Artwalk guide to Tøyen & Grønland

As a resident in Tøyen for over ten years, I’ve seen my neighbourhood develop from an ugly duckling to its current state; a colourful teenager. This area in the central east part of Oslo is still in development, it is a bright, vibrant and diverse community. It is not a “destination neighbourhood” for tourists on the same level as Grünerløkka at this point. But I think it is for sure worth a visit when in Oslo, especially if you are into street art.

In this guide, the street art is the focus. I have been an Airbnb host since 2011, and I love sending my guest to this spots to discover my hood. So I have put together an art walk starting from Tøyen, walking through the area and ending up at Grønland. Follow it, and you will have a nice (downhill) walk and see it all.

You will find wall art many places over the city, but in Tøyen it is particularly dense. Why? Becuase it has a mission to be the most prominent outdoor art gallery.

A lot of it has to do with the society Urban Samtidskunst and the man Viktor Gjengaar. Without them, what you see would never have happened. They invite artist, help to curate and organise the making of the murals. The first wall went up in 2012 (INTI). Back then the initiative was private, and the cost of painting was possible with the help of sponsors. In 2013 Tøyen received a significant government grant from the state, called Tøyenløftet. Some as compensation that the areas main attraction, The Munch Museum is moving out and into a new building in Bjørvika in 2020.

It is a five-year area program that will help Tøyen to become an area you feel safe and inclusive in, with active residents who would like to live and stay here.

The change is visible. Both in its energy and the high number of cool cafes and bars that have popped up. The main square has gotten a much-needed facelift, and new business and start-ups have moved into the area. The grant has also lead to that art put up after 2015, has been supported by this grant. But some walls have been an initiative and paid for by the residents of the building themselves.

Personally, I think it is fantastic that we have this outdoor gallery when Munch leaves. Art to the people! And that is why I have assembled this route, so more people can discover it.

MAP

Under you have an overview where to find the different walls. You can also use my TOWNSKE guide for an interactive map. You can find it here.

1. Ready set go from Tøyen Torg

LOCATION: HAGEGATA 28
The best place to start this walk through the street art at Tøyen is to begin from Tøyen Torg.

How to get here: Get here by taking the subway to Tøyen. All lines stop at this station. Only 3 min from Central Station.

The public square at Tøyen has gone from a place no one wanted to be to an area buzzing with people, cool cafes and bars. Start here and get feel of the vibe of Tøyen. Grab a takeaway coffee for your walk, some water or maybe sit down for a meal before you start your tour! All set? Let’s go!

 

Walk this way

From here you cross the square, and you see the bar POSTKONTORET. Walk to the right of this and thru a small alley. The first wall on tour will reveal itself. After Jason, walk towards Sigurds gate. Walk down this street and take a right into Gruegata.

 

 

2. “Jason” by John Arne Sæterøy

LOCATION: KOLSTADGATA 15
Artist:
John Arne Sæterøy, Norwegian cartoonist
From: Norway
Year: 2013

What: Jason, really John Arne Sæterøy, Norwegian cartoonist who, since 2000, has been especially noted in the French and American market with numerous releases. Jason is the Norwegian cartoon-series who has won the highest recognition abroad. The wall was put up by Urban Samtidskunst on behalf of “Tøyenkampanjen”. 2 weeks after, the Government granted funds to area and the “Tøyenløfte” was a reality.

 

3. “Water of Life” by Rustam Qbic

LOCATION: GRUEGATA 18
Artist:
Rustam Qbic. I am not a designer. I am an artist he says about himself. He is often inspired by fairytale and fantasy. His motives are often surreal, very detailed and rich in colour.
From: Kazan, Russia
Year: 2016
Connect: @rustamqbic

What: This piece took the artist 14 days to complete. It symbolises wisdom and knowledge that runs down from the old town towards the new generation.

 

 

4. “Untitled” by Diana Kinnerød

LOCATION: GRUEGATA 18
Artist:
Diana Kinnerød
From: Oslo, Norway
When: 2016
Connect: @dianakinnerod

What: The piece is ” Untitled “, but I call it “the birds”. Dina says herself that she wants to be careful guide people into a meaning. But it is doves, a that can symbolise a lot of things. She used to live in this area as a child and back then you had carrier pigeon in the area. So for her, the wall is also a little comment on the how we communicate these days with modern technology she says.

 

5. “Munch” by Steffen Kverneland

LOCATION:  JENS BJELKES GATE 64B
Artist:
Steffen Kverneland is a Norwegian cartoonist and illustrator (b. 1964). He is known for his many striking caricatures, especially of famous writers, and comic books of literary works. The mural itself was painted by Monica Tellnes.
From: Norway
Connect: @steffen_kvernland
Year: 2015

What: The image is taken from the book “Munch”, a biographical comic book and graphic novel from 2013 written and illustrated by Kverneland. This portrait of Munch is set in the iconic image of his famous artwork “Scream”. And it will leave a piece of Munch behind when the museum moves down to Bjørvika.

