Cartoon Figures and Action Heroes in Public Space Super Mario & Batman brawl over space on a wall

For many graffiti and street artists, a self-invented cartoonesque figure has become a trademark. KBTR and Oxalien are two glaring examples. In fact, they’re the names of both the silly figures as well as the artists themselves. The hot-tempered dwarf with his red pointed hat and the inflated bubble of pink chewing gum with horns and sharp teeth have, oftentimes together, spread across large parts of the Netherlands like a virus.

Utrecht
Rotterdam

Assuming that artists that are active in public space are not easily out of fantasy, it’s striking to find, however, that many of them prefer the easy path by replicating the image of a character that has been conceptualised by someone else. But why make life difficult if you can choose from a whole range of figures and action heroes from comics, cartoons, computer games and children’s books that are well-known to a broad public and will be recognised instantly? The photo series below bears testimony to the fact that this heterogeneous mixture of characters is drawn on heavily in many different places. Some of them I’ve stumbled upon only once, whilst others such as the Simpsons, the Hulk, Donald Duck, Super Mario, Marvin the Martian, Ronald McDonald (solely ridiculed of course) and personages from Star Wars, I have bumped into on the streets repeatedly. Go ahead and discover your favourite.

Amsterdam
Stavanger
Mons
Paris
Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Montpellier
Ede
Bergen, Norway
Amsterdam
Amsterdam
London
Drachten
Oslo
Berlin
Amsterdam
Dordrecht
Dordrecht
Utrecht
Utrecht
Utrecht
Utrecht
Utrecht
London
Alkmaar
Stavanger
Hamburg
Rotterdam
London
Amsterdam
Zürich
London
London
Brussels
London
Amsterdam
Brussels
Stuttgart
Aberdeen
Paris
Strasbourg
Mons
Mons
Amsterdam
Paris
Oslo
Warsaw
Liege
Paris
Brussels
Saint Petersburg
London
Stavanger
Utrecht
Paris
Regensburg
Copenhagen
Oslo
Grenoble
Drammen
Bergen, Norway
Paris
Drammen
Paris
Brussels
Saint Petersburg
Grenoble
Lyon
Brussels
London
Amsterdam
Oslo
Amsterdam
Brussels
Bergen, Norway
Aberdeen
Stavanger
Brussels
Brussels
Delft
Mexico City
Brussels
Brussels
Utrecht
Bremen
Utrecht
Brussels
Louvain
Moscow
Paris
Amsterdam
Brussels
Brussels
Paris
Wrocław
Stavanger
Mexico City
London
Mexico City
Zürich
Liege
Mexico City
Amsterdam
Basel
Marseille
Eindhoven
Antwerp
Paris
Brussels
Amsterdam
Reims
Mexico City
Liege
Rotterdam
Brussels
Eindhoven
Saint Petersburg
Stavanger
Amsterdam
Utrecht
Stuttgart
Warsaw
Paris
Middelburg
Lille
Amsterdam
The Hague
Amsterdam
London
Grenoble
Mexico City
Amsterdam
Marseille
Brussels
Rotterdam
London
Paris
Antwerp
Brussels
Brussels
Eindhoven
Stavanger
Rotterdam
Marseille
Saint Petersburg
Nice
Amsterdam
Bergen, Norway
London
Utrecht
Mérida
Brussels
Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Brussels
Antwerp
Groningen
Lyon
Stavanger
Utrecht
Düsseldorf
Bergen, Norway
Amsterdam
Zutphen
Utrecht
Stavanger
Den Bosch
Dordrecht
Utrecht
Utrecht
Oaxaca
Charleroi
Paris
Oslo
London
Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Wrocław
Leiden
Brussels