Wall inspiring: the duo behind some of Poland’s most impressive, and largest street art
Long gone are the days when Polish street art was a combination of unimaginative tags and vandalism. Polish street artists have joined the ranks of the world’s most creative, and their works are displayed in both open-air museums and recognised galleries.
And the artistic duo named Etam Cru is a perfect proof of this, with their colourful, nostalgic murals that are both surreal and relatable in their expression.
Etam Cru is made up of two Łódź Academy of Fine Arts graduates, who use the nicknames Betz and Sainer. The 30-year-old Sainer was born in Łódź, but currently lives in Gdynia, when he isn’t travelling around the world to work on their art. Bezt, two years older than his partner, graduated from the same academy, but only get involved with the Polish street art scene in 1999.
The duo create frescos, but also paintings and poster designs, with their specialty being massive murals covering entire walls of blocks of flats, a common feature in Polish post-communist architecture. Another theme common in their work is Eastern European folklore and symbolism, with an added element of humour and psychedelia.
Works of such scope take time and effort, so Etam Cru makes proper use of scaffolding and cherry pickers to scale the massive walls that serve as their canvas, as documented in the making-of videos they post.
In an interview with Kacper Korzeniowski, the duo revealed: “We are interested in creating illustrations in the public space, which will allow the viewers to break out of everyday life even for a moment. We use figures, animals and landscapes in our paintings. The works we create are a mixture of these elements, and in a juxtaposition with each other they gain new allegoric meanings. Sometimes we deliberately leave them in the form of a sketch, a kind of understatement, so that everyone can perceive different values, a different story.”
Etam Cru works are displayed on the walls in the United States, Bulgaria, Germany, Austria and Portugal along with Polish cities such as Warsaw, Olsztyn or Łódź.