hands with broken index fingers and colourful poop all over them?
'The traveller always shines brighter in the sun' by A Squid Called Sebastian for Sorry Not Sorry in Ghent
Our own sunny traveller A Squid Called Sebastian was actually born in America, but are we happy that he moved to Belgium at a young age! These past months, he has been representing our country's street art talent in Mexico and Miami. Earlier this year he contributed this amazing wall at the Pierre de Geyterstraat to the “Sorry not sorry” festival by KAPOW in Ghent. Back in 2010 KAPOW started as a small festival, but it became the fundament for a new era of creative projects. “Sorry Not Sorry” is actually an all year round initiative consisting of murals, performances, artistic installations, music and a lot of ambience. If you want to see which other pieces were created for the festival, check out the convenient map on their website!
Children are the future. One of the walls that moved me the most this year, especially with the horrific conditions children in warzones live these days. Inspiring art by Bird @bramdeceurt #streetart #streetartistry #streetarteverywhere #streetartofficial #streetartnews #streetartanarchy #thisisstreetart #urbanphotography #graffiti #streetartbelgium #streetartphotography #belgiumgraffiti #belgiumstreetart #streetartandgraffiti #dsb_graff #rsa_graffiti #tv_streetart #streetartrevolution #be_one_urbanart #graffiti_of_our_world #thisisantwerp #loveantwerp #mural #visitantwerp #urbanstreetz #igersstreetart #children #inspiring #loves_united_belgium #ig_belgium
'All children have a right to social security' by BIRD in Deurne
BIRD a.k.a. Bram De Ceurt is an amateur photograher, who has a knack for bringing a sort of poetic fragility into socio-politically inspired murals. This one was painted in the summer at the Jos van Geenlaan in Deurne. Its title comes from the universal rights of the child, always a painfully relevant subject. Christmas and New Year are times for celebration, but the wars waging around the world don’t stop destroying their worlds, leaving them vulnerable and often forcing them to act grownup already at an early age. Even in seemingly normal households a lot of children are not sufficiently protected. It's about time we all reinforce these universal rights to protect our future generations! The artist promised that 2017 will bring more of these socially motivated works.
Ceepil’s distorted animals at the Grindbakken in Ghent
When in Ghent, you should certainly pay a visit to the Grindbakken (concrete gravel traps that the city built alongside Dok Noord after World War II). It's a true mecca for graffiti and street art, and there is always some exciting new work. The Ghent-based Ceepil is known for his colourful murals depicting animals and is going strong lately. As you may have noticed, quite a lot of street artists work around animals. Not only because it is such a visually rich subject, but also to bring back more nature in the urban sphere. Horses, rats, cats and even penguins are partly opened up by this artist. It shows some kind of inner wheelwork, as if they are robots. Meanwhile the image as a whole is fragmented and our view is distorted with colourful lines. It's almost as if someone went crazy on a photograph using photoshop to see how far he could take it.
A while back Ceepil painted three colourful jellyfish against a deep black background, which was an interesting exception and the work didn’t cease to amaze the public worldwide. We wanted to include this work in our list, but only twelve hours later the work vanished! The mural was located at the Werregarenstraat, another well-known place in Ghent where graffiti and street art are condoned and even encouraged. However, its view constantly changes as a consequence of street art's impermanent and spontaneous nature. When in town, you should definitely pay a visit to these two hotspots!
@mr_mong + @dermbadtaste in Antwerpen, Belgium for #mosbelgium #mosantwerpen #meetingofstylesbelgium #meetingofstyles2016 #meetingofstyles #mos2016 @int_meetingofstyles. #mrmong #dermbadtaste #derm #thebadtastecrew #streetartwerp #streetartantwerpen #antwerpenstreetart #streetartbelgium #belgiumgraffiti #belgiumstreetart #граффити_tschelovek #streetart #urbanart #graffiti #wallart #graffitiart #wallpainting #muralpainting #artederua #arteurbana #muralart #graffiticulture #streetart_daily #streetarteverywhere
Mr. Mong and Derm Badtaste for Meeting of Styles 2016 in Antwerp
As an international network of graffiti artists and supporters, Meeting of Styles organises events in over sixteen countries to promote and legitimize the art form. In August 2016 more than 120 artists were invited for the event at the Zomerfabriek in Antwerp. As part of the Kapow team in Ghent city, Mr. Mong is an illustrator at heart who enjoys bringing his talent to the streets. His favourite subjects are monkeys and girls with a pinch of rock ‘n’ roll, often in an humoristic way, while Derm as a member of his own “Bad Taste crew”, is obsessed with old machinery and touches less pleasant subjects like pollution and war. The two artists have teamed up together before, but this piece truly marks a peak in their teamwork thanks to their styles blending seamlessly. We felt like this amazing wall by Mr. Mong and Derm Badtaste for the Meeting Of Styles edition in Antwerp this year is oddly underrated, so we decided to include it in our top 10!