 

6. “The Sky’s The Limit” by Fadlabi

LOCATION:  JENS BJELKES GATE 62C
Artist:
Fadlabi, an artist living and working in Oslo (1975) He is originally from Sudan, but left Sudan and arrived in Norway in 2003 where he received political asylum.
Year: 2016

What: An astronaut from Sudan. The artist wanted this figure to be seen as a role model for the kids in the neighbourhood. Hopefully, it will inspire them to think; “if you work hard, everything is possible.

7. “The Treasure Hunter” by INTI

LOCATION:  JENS BJELKES GATE 62B
Artist:
INTO Castro is a graffiti artist and muralist born in the port city of Valparaíso, Chile (b. 1982). His name, translated into Incan means ‘Sun’. He began painting walls at around the age of thirteen and has not stopped since. Today he is one of the most recognised street artists globally. He usually paints murals on a gigantic scale; his works often take up whole sides of buildings.
From: Valparaíso, Chile
Year: 2012
Connect: @inti_cl

What: INTI was invited by the society Urban Samtidskunst to paint this big mural back in 2012. This big wall marked the start of the outdoor gallery at Tøyen. Inti is the ancient Incan sun god and the message in this piece is that food, the corn he holds in his hand is more valuable that Diamants.

 

8. “My House is Your Home” by Rustam Qbic

LOCATION: HAGEGATA 19
Artist:
Rustam Qbic. I am not a designer, I am an artist he says about himself.
He is often inspired by fairytale and fantasy. His motives are often surreal,
very detailed and rich in colour.
From: Kazan, Russia
Connect: @rustamqbic
Year: 2017

What: These two walls are located at Tøyen Primary School. This project was put on during one week of hard work. Just finished in time for the kids to come back from their summer holiday. Qbic had been in Oslo twice before and knew that Tøyen was an immigrant district. So the idea behind these murals was to symbolise the international friendships in this area. On the wall you see three children standing towards each other holding a house in their hands. On the other wall, you see an Arabic, African, Asian, Ndebele and European home.

 

 

9. “Nelu” by Pastel

LOCATION: RINGGATA 1
Artist:
Francisco Diaz Scotto aka Pastel. Painter and architect, working in Buenos Aires. Known for his floral motifs.
From: Argentina
Year: 2016
Connect: @pastelfd

What: Pastel says this about this piece on his Instagram: “Botanical Garden placed behind this wall. This place contains flora for all over the world, from different regions and weathers adapted to survive in this garden. Next to the wall in Nelu, a 54 years old guy. He came from Romania many years ago as a refugee. He stands every day at the entrance of Tøyen metro station in Oslo. We both spent 10 hours per day in that space, more than in our homes. Same condition as those immigrant plants.”

 

 

10. “Untitled” by Aryz

LOCATION: SCHUBELERS GATE 11
Artist:
Aryz, spanish muralist and fine artist
From: Spain
Year: 2013
Connect: @mr_aryz

What: His signature style is muted pastel colours and more than often his motif are people. He says in an interview on Munin Film this about his process; “I never start with something that is very defined. What I do is I have a reference on paper with just a few lines and a certain idea about the composition. From there I just paint on the wall and add things as I go along. If you have everything fully prepared, it means you have already drawn the motif before. To create a drawing twice is just unnecessary.”
This wall here in the park is a bit hidden and not on the main street. Besides the image itself, the pure size of it and the location makes this one of my favourite artwork on this route.

 

 

11. “Untitled” by Claudio Ethos

LOCATION: SCHUBELERS GATE 11
Artist:
Claudio Ethos
From: Brazil
Connect: @claudioethos
Year: 2012

What: Located next to the massive mural by Aryz, this wall by Ethos does not come to its glory. His work is often very surreal. And if I should name a person “the Dali of street art”, Ethos would be the man. By using a minimal colour palette – he creates these large scale surreal murals. And his style is so unique so it easy to spot his work.

12. Trafo by David Stenmarck

LOCATION: SNIPPENPARKEN, CORNER ON BOTANISK HAGE, JENS BJELKES GATE 41
Artist:
David Stenmarck, Norwegian artist and illustrator
From: Norway
Year: 2017
Connect: @davidstenmarck

What: This is a Trafo and as we know these buildings are rarely pretty. This building is situated on the corner of the Botanical Garden, and the city is currently making this space into a park “Snippenparken”. One of the town departments contacted Urban Samtidskunst and asked if there was something to do to make this box a bit prettier. And it sure was. Norwegian artist David Stenmarck got the job!

