Portrait of a Berlin street artist: El Bocho
El Bocho (spanish for (little donkey”) is not only one of Berlin’s most famous street artists but also one of the most recognizable. Born in 1978, he’s been active in Berlin since 1997 and has a number of international exhibitions to his name. Being a designer and typographer during the day, he keeps going out at night to place his work – mostly paste-ups – all over the city though mainly in Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg, where he presumably lives. His identity is still something of a secret owned to the fact that most of his pieces find their way to Berlin walls without the landlord’s consent. All of El Bochos work is rather colourful and belongs to one of several ongoing series. His large female characters, almost always with long wavy hair, all exude a sense of melancholy and lonelyness and they just might be all the same person – his girlfriend maybe.
Another series you find all over town is Little Lucy, based on a czech children’s TV show . This cute little is out for blood – cat’s blood. Over the years Lucy killed that kitty in two dozen different ways from beheading via drowning to threaten it with a tank or turning it into a Miss Kitty. so far I haven’t found a good explanation for this good-humored hatred. So far the most plausible thesis is, he moved in with his girl/boyfriend and she/he brought a cat to the relationship that the artist is not getting along with very well. But that’s as much guessing as everything else. Tina Berlina is another little girl that acts as an alter ego, specifically targeting issues of over-tourism. Last but not least, there are Kalle and Bernd, two CCTV cameras that are having short discussions from the mundane (what to eat) to the political (social networks helping dictatorships).As I said, almost all his work is pre-painted in his studio and then attached to the walls as a paste-up, but occassionally he paints directly on the wall, if he’s invited (there’s a rather new one at Holzmarkt) or uses media like tiles and paper lace.
Until May this years there were almost no new pieces by El Bocho, until the Berlin Mural Fest (BMF), that commissioned a piece. It seems like that created a huge boost in his creativity – or maybe there’s a book coming or something. Anyway, after the festival suddenly there was something new from him almost every week.
Links zu El Bocho