graffiti by C215 in Oslo - near Grønnland bussterminal

Those criminals!

graffiti on a wall Oslo

Graffiti is strictly forbidden in Oslo. Nulltoleranse – zero tolerance means that being a street artist is equally bad as stealing a car or selling drugs. There are a few walls (like five) where graffiti can be made legally in Oslo, but whether they should be removed is always a topic for discussion. Graffiti has a way of spreading from the legal walls to nearby buildings, which is much frowned upon. Most people who own buildings hate graffiti, while most taggers are teenagers with spray cans. Who do you think is winning that word war?

I’d personally vote to remove most tags in Oslo since they look like crap, but what else can I expect when the artists have no room to practise on their works before exposing my eyes to them? Or maybe I just don’t get their art? I also believe they have too little time to make anything impressive. I’ve heard that putting any kind of mark on Oslo (despite the strict control) gives credit in itself, no matter the quality of the product.

Anyhows! While I was in Amsterdam some wonderful paintings showed up in a rather dreary and grey passageway.

These are made by Alice Pasquini and Christian Guémy. Both are great artists who also work commercially. While searching them up I realized I have other works they’ve made in Oslo in my graffiti collection.

(PS: the last three images were shot around a year ago for Aktiv i Oslo)

Thanks for making my Oslo-walks prettier and more colourful 😉

More street art >>>

32 thoughts on “Those criminals!”

  1. I’m a huge fan of graffiti and do it myself whenever I can get permission. It’s tough to do legally, and garners a lot of hate either way. It doesn’t matter if it’s pretty or interesting, people still hate it. I don’t understand. I created something I thought was really beautiful and I got yelled at for it. It was an interesting experience. It’s not something you would ever encounter with gallery paintings, which are what I usually do.

    1. I guess it’s as Jeff says – beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I hope you tell more! Did someone really yell at you? What happened with the graffiti?

      1. Yeah I really did get yelled at. And the graffiti I did is still there. I should write a post about it! 😀

  2. if the norwegian’s law hits a killer who murdered dozens with just 21 years of jail, i wonder what’s the punishment for a graffiti on the wall. cleaning the courtyards or the public gardens? anything harder would be highly not proportional injustice 😉 nice ones, in amsterdam

      1. It’s 1000 euro fine first time you’re caught – for one tag/piece – if many illegal works get linked to you it gets more expensive. The cleaning expenses (through time) are added. In -94 an eighteen year old was fined 32000 euro for tagging. I can mention that its more than the study debt I’ll be paying for many, many years to come…

  3. It is strange to see the diversity of approach re graffiti / street-art from country / city to country / city. I live in London and graffiti is part of the local fabric; East London is like a live, giant and vibrant graffiti “exhibition hall”. People seem fine with it! I witnessed the same in Berlin and Brooklyn. On the other end, Paris…

    1. Oslo is really quite fascinating in the way graffiti’s been criminalized since it first arrived in the 80s. I actually wrote my bachelor paper about it 😛

  4. Yes, sometimes there are really great works . Pity that they are in minority . Mostly walls ( everywhere ) are just sprayed for the pleasure of disorder ….
    You have found a very nice examples.

  5. what a pity that graffitis are so strictly forbidden in oslo… graffitis make cities vivid and is important for the culture in a city (in my opinion). in vienna, fortunately, there are some places where everyone can spray anything… i’m always curious about the new ones, especially in spring 🙂
    great photos though, i saw a lot of awesome street art in amsterdam too, i think the best-known ones can be found in the spuistraat 🙂

    1. Yes, there was many awesome graffitis and walls in Amsterdam 😀 I found the area around Muiderpoort (in the east of the city) especially interesting… .. It still breaks my heart that all my Amsterdam-graffiti folder got lost when my hard drive crashed 😦

    1. Art is a loose unverifiable, unfalsifiable, subjective category. There is no way of deciding what constitutes art and what doesn’t. I hate to break it to you, but those who defines themselves as artists like to think they are revolutionaries but they are simply working in a well established tradition implementing only minor changes to it.

      The point here is not defining what has to be considered Art, that would be a sterile and pointless discourse. The point is: is it acceptable to alter or modify other people property without their permission?

  6. It is a pity that graffiti is banned in so many places. In Basel (where I live) there are so many beautiful pictures on the walls. Even I have a picture just beside the entrance of my home. May be I will post it soon.

  7. Graffiti is like any other art form, subjective and the beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Sara, I must say I can certainly understand why people would be so upset over it. It is most often done on private property, without the owners permission. If someone tagged the door of your car, or the side of your house, regardless of how good it is I’m sure you’d be pretty upset. I know I would. I have to ask, the piece you thought was beautiful, was it done with permission?

  8. In my view, there are some paintings that just is to the painter can put his spot
    – but here are many beautiful paintings which lifts cityscape… 🙂

  9. It depends where and how it’s done. A nicely done graffiti can give a bit of colour and happiness to a dull grey car park wall. An idiot that sprays his/her tag on the wall of a private house is just a vandal.

  10. You r right. The issue has both positive and negative sides. It is an art and so, it should not be banned. But at the same time it also to be remembered that practicing the art shoud not be highly discomforting towards others. Leaving the topic of discussion apart, I concentrated on your clicks and discovered that you have done excellent photography here. 🙂 keed it up.

  11. Have you seen the documentary called Exit Through the Gift Shop? It’s excellent if you can find it! It’s essentially about the street artist Banksy with a little bit of a twist. Do you live in Norway?? The Life Bus is headed there this summer. We will be kayaking out West, exploring Svalbard and the Lofoten Islands. CANNOT Wait!

    1. I live in Oslo 😀 You’re welcome to drop by here too, but Svalbard and Lofoten is ofc way more beautiful! I’ve seen the movie more than once now, and enjoyed it every time :-p

      1. I think we will be in Oslo for one afternoon – LMK if you have any recommendations on restaurants or parts of town not to miss! Thanks in advance! Glad you enjoyed the movie – I would like to see it again myself!

  12. very interesting thoughts! this is the first time i have have come across any post covering graffiti! Loved the art you have covered 🙂

  13. I always love to see and photograph street arts. They give character to a place/city. And sometimes underdog artists are discovered by doing graffiti. 🙂

  14. I like these very much. It seems to me that society will have to make room, eventually, for these free expressions outside the framework of establishment art.

  15. These are super neat! That’s fantastic art!

    P.S. I finally put Magic City into the right folder so its no longer just the cover. 😉

  16. The is a great collection of street art. I think graffiti is illegal in most places, but at least you have places where it can be done and displayed legally. Are all these from those 5 legal walls?

    1. I think it’s hard to find any ‘unsprayed’ spots on the legal walls. They are very few and their look changes all the time in the summer, since a lot of people want to spray legally – to have the time to work on big and difficult pieces in daylight. These (first ones) were shot between Oslo Central Station and the Buss Terminal, in the greyest passage (grey walls, many cars, no sun, probably ever)… It was quite a happy surprise to discover them that day 😀 (and if you’re curious, a legal wall:

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