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  • “For me, it’s easy to go big”: Muralist Kera paints the town


“For me, it’s easy to go big”: Muralist Kera paints the town

We chatted to the muralist Kera about his path to covering Berlin, and the world, in colour.

Photo: Makar Artemev

Just outside the Exberliner offices, there’s a huge mural covering the S-Bahn station, cheering up the otherwise grey structure with geometric patterns and broad strokes of colour, covering the concrete columns that hold up the tracks.

Its creator, Kera, was one of five muralists commissioned in 2018 by Deutsche Bahn to make their stations brighter. “I got to work on the biggest station – Wedding. Then last year, I was asked to do a mural on Warschauer Straße as well, and they didn’t even ask for sketches. They knew my work already and trusted me,” explains Kera, sitting in his light-flooded Schöneweide studio.

Wedding S-Bahn station. Photo: Kera

When I get a call about a space, I start exploring the surroundings, the colours and buildings

Kera, aka Christian Hinz, grew up in a Plattenbau in Hellersdorf, a world he dreamed of leaving for higher ceilings and bigger spaces. But his path to large-scale murals – and gallery exhibitions, art books and paintings worth thousands of euros – took several turns.

He started off as a graffiti artist in 1999, but after a decade of tagging he grew bored of letters. In 2010, he finished a graphic design Ausbildung (apprenticeship) and began working in a corporate setting, but didn’t feel free always having to follow the clients’ lead.

Photo: Kera

Tired of the confines of the work, he left to open a gallery-bar in Neukölln with a friend, which did well. But in 2015, he opted to sell his share of the business to his partner. “That gave me a year to figure out my path,” he says. “Then a friend of mine invited me to Cardiff to participate in the Empty Walls Festival. A real estate company saw my work and wanted me to cover one of their commercial buildings. That was my first big job.”

Kurfürstenstraße, painted in 2017. Photo: Kera

Now a father of three, Kera has painted façades all across the world, covering architecture on several continents with his abstract shapes and sharp lines. He mostly paints on wood and concrete, and always works alone. His process involves immersing himself in the neighbourhoods that his paintings will brighten.

Photo: Kera

“When I get a call about a space, I start exploring the surroundings, the colours and buildings that are typical for the area and I implement them into my pieces. They will no longer be recognisable, but they are there. The significant architecture and landscape is in there.”

He sketches his designs digitally first, then divides the artistic blueprint into sections and prints them out to scale, to be applied to the large surface he’ll paint on. Kera says the final work should encourage people to think for themselves and find different meanings in the artwork.

Photo: Kera

Today, his murals can be found on Reuterstraße, Kurfüstenstraße and Danziger Straße, among other spots in Berlin. He’s painted across the UK, and in Qatar, Georgia, the US and Mexico. Some people might find it daunting to bring this kind of art to such expansive global spaces – but not Kera. “I never went to art school, I started on walls,” he says. “So for me, it’s easy to go big.”