Essen really is not known as a stronghold of urban art, but we have a handful of people who work hard to let grow an awareness of art in public space. Hafendampf has firmly been established in Essens graffiti scene and far beyond this circle. This annual festival regularly is an attraction for local, national and international graffiti artists. Cologne has it’s CityLeaks Festival and Düsseldorf the 40° Urban Art Festival; in the Ruhr area Hafendampf is an event that has no equal. Started 2013 in Essen’s city port, the event had to be outsourced in 2014 and 2015 due to construction works at the harbour site.
My first visit at the harbour was in 2014, when the location was a building site and used as a huge storage for sand and other construction materials. I didn’t have any experiences in street art or graffiti nor a proper camera, and so, looking back to my pictures of Hafendampf 2013, I must confess that I’m not satisfied at all. Unfortunately that’s all I have!
Even in bright weather that location below motorway A42 at Hafenstrasse, where Hafendampf is domiciled traditionally, is a dusky place. Passers walk their dogs, cyclists on their daily routes rush past on their way for excercises and traffic – cars as well as trucks – is on buisiness. If you wouldn’t know, you wouldn’t guess to find a high class graffiti gallery there. There are five pilllars on each side. 10 pillars in total, additionally a huge front – and shutoff wall. They all are painted mostly on each side.