Six new colorful murals now brighten the Budapest cityscape, created by Hungarian and international artists as part of the annual Színes Város Festival. This year’s main theme is gastronomy and the intoxicating world of wine, and most pieces decorate Budapest’s party quarter in District VII. Partner city for the event is Berlin. We introduce the German and Hungarian artists behind these works, and explain the ideas behind them. One mural remains unfinished, waiting for the artist to return.
Attila Balogh – Nagydiófa Street
Local graffiti artist Attila Balogh worked for eight long days on this 200-square-meter mural in the middle of Budapest’s party quarter, Nagydiófa Street. Reflecting on this year’s topics, gastronomy and wine, Attila decided to depict Dionysus, the god of grapes and wine making, in a truly colorful artwork. In the mural, Dionysus is squeezing out the juice of grapes into a goblet while a leopard, a Dionysian symbol, is resting its head on his arm. Dionysus raises his eyes towards the sky, seeking help from the creator to control the animal that does not know its limits and is likely to succumb to temptation, losing itself in rapture. Perhaps a perfect fit for the party quarter, this mural is a friendly reminder that when it comes to gastronomy and wine, moderation is a keyword.
Christian Böhmer (Mr.Trash) – Rákóczi Bridge (Buda side)
Candlelight, champagne glasses and a table set for two are the perfect accessories for an intimate experience shared with someone special, an idea that comes to mind when thinking of gastronomy. But if the dinner date doesn’t show, smoke rising from the extinguished flame makes hopeful dreams fade away. By depersonalizing his protagonist with a plastic bag over his head – a trademark of his work – Christian Böhmer aka Mr.Trash reflects on general problems concerning a generation living in the virtual world: loneliness and the loss of human interaction. Böhmer often makes thought-provoking images that highlight major moral problems in society. This main character in this mellow mural is a man living in the virtual world, waiting in vain for intimacy.
Dan Ferrer – Kertész Street 27
This 170-square-meter mural was conceived by Spanish artist Dan Ferrer, who has artworks in major cities such as New York, Rome, Milan and London. “During the creation of an artwork, motivation and a personal connection are truly important. With every artwork I make I would like to send a powerful message that concerns everyone equally. I like working with allegories such as fear, love, time and justice – and the graphic depiction of these.” Borrowing the atmosphere of Alice in Wonderland, this mural depicts a little girl looking much like Alice – but her scarred skin, tired eyes and altogether more mellow mood foretell that her story will be a far cry from any idyllic tale. The message of this mural is that children are full of potential and hope, which need to be nurtured with motivation so they can grow into something big. Having sampled a taste of motivation, this little girl is about to break out from the enclosed environment that oppresses her talents, hopes and dreams.
Fat Heat, Mr.Zero and ObieOne – Kertész Street
Combining the culinary theme with a smidgen of science fiction, this massive mural depicts the “Best Drink in Existence” from the contemporary classic by Douglas Adams, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. The Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is an intergalactic alcoholic beverage invented by ex-President of the Universe Zaphod Beeblebrox, according to whom you should “never drink more than two Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters unless you are a 30-ton mega elephant with bronchial pneumonia”. The figures in the murals invite viewers to a visual gastro adventure, during which three Hungarian artists, Fat Heat, Mr.Zero and ObieOne, attempt to reveal the secret recipe of this concoction. “We’d like to share the recipe with the people of Budapest before the planet is destroyed to make way for the Vogons hyperspace bypass.”
HRVB – Kertész Street
Since we are talking about Hungarian cuisine and gastronomy, what else could star in this oversized painting than paprika? Spotlighting the similarities of gastronomy and art, German artist HRVB parallels the processes of making a Magyar meal, pörkölt – always best with a touch of red wine – and a painting of a paprika in this variegated artwork. While on the left, a paprika makes a Hungarian stew fresh and flavorful, on the other side it is the protagonist of a painting created by the same paprika-loving creature. Playing with vibrant colors is a trademark of this German artist.
Vidam The Weird – Kertész Street
Berlin-based artist Vidam The Weird was born in Hungary, hence his name that translate as ‘merry’ in English. This kind of playfulness is also present in his new artwork made for Színes Város Festival. Alternating only a few warm hues, Vidam depicts a friendly scene from a farmers’ market, where two figures with animal faces but human bodies – and a peace-sign tattoo – proffer fresh fruit and vegetables. This draws us into an enchanted world that perhaps aims to send an encouraging message to everyone to live and let live.
Spanish artist Rubén Sánchez also started working on a mural during the festival, but unfortunately could not finish it, so he will have to return to Budapest in the near future. Színes Város Festival is not officially over but no more murals will be added this year to Budapest’s city walls. However, a lucky Hungarian artist will soon have the chance to create street art in the partner city of the festival, Berlin.
For more details follow Színes Város Festival’s Facebook Page.