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Killer princesses invade Stockholm streets

Graffiti paintings of Disney’s fairytale princesses brandishing guns and knives have been mysteriously appearing on walls around Stockholm, garnering global attention after photos went viral on Facebook. The man behind them is a Swedish Street Artist known only as “Herr Nilsson”.

Killer princesses invade Stockholm streets

The mysterious artist spoke with The Local via Facebook.

What are you trying to say with your work? Some people have speculated you’re saying “Don’t trust anyone”, others reckon it’s a criticism of pop-culture. Who’s right?

I like these discussions – and they are both right. Because of my kids I´m surrounded by toys, games and movies for the moment. Of course there’s a lot of creativity in the toy and entertainment industries for children – but most of the cartoon characters, female in particular, are very stereotyped and predictable. Always so innocent, fair and harmless. The Dark Princesses are a comment on violence, but they are also a comment to how we look upon good and bad in the world. Everybody expects a fairytale princess to always look good and behave well. If I was one of them I would revolt after a couple of days. And in my world they do.


Your mascot is “Herr Nilsson”, the pet monkey of Pippi Longstocking, holding a Molotov-Cocktail in his hands. Why?

My daughter has a cuddly toy of Herr Nilsson and he was with us everywhere a couple of years ago. She could not be without him. He is a harmless character compared to Pippi in the stories. That made me start to think of the revolting monkey, throwing a burning molotov cocktail at Villevillakulla with Pippi’s ponytail as a fuse.

So Herr Nilsson is rebelling against his owner?

My main intention was to let a harmless creature act very violently. Why he did it is up to you as a observer to interpret. But yes, your reading sounds reasonable.

Say, how old are you?

I can’t tell you that, I’m afraid.

Alright, so when did you start with Street Art?

I started about 1 and a half years ago. The monkey with the molotov cocktail was my first piece.

I have created a lot of exhibitions in different types of galleries but these ideas didn’t work out there. I wanted to stage a situation where my artwork interacted with people on the street and the real environment, not a fictional environment in a gallery.

Were your pictures similar to those you’re doing now or something different?

I have worked with a lot of media but it has always been images, mostly drawings and paintings. Sometimes a gallery or museum is great but then the audience is prepared to look at art. But when you put up a piece in the street you talk directly to the audience without that prepared shield. The street audience also includes people without any interest in art, the ones that never would go in to a gallery or museum.

So, galleries and museums are outdated because they do not reach the public?

In Stockholm the discussion about art is very cramped. It’s highly intellectualized in the newspapers. If you travel down to Skåne in the south of Sweden art is enjoyed by ordinary people without any education in arts. Everybody can talk about the pieces without having the feeling that they don’t understand. Sometimes the works of art demand a very high level insight or preparation, like Bruce Nauman for example. He is great, but my pieces in this project are comments about violence, good and evil, feminine and masculine. I also use very strong symbols from pop culture and cartoons. These comments and symbols are for everybody, not only the art audience.

Stockholm has a “Zero Tolerance” Policy to Street Art, in 24 hours a picture is supposed to be removed. Ever thought of doing your art in another city?

Yes but it’s more of a practical thing because I live here.

If someone would ask you to put your street art in a gallery, would you do it?

I have been thinking of it and it has to be solved in an other way. These pieces are made for the specific sites.

In your opinion, how should the city handle street art?

Like a voice. We have the right to say what we like. In the public space it´s only rich companies who can speak to the public with their brainwashing ad campaigns.

But they pay for the advertisement space.

Yes of course. It means that only the rich have the right to speak.


By Steffen Daniel Meyer

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Malmö street artists’ mouse detective trail is a ‘biting’ satire

With their new immersive detective mystery Mustisk (Mousterious), the Malmö collective AnonyMouse have taken their mouse-themed street art in an ambitious and gently satirical direction.

Malmö street artists' mouse detective trail is a 'biting' satire
Is Mayor Felix C Atus (below right) all that he seems? Photo: AnonyMouse
Both the new mouse-sized establishment that is the final destination in the treasure hunt (so far unseen by Instagrammers), and the reward issue of Lindenkronan, the city newspaper the collective has invented for the mystery, are nothing short of brilliant. 
It's a fun detective mystery, featuring recorded mouse messages, four locations (three of whom feature new mouse establishments), two maps, and two newspaper front pages. 
The last place you visit might be AnonyMouse's best yet, up there with II Topolino and Noix de Vie, the collective's first mouse restaurant and delicatessen, or the Sacre Blues jazz club that appeared on the streets of Bayonne, France. 
It's also the first mouse establishment in Malmö not to be hidden in the cellar ventilation holes of a building, instead making ingenious use of a common piece of street furniture. 
But as well as being a brilliant treasure hunt, Mustisk is also a piece of left-leaning satire. 
First you have to find the offices of private detective Olivia Flaversham (a named shared by the heroine of Disney's The Great Mouse Detecive) and then send an email to an address on the poster volunteering your services. 
You are then sent an issue of the  Lindenkronan newspaper. 
The newspaper introduces city mayor Felix C Atus, whose suspicious appearance should alert observant participants to the fact that he may not be a true “mouse of the people”. 
Atus, the newspaper reports, had earlier decided to spend “a large proportion of this year's budget on a proper spectacle”, where all the “upper crust gnawers of Malmö” could enjoy a slap-up festive meal.  
The city has also purchased a “record wheel of cheese”, which it has placed in an exhibition centre, hoping to bring tourists and other visitors to the city. The cheese, however, has been stolen from Malmö's cheese bank Fort Nux by a mysterious villain. 
Another article warns of growing “homelessness and food shortages” in the city. 
“Privatization is having its impact and many no longer have the resources to have their own little hole any longer,” laments Klas Klättermus, chief executive of the Tass i Tass (Paw in Paw) homeless shelter (which appeared in Malmö last December). 
All of this amounts to a fairly unsubtle jab at Malmö's Social Democrat-led government, which in the last decade, has invested heavily in Malmö Live, a glitzy concert hall and conference centre, at the same time as social services face cut backs and class sizes in the city's schools grow inexorably. 
The gentle satire underpinning the whole treasure hunt is reminiscent of Bamse, the Swedish cartoon bear who is in a constant battle with the arch-capitalist Krösus Sork and who is rumoured by some to be an actual communist, with one 1983 issue lauding Chairman Mao. 
Judging by the fact that AnonyMouse's Lindenkronen newspaper,  if you look carefully,  was founded by none other than Krösus S. Sork, this similarity appears not to be accidental. 
At Fort Nux there's a phone number and if you ring it, a recorded message left by Flaversham directs you to a third location. 
At the third location, you find a map with a fairly obvious lead to the location of the establishment run by the person or persons behind the robbery. 
Who would want to steal so much cheese? Is it an insurance job? Is Mayor Atus all that he seems? Could he himself be the thief? What is the meaning of the mysterious acorn symbol? 
It's not too tricky to find out.
Although slightly over the head of a five-year-old and a seven-year-old (they enjoyed the models), you would only have to be a few years older to finish it in less than an hour. 
And if you live in Malmö, you should really get off your phone and do it.