Calle Libre
Urban Aesthetics in Vienna


“He is my biggest fan”, Renacho smiles and points at one of the windows of the vis-à-vis building. “He brought me snacks and even a beer while I was working in the summer heat”.

The man who lives in Felberstraße 110, 1150 Vienna, who brought Renacho a cold beverage during his live painting, has no knowledge of art. No knowledge of shapes, lines, colors, symmetries. But understanding and feeling street art does not require knowledge- only openess of the mind and heart. And this is exactly what we found at Calle Libre, festival for Urban Aesthetics. The Festival lasted an entire week and included workshops, Urban Art tours and even a Street Art Hackathon as well as amazing live paintings.

The TEDxVienna Blogger Team met three street artists who couldn’t be more different. Still, their work sources from the same spring, from their love for an open, public space, and flows into different styles.

Jakoba Niepoort

Jakoba Niepoort for TEDxVienna at Calle Libre 2018

Her Idea Worth Spreading in the street art world:

“We all seek to be closer to each other. Creativity allows connection to happen through difference.”

Jakoba believes in “bringing attention through walls” by fighting for activist art– namely art that contributes to social change while making the public to think about matters that would otherwise remain unnoticed. “Street art also attracts the attention of the media”, she explains, “in a way words could never do”.

Renacho Melgar

My work is always colourful. That is kind of my signature“, the street artist from El Salvador says. “When you walk into a gallery, there is a barrier between the art and the viewer. But on the street everyone can engage in a dialogue and have an opinion about the piece. You will never find this type of connection in a museum.”

What is street art for him, we ask. “It is like a big party! Everybody can come and draw. That is how you make real art”.

Indeed, below you see a blank circle he left for people to come and fill it out with their own imagination:

Renacho’s Idea Worth Spreading in the street art world:

“So many people have fear: They are afraid they cannot draw. But everybody needs to believe in the power of creating something. To create new doors. We can create- together.”

Emanuel Jesse

Vienna based Emanuell Jesse aka Moiz combines design and graffiti in his artwork. “My style is very spontaneous”, he tells us. When working, Emanuell doesn’t usually have an ultimate goal- it is all about the art for the sake of the art itself. For him, street art contributes to the city optics by democratizing public space. Once we ask him what his Idea Worth Spreading in the street art world would be, he grins widely and replies with a question himself:

“To whom does public space belong?”

We didn’t catch up with the other inspiring participants of Calle Libre, however Head of Festival Jakob Kattner summarized their common goal for us in a nutshell:

“It is important us to define public space as a participatory sphere und to call for the right of its co-creation. We believe that we can enhance the city through intercultural dialogue and artistic exchange.
Moreover, the Festival aims to anchor urban art within society, to give it publicity and to free it from the stigma of vandalism.
Because especially its cultural value, the variety of techniques and its historical context makes this special type of art to one of the most significant of the 21st. century.”
Thank you Calle Libre for having us, see you next time!
A big shoutout to Radu Mester for the photography (all rights reserved) and to Hellie Viegas for the editorial support.
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