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Schiphol and their Street Art Collection

We are Maura and Li Ying and this week, we have an internship at the Street Art Museum Amsterdam. During the four days we have this internship, we do all sorts of things.

On the second day of our internship at SAMA, we went to Schiphol and looked at the collection of street art there. The day before, we had already seen the collection in the neighbourhood of the museum itself. That tour taught us about street art culture but also about the neighbourhood of Nieuw-West. The Schiphol tour taught us more about street art culture and the museum, while also showing a side of Schiphol that we had never seen before. We only knew Schiphol as an airport where we went to fly in order to go on a vacation, but during the tour, we saw hotels, offices of large corporations and community places.

The first piece of street art from SAMA we saw at Schiphol was ‘6000 strokes’ by Orticanoodles, found on four pillars close to the big hotels like Hilton and Sheraton and the Schiphol office ‘The Base’. On the pillars, you can see colourful tropical flowers and leaves, accompanied by vibrant backgrounds with graphic stripes. Many of the flowers are also painted in stripes, while others look very realistic, just like how you would expect them in nature. These flowers represent love and passion, and they really bright up an area that used to be grey and empty. It shows the detailed, professional and perfectionistic side of street style, as it took multiple days.

The works we had seen after Orticanoodles’ ‘6000 strokes’, were mostly by OakOak, of whom we have seen multiple works the day before as well. OakOak uses what is already there, for example electricity boxes and concrete with interesting shapes.

The first of his works that we saw here was ‘Scared plots under the bridge’. This portrays three faces painted on electricity boxes. The smaller two boxes seem to be scared of the large one in the back, that looks like it is screaming at the smallest box. Although you can see that the work is not entirely precise - the lines are not straight and do not always fully connect and some small parts within the lines are not painted - and very simple, it is funny and turns a boring, ugly object in something that is fun to look at.

Another work in his series of plots, ‘Plots afraid of a rubbish bin’ consists of a lot of little poles that are painted in different, vibrant colours and have scared faces. Originally, the rubbish bin is turned towards them with an angry face, so the poles are afraid of it. However, someone has now turned the bin around. So now, it looks like the bin is running away from the poles - as if the poles have risen up against the mean guy. This shows how easily street art can be changed by outsiders, which creates a funny and original effect.

Another artwork we saw after that, was also by OakOak. The work is called Zebra because it is based on a pedestrian crossing. The work portrays a little blue man who pushes one of the white strokes of the pedestrian away which releases a black stroke. OakOak usually does not use long lasting materials, because he doesn’t mind if his work is only temporary, when he finishes the work, he photographs it and leaves it behind.

‘Cupcake’ is one of OakOak’s works, this time on a round electricity box. It is colourful and cute. It was another part of his project to take the imperfections of Schiphol and turn them into art. If you look at the empty, see-through, yellowish discoloured box next to it, you can really see the difference that it makes.

The last OakOak work we saw around the area was ‘Smile’. This is the simplest work yet: he only added the smile, which is just a simple curved line. But the work is well thought out because the handles from the box form the eyes, which creates an adorable little face. If you turn the handles, you can even see eyebrows.

The work ‘hug me’, created by the artist Sandrine Boulet, is applied to a round-shaped block of concrete. The block expresses a face with welcoming arms. The text under it says: ‘Hey you stop running and give me a hug!’ this gives the message to stop being so serious (especially because the artwork is located next to offices) and chill out.

We have also seen other works by Sandrine Boulet in the garage. One that you would not notice fast is ‘Dark snoopy’, which is literally a little stylistic portrayal of snoopy doing the sign of the horns, something often associated with rock and rebellion, which also has to do with street art since it started as an illegal movement and is often still done illegally. It is the dark version of her work ‘Golden snoopy’ which is around the corner and was illegal when it was made. This one is easier to see because of its gold colour and the fact that it is surrounded by golden stars. The garage is dull on itself, but these little pieces make it a lot nicer, because as soon as you notice them, you will be drawn to them whenever you pass them.

Another of Sandrine Boulet’s work is called ‘Professor Love’ which portrays a man that works in an office, like the ones you see a lot in the office area of Schiphol. The man seems like a serious boring neat man but he secretly has a little heart too. Boulet used something that was already there before, just like OakOak normally does. She used the oval cap of a lamppost as the head of the professor and drew his body and other details with a black marker.

The last work of hers and the last one on this tour that we saw was ‘Space chicken’. Leading you to the building, there are a lot of little lamps in a line on the pavement. These lamps are in a somewhat unusual shape, and the artist cleverly thought that if chicken feet, eyes and a beak, it would look like a little chicken. Since the lamps are yellow with a blue ‘head’, which is an unusual colour for a chicken, she made it some kind of alien: a chicken from space.

This tour introduced us to these three different artists that all have their own original works and distinct style that showed us the different sides of street art and took us to the places of Schiphol we had never seen before. All in all, both of us enjoyed and learned a lot on this tour.

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