Raubdruckerin- Making Art out of Manholes

Creating original art is fantastic, but many do not fully appreciate the beauty around us. Raubdruckerin is here to change that.

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Nowadays, fewer and fewer people in society today stop to look at the subtle beauty in what is already around them. In our frequently busy lives, we are either rushing from place to place or going nowhere at all. As a result, we save art for the galleries and installations. However,  cityscapes in themselves are inspired and complex things which are commonly commonly taken for granted or underappreciated. Raubdruckerin, an art project born out of Berlin, seeks to bring awareness back to our space and capture the artistic side of a commonly ignored part of our space- manhole covers.

A picture of a bag being printed straight from a manhole cover in Porto.

Started by Emma-France Raff in 2006 after developing the idea with her father, Raubduckerin prints shirts, jumpers, and bags directly from the source by using manhole covers as printing surfaces! This is possible because the designs on them vary from city to city, making them just one example of subtle, undiscovered beauty in our spaces. Without this project, I likely would not have realised the artisic merit in, say, covers from Amsterdam or Porto. They also print from other 'surfaces of the urban landscape' including grids and carved stone. 

One major advantage of printing on-site is that the community can watch and involve themselves in the art being made. Raubdruckerin runs regular 'street printing' workshops where families can paint and create their own art from the subtle beauty of the streets, as well has having the prints commercially available online for the whole world to enjoy.

Families rolling paint and printing shirts at a community event.

 What's more, The printing process is entirely ethical and does not leave any lasting damage to the environment since all surfaces are cleaned before and after printing, meaning that the space is exactly the same or maybe even a bit tidier than they originally found it! 

This is a really interesting initiate which I am very excited to follow in the future.

A picture of the finished printed clothes and bags in a display cabinet.

To find out more, follow this link to their website. 

If you liked this, you may also like Arts in our Spaces- The Urbanist!

Cath Brislane

Subject Lead/ Undergraduate Scholar, University of York

I am a final-year undergraduate scholar pursuing a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Linguistics at the University of York. Besides being a scholar, I am the Arts and Humanities Subject Lead on the Scholar's Network and the 2020-22 Arts and Humanities faculty rep at the University of York! My first summer of research was based in phonetics, entitled 'The untapped potential of human language: Investigating the perception of typologically unattested and rare sounds'. In it, I get to look at phonemes that are not commonly found in speech, if at all!

My Leadership in Action project was based around the experiences of students with disabilities and long-term health conditions when accessing Higher Education in the UK. I'm currently creating teacher training based on the paper I wrote for this project, and working with UCAS to help inform UK university admissions policy.