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01 January 2019

Whether chilling or spinning, it's all about cooperation

A distorted image of a face and one of swallows adorn two separate walls of the same building at Akácfa Street 27 in Budapest. These murals were created as a collaboration between two artists, Łukasz Berger, alias Cekas; and Mesterházy Károly, alias Carlos BreakOne, during the Colourful City Strongbow Budapest Festival. According to the organiser Színes Város ( "Colorful City") the artists painted Nyugalom, vagy tombolás? (Chill or Spin?), two antithetical pieces, the theme built on the dichotomy between peace and disruption.

Łukasz, who painted the face mural, is from Poland and started doing graffiti in 1998. Street art soon became his passion. He graduated with a diploma in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw – his hometown. Károly (the artist of the swallows) always loved drawing, and like Łukasz, started his path to murals through graffiti about 20 years ago. Károly has an art background too, with a degree from the Graphic Design programme of the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design.

When considering these murals, Színes Város, explained that we should ask which of the two we identify with more. Internal conflict hidden under an attractive visual is what can be perceived. Károly feels that the swallows (which took eight days to paint) represent peace, while Łukasz's piece represents disruption, but the beauty of these pictures is that the meaning is always in the eye of the beholder. First a drawing of the swallows was designed using pen and pencil on paper, then the image was digitalised and colour was then added. The surrounding architecture had a strong influence on the form and colour of Łukasz's mural. When asked about the popularity of street art, he said "I have the impression that art direction is very much an internet phenomenon that materialises in the real word. The internet has made graffiti, street art and other new directions part of global creations."

Károly distinguishes between street art and wall painting. In the case of street art, everything that appears on the street is 'street art', but these art pieces have some sort of message for society. His work belongs under the category of urban art or murals, in which the characteristic style of the artist appears on walls. The unique vision of the artist comes to life on the walls. In the future, he believes both kinds of art will gain in popularity.

A holiday is on the cards for Łukasz who has been very busy this year. He will start planning a solo exhibition when back. Károly now lives in Portugal as a tattoo artist and seldom has time for wall paintings, but his work still carries the same style characteristics as the wall with the swallows.