One of the most prolific street artists residing in Berlin, SP38 is facing eviction! With his entire production based in the Atelier Ronchon, a small urban garden allotment, the artist might be forced to move, selling it and relinquishing the benefits of creating in own, open-air studio.
The story of his street art garden studio is deeply personal and inspirational, having marked several important personal and professional events in the artist’s life. Additionally, his venture into the rural mimics the actions Impressionists took in the late 19th century, advocating plein-air painting and reconnection with nature. An unexpected drift from the city concrete has given a new perspective to SP38, while he describes his venture as a “post-punk version of following the traces of Monet”. What might become a trend in street art is again foreshadowed by one of the renowned Berlin-based French street artists, an operation now in peril of being shut down.
To help SP38 keep his street art garden studio, OPEN WALLS Gallery will organize an Online Lottery, with proceeds going towards the cause.
The Story of Atelier Ronchon
In 2007, at the time the urban gardening movement in Berlin was on the rise, SP38 and his life partner decided to join in. Such a project was only possible in this great European capital filled with the green, empty spaces and with its own and lively garden colony. Outdoor living was hardly a novelty for the street artist, since his main activities were inherently tied to the street, but moving away from the heavily urbanized area was a completely new endeavor.
Without any serious knowledge in gardening and driven by sheer enthusiasm, the couple acquired a small allotment between Prenzlauerberg and Friedrichsain, conveniently located and a part of the Kleingartenanlage Neu Berlin. An old lady who left it to them parted with the garden with a heavy heart, relinquishing a number of plants and personal items, from strawberries, to a number of old tools. With care for the garden’s history, the artist and his partner have started to built a small paradise of their own. They planted, weeded, flowered and seeded this small patch of land, caring for it and getting in touch with the natural cycles. After they welcomed their daughter, Lili-Or, into the world in 2008, the garden became more than just a hobby – it was a welcome escape for the family, a small piece of nature within the busy metropolis they enjoyed for years.
Years later, in 2016, the artist and his partner separated. A hostile situation and damaged relations made the future of the garden uncertain. Regardless, SP38 took it upon himself to look after the allotment, replanting and using it throughout the summer months. Gardening has proven to have a therapeutic effect on the artist, calming his spirit and encouraging him to create.
After Stattbad closed, SP38 was left without a studio space and he began using the garden to produce his work. He started working on his posters there, changing his urban collage and viewing street art from another angle – it was now produced in the “countryside” and then spread around the city. ACHEVE MOI – ERASED series was born in this place, from a paper roll found in the bin of the kindergarten neighbor. Subsequently, the garden became “Atelier Ronchon” (ronchon meaning grumpy in French), a name given to the space by the artist’s daughter. It is an open-air studio, a workshop and a work of art itself.
2017 brought a new season and a new strategic problem for the Atelier Ronchon. Legally owned by the artist’s ex-partner, the garden is now facing factual expropriation. In other words, the allotment will be sold this summer, if SP38 doesn’t raise enough funds to buy it himself.
Threats that his personal things will be removed from the lot and the locks changed sparked an old rebellious feeling within the artist, and in the manner of passive resistance he started planting the garden, while he continued creating his street art on the spot. While describing Atelier Ronchon, SP38 recounts: “The land is about 300 m2 big, with 2 lawns, 4 apple trees, 1 pear tree, 3 cherry trees, currants, mulberries, roses, 3 hydrangeas, rhododendrons, forsythias, and a hedgehog that walks around… It has 1 tool-storage hut and 1 small house, like a mini Swiss chalet – simple comfort, but liveable. And threre’s the feeling of being on holiday in town, 10 minutes by bike from Mitte and RAW, close to Orankesee and Czentrifuga…”
This garden is more than a pastime for SP38 – it is his atelier, his place of work, the center of inspiration and a home to the sweetest memories. This is a place where he spends time contemplating art and raising his daughter, a venue cloaked in warmth and love, now in jeopardy of being lost forever.
Save Atelier Ronchon – Join the Online Lottery!
To enter, buy a Limited Edition Print “StreetGartenArt” specially made by SP38 for this occasion. The print is released by OPEN WALLS Gallery in the edition of 50, at the cost of 100€ each.
Every participant will get a signed print by the artist, while the winner will get an original piece by Blek le Rat!
170x72cm – Spraypaint on paper – Berlin 2002 – 1/15
The lottery starts on 10.07.2017 and ends on 30.08.2017. The prize draw and the announcement of the winner will be on 30.08.2017, followed by a Street Garten Art event on 31.08.2017.
You can purchase the print and enter the raffle HERE!