City guide

10 brilliant new murals painted in Budapest for Színes Város 2016

Photo : András Farkas
Artizán Budapest, reggeli, kávé, kakaós csiga

The annual Színes Város (Colorful City) Festival, a one-month-long cultural event, was held for the third time between August and September, with the aim of further beautifying Budapest with oversized street art by both Hungarian and international visionaries painting on huge empty walls. This year, the festival’s main focus was on such topics as the city, water, and the Olympics, and the connection between these elements in such a buzzing and vibrant city as Budapest. Even though the festival is now over, these freshly painted murals will continue to embellish Budapest for many years to come.

Fat Heat & Bea Pántya (Hungary): “Living Space” – Arany János Street
Photo: András Farkas
While traipsing around the towering apartment buildings of Arany János Street, our eyes suddenly catch sight of a truly colorful, special, and enchanted house standing on wobbly wooden legs. As the creatively crafted home casts curious looks at the street, all we’re waiting for is the lively house and its small residents to move; luckily, we don’t have to wait too long, because this year the festival kicked off with a truly stately show. At the opening event, “Living Space” – created by two Magyar artists, FatHeat and Ciripp – was brought to life by an impressive innovation; with the help of an augmented reality application, a short animation was created for this mural, and if we look at the massive painting through our smartphone, every detail of the quirky house comes alive, as rain and thunder stir up life for the small residents.
Spok (Spain) & Korse (France): “Poseidon” – Nagydiófa Street 12
Photo: András Farkas
Spain’s Felix Spok Brillor and KORSÉ from France met for the first time in Budapest to collaborate in creating this 230-square-meter mural depicting, Poseidon, the “God of the Sea” and the protector of all aquatic creatures, strongly safeguarding a wonderfully bizarre water world with his trident and a dreadful look in his eyes. Reaching back to the roots of ancient Greek mythology, the artists blend the world of Greek gods with our characteristic and sometimes slightly surreal present, placing old-time traditions in a modern environment emphasizing the intermingling of past and present, and the constant progression of our world.
Sepe &
Chazme (Poland): “Blue in Green” – Lenhossék Street 43
Photo: András Farkas
In this beautiful 240-square-meter mural, the Polish artists play with the thought of an absurd and vaguely Kafkaesque world in which the whole city is underwater, and its residents metamorphosed into gigantic and grotesque figures whose body movements seem to suggest that they have settled into this peculiar world, even though their expressions cannot be seen as their head reaches up for air. The stunning mingling of myriad shades of blue and green results in magnificently calm colors that contradict the slightly uncanny atmosphere of the artwork, which makes us gasp for a big gulp of air if we keep looking at it for a long time, while also captivating us with the secrets of the deep blue sea, depicting the artist’s critical perception of our world.
Andrey Adno (Russia): “Urban Style” – Nagydiófa Street 12
Photo: András Farkas
This Russian artist created a 240-square-meter mural in record time, as from start to finish, he completed the huge street art in only three days. Looking at the main theme of the festival from an alternative perspective, he personalized Budapest and its residents, and created a colorful and multilayered female figure that blends the young and pulsing vibes of Budapest, and the characteristics of its diverse and manifold society into a harmonious whole. Cleverly incorporating the theme of water, the small and smooth waves of the city’s centerpiece, the Danube, reflect on her clothes, perhaps symbolizing the close connection of Budapest and the river that runs through it.
Márton Borbás (Hungary): “A város mint nyughatatlan organizmus” (rough translation: “The City as a Restless Organism” – Rákóczi Bridge, Buda side
Photo: Színes Város
Márton Borbás is a young graphic design student at Hungary’s Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, and he already works as a freelancer. He got the chance to paint one of the pillars of Rákóczi Bridge, found near the entrance of Kopaszi Dam on the city’s Buda side, and he started with a clean slate. First he created a huge whitewashed background, and then added the basic structure enhanced with a few colorful spots, creating a dynamic composition that puts Budapest under a microscope, and examines its texture, only to find a strong connective, converging, and cohesive strength between all bits of Budapest.
Lehel Nyeste (Hungary): “Greetings from Budapest” – Rákóczi Bridge, Buda side
Photo: András Farkas
Lehel Nyeste used a graffiti technique to grab the essence of Budapest. He created a sketchy, playful, and romantic cityscape of Buda and Pest, highlighting the most significant attractions of both sides, such as the Elizabeth Bridge, the Chain Bridge, the Castlethe ParliamentHeroes’ Square, and the Citadel, and centralized the Danube by portraying a symbolic character paddling in the moonlight – who is slightly reminiscent of an adorable Italian gondolier – who holds together the two divergent sides of Budapest. This picture puts the Danube in the limelight, showing how this river simultaneously separates and unites the two sides, creating a truly complex, lively, and stunning city.
Zsuzsi Bakos (Hungary): “Yin-Yang City”, “I
Love BP” – Erzsébet Bridge, Buda side
Photo: Színes Város
Zsuzsi Bakos named her new street art “Jing-jang city” (translation: “Yin-Yang City”), illustrating the dichotomy between the two sides of Budapest, showing that although they have dissimilar characteristics, they still complete each other, and together make up this marvelous city. While the two blue figures can be interpreted in many ways – for example, representing the bustling nightlife of the Pest side and the serene parklands, green oases, and hills of the Buda side – they show that both components are necessary for the complexity of Budapest. Her other artwork painted on the other side of the pillar depicts a cute sea creature who just simply loves Budapest in fish language, just like we all do.
Balázs Pusztai (Hungary): “Földön, vízen, levegőben” (rough translation: “On Earth, In the Water, In the Air”) – Erzsébet Bridge, Buda side
Photo: András Farkas
Magyar street artist Balázs Pusztai (Pubberoner) uses physical manifestations and low-key colors in his mural to demonstrate the compound, colorful, but still well-proportioned nature of life in Budapest, and the diverseness of society. Two delicate figures are depicted on the mural; a fish represents water, reflecting on the festival’s main theme, while a bird depicts air, and they are both held in human hands that Balázs often uses in his works to embody life itself.
Luke Embden (UK): “Pop Art Budapest” – BAH-csomópont; “Love thy Neighbor” – Dob Street 40
Photo: András Farkas
After starting to turn the bridge pillars at BAH-csomópont into an imaginative hub of pop art, British artist Luke Embden kept his promise to return to Budapest this year, to cover two more pillars with his little lively colorful cubes that ameliorate a less-frequented part of Budapest with well-known quotes saying: “Love will tear us apart” and “Looking for love in all the wrong places”. Besides these two short messages, Luke Embden also had something to say from his big red heart to the partygoers right in the middle of Budapest’s party quarter, where shot-fueled nights often go wild: “Love thy neighbor”.
Dorottya Jakócs (Hungary): “Teszvesz város” (rough translation: “Busy City”) – Rákóczi Bridge, Buda side
Photo: András Farkas
The final piece of new street art for Színes Város 2016 is Dorottya Jakócs’s “Teszvesz város”, a 200-square-meter highly detailed painting that is the perfect conclusion of this cultural festival, summing up the substance of this initiative: improving, ameliorating, and beautifying Budapest. In her street art, three large and beautiful female figures stand out, busily building, cultivating, and nourishing the city that grows underneath, improving and becoming even more beautiful, just as the cityscape of Budapest is enriched with several stunning and impressive pieces of street art already, hopefully inspiring other contemporary artists to also come forward with even more project plans for next year.