Denmark: Colourless murals dominate the street art scene in Odense

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Black and white street art by ROA /

In many cities around the world street art is seen as a way to bring colour and life to grey concrete facades and bland cityscapes – but in my hometown of Odense in Denmark, the most impressive murals are surprisingly colourless.

It’s not something that has been planned I’m sure, but rather a case of coincidences combined with the fact that it’s found on walls that has been comissioned for street art. And Odense is not really the underground type of street art city, like for example Bristol in England. Still, these murals bring some welcome artistic touches to neat neighbourhoods.

SEE ALSO: Bristol – UK’s street art Capital

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Street art at Odense Harbour by ROA /

Most of the best street art in Odense has been commissioned, and though some might say that real street art isn’t supposed to be commissioned at all, I think it’s no problem – because street art is such an open concept, that comes in many forms – from very basic “tags” to commissioned murals that act like advertisements for businesses. For me the most important thing is that it has an inspiring or decorative effect – or ideally both. 

Odense is not a big street art city (yet), but it still has some really nice (and big) pieces to show off – and although most of downtown might be “too nice for street art”, the revamped harbour area could turn into a great street art area in the near future, as it could need some splashes of colour.

SEE ALSO: Street art in the heart of Belfast

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For now, the masterpiece of the harbour is impossible to miss, as it adorns three sides of a tall concrete silo in a central position, with commissioned works by the world-renowed Belgian street artist called ROA. An artist especially known for painting animals (sometimes dead) that are native to the country or area he paints in – and often on a large scale. And as a street art lover, I’m proud to have an artist of this level featured in Odense.

There is a few street art elements at the harbour with more colour too…

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A more colourful container-fish (artist unknown) /

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Sea-inspired street art (artist unknown) /

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“Overflowing paint” by the local artist Byrumspolifylla /

My favourite piece is found in downtown though, just behind what is known as Odense’s own “Latin Quarter” – Brandts Klædefabrik, which is a former industrial area. It’s a stunning mural known as ‘The Girl and The Panther’, that features…you guessed it, a girl and a panther. Done in black and white by Miss Take (Esther Sarto) with elements by Otto Maja and Space Invader. It was created back in 2012 and It’s very attractive, but a bit tricky to photograph as a whole, due to its position in a narrow street.

SEE ALSO: Street art: Learn to read the streets of London

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‘The Girl and The Panther’ by Danish artist Miss Take /

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A close up let’s you take in the details of this amazing piece /

Nearby, in a courtyard behind the comedy and music venue Magasinet, two “spacemen” adorn a wall each. One seemingly floating in space, looking at you with a “face” that seems to be some kind of birdfeeder or tower – while the other one appears to be playing golf on the moon. They are both very nice pieces and have both been around for years, but I’m not sure who the artists are.

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A floating spaceman at the Brandts-neighbourhood (artist unknown) /

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Golf-playing spaceman in Odense (artist unknown) /

Odense is the birthplace of world famous fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen, and the local legend has made it to a wall in his old neighbourhood. A commissioned mural in black and white by the Danish artist Don John. Actually I’m a bit surprised that a street art mural has made its way to this historic neighbourhood, but it’s a very stylish piece, and as a black and white wall it kind of stands out and blends in at the same time. A great photo-opportunity for tourists too.

SEE ALSO: Street art in Zaragoza

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H.C. Andersen mural by Don John /

At the river of Odense Å, by one of the entrances to Eventyrhaven (The Fairytale Garden), a new mural is best described as informative wall decoration. But it’s really well done and indicates 22 different species of fish living in the river. It’s mainly a black and white piece waving along the 35 meter long wall, done by the Danish artist No Title in 2018. Definitely worth checking out on a walk along the river.

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This piece stretches across the entrance to Eventyrhaven /

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22 different fish can be found along this piece by No Title /

The centre of Odense is going through a bit of a “heart transplant” these years, creating a whole new central neighbourhood following the closure of a major road – and while it might obstruct the idyllic atmosphere of the city centre, it has given street artists the opportunity to decorate the fences around the building site. And my hope is this could lead to more street art elsewhere in the city, once these fences are taken down. It sure makes it more entertaining than plane cover-ups. Here are a few examples…

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Greetings from ODENSE /

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Ravens by PRWND /

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The fenced-off building-site has become a public art gallery /

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Container-built watch tower at the building site /

Despite being a “company facade”, I would also like to include a few shots of the beautiful and exotic front of Odense Zoo, decorated by the excellent German artist Tasso, who’s work can also be found inside the zoo. A facade which definitely worth checking out when you visit Odense.

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Incredible facade painting by Tasso /

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Life-like zoo facade painting by Tasso /

If you have visited already or live here – what is your favourite mural in Odense?
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By Brian Schæfer Dreyer