Politics | Light Fare Or Political Message?

Everyone is talking about street art. But the artists who spray house-high graffiti or high-quality paint such as power boxes have very different motifs. “StreetArt in Germany” is the name of a Facebook page with almost a million likes. Its founder posts around a dozen pictures there every day showing art in public spaces in German cities. Timo Schaal had the idea aside. The Mannheim artist and DJ started taking and collecting photos of street art five years ago. Especially stencils, small paintings based on stencils, were noticed by Schaal in the city on the Neckar. From then on he traveled through Germany to track down street art. He took photos in Dresden, Hamburg, Berlin and quickly came across other street art photographers.

Because he noticed that his circle of friends was very interested in street art, Schaal founded the community on Facebook, for which he now receives between 100 and 400 photos from members every day. Schaal’s definition of street art is broad. He says: “I approach it with the greatest possible openness. Whether it’s a professional artist or someone who writes a line on a piece of paper: For me, that’s all part of it. ”For him, street art is everything people use to express themselves in public spaces.


Schaal believes that giving expression to one’s own thoughts, even if one is not in the art scene, is the motivation for many street artists. But art always has something to do with one’s own ego. Some do it to spread their own names around town and make them feel a little more meaningful. Humor also plays a major role in German street art. According to Timo Schaal, this is due to the fact that the Germans are doing comparatively well. In other European countries such as Greece or Ukraine, more attention is paid to politics. In Germany, too, there is criticism of the system in street art, but not to the same extent as in other countries.


Sebastian Pohl from the Munich association “Positive Propaganda” doesn’t think that street art has to be political just because Germans are generally fine. He complains about the lack of will to protest against politics. Among other things, NoName deals with the injustices of capitalism with the work “Buy Euro Bonds”. The inscription is emblazoned on a facade on Munich’s Altstadtring. In addition, a truck he designed and labeled “Exploit” drives through the entire city every day. In a prosperous city like Munich, this is a symbol that one’s own prosperity is often at the expense of others. Street art is also becoming commercialized. Large companies hire artists for advertising campaigns that are well received by customers, precisely because street art is so popular. And so, in addition to beautifying the city and denouncing grievances, there is a new motive for doing street art in Germany: money.

Brennan Quinten