Day two of the Pictoplasma Character Walk and we find ourselves jumping across the city from Mitte to Kreuzberg and back again - there are exhibitions from over 1000 international artists to be found in all quarters of Berlin. Settling in Kreuzberg we find a small gallery space with a solitary exhibition of hand cut paper flowers, plants and tropical birds suspended from the ceiling.
Diana Beltran Herrera
Bold, bright and colourful this has to be my favourite exhibition of the lot created by Columbian artist Diana Beltran Herrera. Despite describing her work "as an exploration of the chillingly disengaged relationships between humans and nature" I found it to be pleasing to the eye, beautiful, incredibly detailed and exuding positivity.
The Pictoplasma Portrait Gallery
Wondering through streets lined by ornate and decorative pastels; a warm breeze puts a spring in our step as we head to the Pictoplasma Portrait Gallery at Kaufhaus Jandorf, BrunnenStrase 19-21.
Guided through into what appears to be an old derelict building lit by florescent pinks and blues characters of all shapes and sizes, good and bad fight for attention across walls, walkways, floors, on videos, animations and even in shopping trolleys.
I join in with the "inflationary trend for self-portraits" as I stand in front of the #CharacterSelfies wall.
The Pictoplasma White Noise Exhibition first seen in Madrid Spain also makes an appearance.
Exploding Head Extinct Animal Illustrations
Continuing at the Portrait Gallery I discovered an artist called Andrea Wan, born in Hong Kong, raised in Vancouver she now lives in Berlin.
With only one delicate watercolour piece on display depicting a relaxed but fractured head from which animals escape I was intrigued to find out more. After a quick Google search I found an entire series of Exploding Head Extinct Animals Illustrations. Have a look for yourself on Andrea Wan's blog.
Moving from Hong Kong to Japan I first discovered Kimiaki Yaegashi through Kuvva (wallpapers for iphone and mac) Kimiaki's pop surreal images had adorned my desktop for weeks prior to seeing his first ever solo exhibition 'Octagon' at the Panatom Gallery.
In the exhibition he explores the number eight which is considered lucky in Japanese culture.
Friendly Turtles and other Animals
On route back to our hotel we find ourselves in a park where water fountains and stair ways are adorned by a strange yet inviting collection of sculptured animals.
As we walk through the columns watched by white stone deer, lions, chimps, frogs and pups it feels like a scene from Alice in Wonderland captured and set in stone. It seems Berlin's mysterious side begins to unveil herself as we prepare for a visit to the The Berlin Wall.
The East Side Gallery (Berlin Wall)
As a tourist there is nothing that can prepare you for the effect history plays on your time in the ever evolving city of Berlin.
Despite the modernist architecture and liberal attitudes of the city folk history seeps through every crack, is round every corner biting at your heels.
Every time I visit the East Side Gallery on Mühlenstraße I´m surprised by the strange combination of moving powerful messages and artwork coupled with the free flowing drinks and party atmosphere just the other side of The Wall.
A friend tells me there are currently protests taking place across the city to save The Wall from demolition. Certain areas look to remove it in the name of progress, while others wish to preserve it in the hope it will serve as a reminder of the not so distant past.
Urban Spree Birthday Bash
Finally we set off into the night to the grand finale a special 10th anniversary party at Urban Spree a graffiti laden arts venue housing a gallery, theater, outdoor bar and cinema.
Taking in the Academy All Stars Exhibition in the gallery space, schmoozing with the elite of the illustration world and enjoying a bizarre live performance by Big Butter (US) the duo of Tim Biskup and his brother Mike our time in Berlin was sadly drawing to a close.
Berlin is a fantastic city with a huge amount of greenery, open park land, rivers that run throughout, fantastic architecture and an incredible history. This is my fourth time in the city and I know there is still so much more to discover so we've already planned to go back next Summer for a lazy wine fueled boat tour of the city.