 

 

13. “Untitled” by Aryz

LOCATION: NORBYGATA 50A
Artist:
Aryz, Spanish muralist and fine artist
From: Spain
Year: 2013
Connect: @mr_aryz

What: His signature style is muted pastel colours and more than often his motif are people. He says in an interview on Munin Film this about his process; “I never start with something that is very defined. What I do is I have a reference on paper with just a few lines and a certain idea about the composition. From there I just paint on the wall and add things as I go along. If you have everything fully prepared, it means you have already drawn the motif before. To create a drawing twice is just unnecessary.”

I am pretty sure Aryz was inspired by the location itself when he painted this wall. This street is in the area where you find (in my personal opinion) the best foreign foods shops, with spices and food from all the corners of the world. So no wonder the murals has beautiful pastel greens and vegetable motif.

 

14. “Untitled” by Anette Moi

LOCATION: NORBYGATA 40
Artist:
Anette Moi. Self-taught illustrator and trained graphic designer. She lives and works in Stavanger. The piece is Untitled by I like to call it Facewall… as that is what it is.
Year: 2015
Connect: @anettemoi

What: The artist was given a blank wall and decided to make something that would make passers-by smile! Now when you walk along Norbygata, you walk by 30 meters of happy faces!

 

15. Kindergarten mural by Pasha Wais

LOCATION: NORBYGATA 13
Artist:
Pasha Wais
From: Hong Kong / Saint-Petersburg
Year: 2017
Connect: @wais1

What: The name of this kindergarten is Mosaikk so who better to decorate it that Pasah Wais who is known for his geometrical patterns!

 

 

16. Outings Project by Julien de Casabianca

LOCATION: URTEGATA 29
Artist:
Julien de Casabianca, 46, is both a visual artist and a filmmaker.
From: French and Corsican
Year: 2018
Connect: @outings_project

What: This piece of work is the newest on this route. You find it on the wall across the kindergarten. It was put up during a street art festival NUART RAD here in Oslo in end of May 2018. This piece is part of Julien de Casabianca Outings Project, which he launched back in 2014. A project with a mission to bring paintings from museum walls into the streets. Photo by Ideastosteal.

WALK THIS WAY

From the kindergarten you walk down Motzfeldts gate towards the main street in this area; Grønlandsleiret. This area is the most colourful and diverse in all of Norway, and I love it! It never sleeps, and you find all sort of food here. From here take a right, then one of the nicest backyards in town will reveal itself at the next stop.

 

17. Wall by Julie Aida

LOCATION: INSIDE DATTERA TIL HAGEN, GRØNLAND 10
Artist: Julie Aida, artist/illustrator
From: Oslo
Connect: @julieaida

What: This wall is not part of the urban development in the area. But it belongs to “Dattera til Hagen” a colourful bar, café and club spread over two floors with Oslo’s finest backyard. The place is for sure worth a stop. In the summertime sit down and enjoy some cold refreshments in the lovely yard. In the evening you can dance the night away to house and club music. Julia Aida illustration is on the wall in the passageway to the backyard. I love this space, and this wall makes a cool Instagram location for some colourful background pictures.

18. Outings Project by Julien de Casabianca

LOCATION: GRØNLAND 1, RIVERSIDE UNGDOMSHUS
Artist:
Julien de Casabianca, 46, is both a visual artist and a filmmaker.
From: French and Corsican
Year: 2018
Connect: @outings_project

What: This piece of work is the newest on this route. You find it on the wall of Riverside Youth club next to the river Akerselven. It was put up during a street art festival NUART RAD here in Oslo in end of May 2018. This piece is part of Julien de Casabianca Outings Project, which he launched back in 2014. A project with a mission to bring paintings from museum walls into the streets. I am not sure who originally has painted this lady, but I do like it here in my hood. A fine addition to the outdoor gallery.

 

19. “The Melting Spot” by Atle Østrem

LOCATION: OSLO BUSSTERMINAL, SCHWEIGAARDS GATE 10
Artist:
Atle Østrem comes from Stavanger on the west coast of Norway. Back in the 90s, he was a central character in the street art crowd in his hometown. Today he lives and works in Oslo.
From: Stavanger/Oslo
Year: 2014
Connect: @atleostrem

What: This art piece is a bit hidden. It is located down at the central bus station in Oslo, but not in clear sight for a pedestrian. I love this location because you suddenly discover it in a glimpse when you drive past. If you want a look up close, go to the end of the bus station close to Oslo City, it is on the wall towards the roundabout. And as the artist himself explain: He took the inspiration for this piece from everything that he saw around this spot; advertising, building, subway map, a bar or cafe guest. So the title makes a lot of sense: the melting spot!

DISCLAIMER

Facts about the artist and some background info, are sourced from their own webpage and articles found in local newspapers about the different walls. Otherwise, the reflection of the area and the pieces is all my own. All images are taken by me. Big thanks to Viktor Gjengaar, the man himself behind Urban Samtidskunst for some additional info about the different art pieces.

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Hi, I am Melissa, 30 something Norwegian digital nomad and Airbnb host. I have a love for architecture, Scandinavian design, and traveling. And I love sharing good design and great traveling tips.

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