Remember that green mushroom from Super Mario Bros.? Well this “1up” is giving “an extra life” to that original outlaw spirit of grafitti art.The German capital has always been a melting pot of alternative and unconventional forms of rebellion, and graffiti art has been an important component of its underground art and culture scene. “One united power” is a graffiti crew based in Berlin, but you can find their tags on walls, roofs, subway trains and abandon buildings all around a globe.
They have been doing their thing for 14 years, and to become a member you need a certain doze of insanity, as these guys are shifting boundaries. Both large-scale and throw-up graffiti are usually made by spray cans and color rollers. There is no unique and recognizable signature of the group, as they use different font styles like sculpture, fire extinguisher tags, bubble tags, and rollers.
The graffiti art of the group is meant to be thought-provoking and political. Mysteriously their 1up tags can be found in absurd places such as rooftops of skyscrapers or moving subway trains. As graffiti art is illegal and usually considered vandalism, “1up” has been criminally charged more than 300 times, but Berlin police have not been able to catch the group since 2003. Sometimes to make a tag, facade climbing and fast running from police are necessary. Crew members, both men and woman, are cover their faces with masks and wear gloves during “the crime” leaving little traces that would lead to their capture.
Most of their activity is being video documented and can be watched on AGGRO.TV YouTube channels. In 2011 the adrenaline driving film “One United Power” was released, documenting their actions around the world including Berlin, Paris, Istanbul, Thailand and India. Being part of Berlin hip-hop scene, the group has been portrayed in book “KING KOOL CITY BERLIN – From hip-hop to graffiti” published in 2016. The group is driven by idea that “the urban space belongs to all and may be painted” and that “graffiti is not destruction”.
The gang’s prolific work has been more and more stepping from dark abyss of underground culture scene. Martha Cooper, photojournalist who has been documenting graffiti scene since 1970s, gave thumbs up to their work and will be collaborating with the group in the future. After opening of museum “Urban Nation for Urban Contemporary Art” on 16th September 2017. crew become part of “the collective memory of urban contemporary art” as manifesto of museum claims it to be. The idea of this new museum is to narrow boundaries between indoor and outdoor wall art, so all the surfaces of museum building have become canvases for many street artists.
- TV hyperlink- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2yt9TY3ZomOBjlwoN23H7bh329ub-he5
- Urban Nation hyperlink- https://urban-nation.com/
- Images that are taken from http://www.brooklynstreetart.com/theblog/2016/08/24/1up-in-berlin-all-city-doesnt-even-begin-to-cover-it/ must include © BrooklynStreetArt.com, photographer © Jaime Rojo