When it comes to Budapest street art, there’s no better place to see it all than the 7th District. The streets of this area are packed with a huge selection of murals, most of which we covered in our 7th District Street Art Guide. In this article, however, we’ll show you a selection of the hidden street art in Erzsébetváros that usually goes completely unnoticed. In the age of commissioned wall murals and security cameras, these are the types of works that still retain their artistic integrity and, as such, are able to provide cutting social commentary.
The communist-era was one of the darkest times in recent Hungarian history. Despite the doom and gloom, there is no denying that some of the animated works produced behind the iron curtain were genius. Street artist 0036MARK was just a boy back then and he now uses his art as a way to reflect on the nostalgia of these repressed decades. He accomplishes this by infusing beloved characters from his childhood with cultural references.
After the Soviet-backed regime imploded western cartoons flooded the screens of Hungary and a whole generation of children became glued to their televisions on Sunday mornings. This street art called, “AntallTales” captures an iconic memory from 0036MARK’s childhood.
It’s December 12th 1993, the day post-communist Hungary’s first democratically elected prime minister, Jószef Antall, passed away. Like many kids in that era, 0036MARK was enjoying one of his favourite new cartoons, Ducktales. Suddenly, all the screens went black. After 3 minutes of confusion, Chopin’s famous funeral march came on and the prime minister’s death was announced. Attila, a local street art fanatic who also runs Budapest Flow, told us that this moment was a generational benchmark. Something that can only be understood and appreciated by Hungarians of a certain age.
If you walk through Budapest’s 7th District, you’ll also come across another series of street art by 0036MARK. This creative paste-ups focuses on the ’70s hit Hungarian animated tv series, ‘Mézga család‘ aka The Mézga Family. This beloved series was a little bit of the Simpson’s blended with a little bit of Rick and Morty. Only it was produced decades earlier than these two modern-day juggernauts. 0036MARK puts his own spin on the animations by combining them with pop-culture references from across the decades. These are incredible pieces of street art which you could easily walk past if you don’t keep your eyes peeled.
MISS KK is a mysterious, incognito, badass designer who’s feminist-themed, dystopic collages offer a pointed critique of our hyper-materialist, consumer obsessed culture. She takes a particular interest in the unrealistic demands placed on young females in today’s society.
Unlike a lot of the street art which is graffiti based, Miss KK’s work has become renowned for her striking stickers which can be spotted across the 7th District. She creates these clunky looking ‘dolls’ by cutting out up to 50 different images from fashion and beauty magazines and combining them together in animatronic poses. Her mish-mashed figurines are always decked out in luxury brands, which most would say are overpriced and merchandized.
She uses oversized facial shots of real-life models – usually slathered in makeup – to complete her surrealist aesthetic. The pieces are tied together with some sort of ironic t-shirts text. These sarcastic statements invigorate the jarring works with poignantly humorous messaging. While Miss KK’s stickers eventually fade and tatter, the messages remain powerful.
RAPA is one of the original legends of Budapest’s street art and graffiti culture. However, in recent years he has switched over to ceramic art pieces. This is mostly due to increased police surveillance in the downtown districts. His tiles can be seen all over the city and add a unique artistic splash to the roughly hewn walls of District 7.
London-based Hungarian street artist QWERT.ART does not include as much social commentary as some of the other pieces. Nevertheless, his zany characters are a very welcome addition to the walls of the city. QWERT.ART jazzes up iconic heritage-inspired figures such as Russian nesting dolls by adding his iconic googly moogly bug eyes on their faces. The effect is as quirky as his name.
The Best Of The Rest
A Special Mention
Something a bit different. These ‘stumbling blocks’ are a tribute to the ordinary citizens murdered during the Jewish Holocaust. They are placed in front of the former residences of victims and can be seen all over the Jewish district in Budapest as well as throughout Europe.
Hopefully, now, you’ll be able to look beyond the big murals and marvel at the hidden street in Budapest’s 7th District. You’ll be able to find all of the locations very soon in the 7th District Hidden Street Art footprint, only on the Like Locals app. Download now on iOS and Android devices. We’d also like to give a shoutout to Attila from Budapest Flow for sharing his insight and knowledge. Photos by Willie Gervetz