Even far beyond our borders, our Belgian street artists have been proving time and time again that #belgiansdoitbetter. But that’s material for a next list, so stay tuned!
All new articles
Trippie Redd is all about that versatile music & that versatile lifestyle
We met up with Trippie Redd at his hotel in London last week to talk about his music and himself as an artist. He opened up about his life and his experiences with depression. Click below to see the full interview. Interview & camera by Jay Bannister, edit by Eleni...
In primeur: bekijk de videoclip voor ‘Talking Backwards’ van JTOTHEC
JTOTHEC, de West-Vlaamse versie van Prince, speelde afgelopen vrijdag nog De Kreun in Kortrijk plat tijdens de releaseshow van de debuutplaat 'Somebody Had To Make This Record'. Nadat voorloper 'You Gotta Believe In You' meer dan vijftien weken lang in de A-rotatie op Radio 1 bleef, is het nu tijd...
JTOTHEC stelt track voor track zijn debuutplaat voor
West-Vlaming Jonas Casier draait al jarenlang mee in het Belgische funk-, soul- en hiphopcircuit. Eerst als tuntablist bij DJ Grazzhoppa's DJ Bigband, maar tegenwoordig ook met zijn eigen band: JTOTHEC (spreek uit als J to the C). Daar fungeert hij als frontman, bijgestaan door drie...
Listen to Roméo Elvis & Le Motel’s ‘Morale 2Luxe’ here
What can we say? Last year was, without a doubt, Roméo Elvis’ biggest year yet. The guy almost single-handedly brought Brussels’ blooming and booming rap scene into the mainstream and ended last year with no less than 5 Red Bull Elektropedia Awards. But Elvis is clearly not...
5 acts waarvoor je zeker naar Melt Festival in Duitsland moet
Waarom zou je in hemelsnaam op de trein, het vliegtuig, de bus of in de wagen springen om naar Melt festival in Duitsland te reizen? Wij selecteerden 5 acts die de moeite waard zijn om uit je luie zetel te klimmen en de reis naar het indrukwekkende Ferropolis terrein te maken...
Faffie: een jong kledingmerk om in de gaten te houden
Gent en creativiteit, het is al heel lang een match made in heaven. Wij hadden een babbel met Sofie Vandenbergh, een 22-jarige Aalsterse studente die nu al een tijdje in Gent woont. Ze combineert er haar studies met haar eigen kledingmerk en daarover mochten we haar...
WAWA, “we zijn allemaal jong en hongerig”
Wat kan je in Aalst nog meer vinden naast: mannen die zich drie dagen verkleden als oude vrouwen in combinatie met heel wat alcohol? Het antwoord is: heel wat jong talent! Eén van deze talenten die je zeker in de gaten moet houden, is de 17-jarige WAWA. Een...
5 Flemish YouTubers to keep an eye on
Youtube. It’s the perfect way to gather eternal fame on the internet these days. For the British and American creators, that is... We don’t see some Belgian kid becoming the next Logan Paul anytime soon, but never say never, because this country is full of talent!...
From Saint-Petersburg to Shanghai along the longest railway in the world.
According to American travelogue-ist Ian Frazier, Siberia is so big that it is almost more an idea than an actual place. European portrayal of the Orient is unmistakable fed by historical framing, ignorance and the fact that James Bond is always chasing a Lenin or Mao comrade. Intrigued by Chinese...
6 new Belgian Hip-Hop tracks you don’t want to miss
If you've been watching the skies the past week, you might have noticed there was exactly one day with actual refreshing sunlight. Those few rays of sun were just enough to inspire us for this list. Have a look, or should we say, have a listen. We present to...
Bird over zijn debuutalbum ‘Vogelvlucht’: “Blij dat ik zo lang gewacht heb om dit te droppen”
Toen Bird in 2014 'Klootzak met karakter' uitbracht onder SG Records, was dat onmiddelijk een schot in de roos. Ondertussen mogen we deze plaat als een Vlaamse rapklassieker beschouwen waarvan de teller al op bijna 200.000 plays staat, en het bezorgde hem de award van beste nieuwkomer op de Vlaamse Rap Awards....
Our 11 favourite Belgian hip hop tracks of 2017
This list is compiled by two members of the Chase music team. Raf Cyran, music producer, beatmaker and record label owner, and Mitchell Galle, owner of the Vlaams hip hop talent group, rapper and community manager for Red Bull Bekvechten, bring you their favourite Belgian tracks of the year. ...