The artist Nychos standing in front of a giant painting on a house wall

Art out of a can

That said, 400 square meter works are still a rarity. It is still not that long ago that graffiti and street art created by anonymous artists were seen as anything but art. Troops of painters would be dispatched to restore sad walls to their original state before the artistic interventions. These days, the creators of wall paintings in public spaces are celebrated as stars, and invited to pretty up moribund corners in cities all over the world. After all, “the true value of street art lies in the way it enhances an area and adds to a city’s attractiveness, while drawing attention to social ills.” These are the words of someone who knows what she is talking about: Katrin-Sophie Dworczak is the organizer and curator of the Cash, Cans & Candy festival and director of the Hilger NEXT gallery in the hip and happening Brotfabrik art cluster. She has already brought a number of international stars to Vienna such as Bumblebee (USA), Faile (USA), Faith47 (South Africa) and Stinkfish (Colombia), who have been making their mark on the city since the inaugural festival back in 2013.

In an interview with the Vienna Journal, big-name Austrian street artist Nychos confirms that the capital’s scene has come on in leaps and bounds: “Still, interest in urban art is only just beginning to take hold.” Pointing out that developments are slower in Vienna than other cities, Nychos notes: “The city has lots to offer aesthetically and architecturally, which means there just isn’t the same compulsion to create public art here as there is elsewhere.” “Slowly but surely, people are starting to open up and are enjoying a breath of fresh air. And about time too!”

Polar bears and pigeons

One of Nychos’ best-known works in Vienna, Dissection Of A Polar Bear, can be found in Knöllgasse in the tenth district. It only took him four days to complete the 400-square-meter artwork. Rabbit Eye Movement, his full service agency on Gumpendorfer Strasse, has a gallery, café, shop and creative center, and is one of only a handful of street-art hotspots in Vienna. Nychos, who has worked in 15 different cities worldwide and staged solo shows in New York, San Francisco, Singapore and Turin has dedicated his career to “raising awareness and bringing street artists together.”

With a considerable degree of success, by the looks of things. The days of shadowy masked figures creeping through the streets under cover of darkness, spray can in hand, ready to give the city’s walls a makeover, are long gone.

2004 saw the birth of Wiener Wand, an initiative that opened up 5,000 square meters of wall space in 15 different locations throughout the capital to budding street artists. Many of these walls, which are clearly marked with a pigeon symbol, can be found next to the Danube Canal. The banks of this city center waterway are a hotspot for street art and the graffiti scene. Here, youth subculture and street art rub shoulders with hip beach bars and restaurants.

Other impressive artworks can be found at Brotfabrik (tenth district), the Theresianum (fourth district), Naschmarkt (sixth district) and Westbahnhof, where the artists Cyrcle & Gaia and Cone The Weird have brightened up the multi-level car park both inside and out. The Graffiti Museum offers tours of the capital’s best Viennese street art locations. Meanwhile, murals created by art platform INOPERAbLE help the city to keep up appearances.

There is just one open question though: Who do these works of art actually belong to? Nychos explains: “Nobody and everybody. Which is why we create our works in public spaces. So that everyone has access to them.”

Text: Robert Seydel

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Brotfabrik Vienna (bread factory)

Absberggasse 27, 1100 Wien
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • no steps
    • Elevator available
      • 110 cm wide and 210 cm low , Door 90 cm wide
    • Further information
      • Seeing eye dogs allowed
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Comments

      Designated parking spaces for people with disabilities only on request at the individual institutions.

Galerie Hilger NEXT Wien 10 Stair III, 2nd floor

Absberggasse 27, 1100 Wien

Theresianum palace park

Favoritenstraße 15, 1040 Wien

Naschmarkt

Wienzeile, 1060 Wien

Westbahnhof

Europaplatz 2, 1150 Wien
  • Accessibility

    • Main entrance
      • no steps
    • Elevator available
    • Further information
      • Wheelchair accessible restroom available.
    • Special offers for people with disabilities

      Request for assistance on the platform for wheelchair users: tel. +43 (0)5 1717 menu item 5, e-mail: mobilitaetsservice@pv.oebb.at. Designated car boarding and alighting points for wheelchair users at the entrance on Europaplatz. Guidance system for the blind available throughout the station.

    • Comments

      The main entrance from Europaplatz into the newly designed train station hall and all platforms are wheelchair-accessible. Direct wheelchair access from the subway lines (U3 and U6) into the train station hall is also possible. Within BahnhofCity Wien West, elevators enable barrier-free access to all levels.
      All platforms are wheelchair accessible.

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