roskilde festival graffiti image

2014 Roskilde Graffiti Camp

For a graffiti artist, there’s little better than friends, paint, and an endless supply of surfaces to write on. It taps into everything that makes street art great: companionship, artistic collaboration, limitless potential, and, naturally, fun. Nothing quite makes street art as good as doing it with people and getting plenty of space to do it. In many places around the world, this is simply impossible. Laws condemn graffiti, keeping groups small and disconnected while removing any tags and writing they find. In some cases, this makes dedicated artists seek new, more dangerous canvases to write on. So when an event like the Roskilde Graffiti Camp comes along, artists tend to sit up, take notice, and create.

The Roskilde Graffiti Camp was started a couple of years ago by a small and dedicated group of people in Sweden. It’s a place where artists could come and hang out, paint some graffiti, and grab some cold beers after a hard day’s work. It’s only been happening for a couple of years, but the 2014 Roskilde event was easily its biggest, most ambitious, and best attended event. The organizers managed to snag an entire sea container’s worth of shipping cans, each their own different colour, for the event. That adds up to literally kilometres of blank canvas for artists, not a bad way to start a festival.

Past that, the event featured musical performances and more to keep artists and other attendees occupied when not painting or looking at graffiti. Of course, the most fun to be had was during the day, where artists could get involved in collaborative projects and large-scale solo efforts. Watching these pieces unfold over the day was in itself a treat. The end products, as you can see, are absolutely incredible.

Roskilde invited artists from around the world to join in on the fun, including Tizer, Vans the Omega, Sket185, Karski, Beyond, Soten, Rasko, and many more. In all, over 40 artists were there to paint the thousands of feet worth of containers. The results were a mash up of great ideas and distinctive styles, each more interesting and intricate than the last. The friendly competition pushed these artists to prove themselves, but also to absorb other styles, techniques, and approaches. Some of the pieces stand as a testament to the power of cooperation and, in some cases, are some of the best work these artists have ever produced.

The Roskilde Graffiti Camp is yet another example of what can happen when artists are left free to create, collaborate, and engage with each other. Not only did attendees have a chance to look at some international talent as they were writing, getting a behind-the-scenes look into their creative processes, the artists had the opportunity to learn from each other. Friendly competitions and multi-artist projects left us with some of the most unique street art we’ve ever seen. And when an event like this is run by experienced and professional organizers, the energy and excitement is tangible.