Ed Broner | Ideas and symbols of modern urban subcultures

Interview D. Foertig
puplished on
May 3, 2021
ed broner, painting, photography, ceramics, french contemporary artist, works, lives in berlin, featured artist, spotlight, interview, story, exhibitions

Who is Ed Broner?

Ed Broner is a very talented contemporary French artist born in Paris.

He started to paint in the late '80s and was part of the Parisian graffiti subculture, he then moved to Berlin, where he has since directed his focus on painting.

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Ed Broner

He has published the photo book «Vagabondage» (Hatje Cantz). In this book, Ed Broner presents photographs from a very personal viewpoint of Berlin its nightlife, its people.

Ed Broner uses photos and canvases as his personal diary.

french contemporary painter, photographer, curator, graffiti artist
Black book | Oil stick and spray on canvas | 1,70 m x 2 m / 66,93 x 78,74 inch | Berlin | 2020

Especially in his paintings, he highlights the beauty of realness and authenticity, while at the same time honoring the ideas and symbols of modern urban subcultures.

In his style, he combines influences from graffiti and contemporary painting as well as from Aboriginal and African art, thus opening a dialogue between “Western” and “non-Western” cultures.

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Exhibition view | Solo show | Miami, USA | 2021

In reflecting and often subversively ironizing current aesthetics, Ed Broner questions the nature of humanity in a postmodern world.

Ed Broner tells us a bit about himself:

As a teenager, I started to paint graffiti in Paris and was one of the first generations in Europe which embraced this underground and new art movement.

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Lost paradise | Oil stick on canvas | 150 cm x 130 cm / 59.09 x 51.18 inch | Berlin | 2021

At that time, painting became therapy and a big passion.

I grew up without real parents, so I had to educate myself and wanted to know everything about art history and artists from different cultures.

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Culture | Solo show | Exhibition view

Therefore, in the 90s I traveled to Africa and to India, where I painted with artists and stayed as well with an aboriginal artist community in the Australian northern territories to learn about them.

Beginning in 2000 I planned to move to NY to finally focus on canvases and become a professional painter.

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Black book | Oil stick and spray on canvas | 1,70 m x 2 m / 66,93 x 78,74 inch | Berlin | 2020

In the meantime, I discovered Berlin through my ex-girlfriend Anna who was from Hamburg.

In Germany the painting scene was still vivid and going on. They kept this painting tradition that we had lost in Paris for a while.

Independence for artists, freedom, against, cultural rip off,
Ed Broner on the left | Jordy Kerwick on the right | Contaminations group show | Garten gallery | Como, Italy | 2021

Besides a few important artists like Pierre Soulage, there was the young artist generation, and there were the galleries and French museums that were into conceptual art.

It wasn’t really exciting for me to be there anymore.

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Lost paradise | Oil stick on canvas | 150 cm x 130 cm / 59.09 x 51.18 inch | Berlin | 2021

Germans, like the Americans, are pushing and promoting their artists all around, this is not the case in France.

Also coming from a graffiti background, I constantly felt social discrimination from the elitist contemporary art world.

A lot of classical painters nowadays are taking their inspirations and memes from our aesthetics, but they don’t support us or talk about the cultural rip-off that is going on.

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Black book | Oil stick ,and spray on canvas | 1,70 m x 2 m / 66,93 x 78,74 inch | Berlin | 2020

The digital era is creating change, especially the artist relations and dependence on art dealers and art institutions.

Nowadays we can be independent, we can sell works to collectors worldwide in two dm, curate our own exhibitions or blogs on Instagram, and show our studios and works in our stories.

It has given every artist a voice and a window to the world, when before it was just for the chosen ones by art world elites.

This Covid crisis made the world even more digital and less physical.

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Exibition view of his solo show « Culture «  at Castanier Gallery in Miami | 2021

Often in dark times I feel the need to create a more positive reality with my paintings, and I become more sensitive to creating easy works with warm colors.

In Berlin I have a big apartment and turned it into my studio.

There everything is dedicated to painting. The kitchen for paper works, one-bedroom became the storage room, another bedroom became the large spray paint space. There is an abstracts studio and the living room is for oil paintings, with a bed in a corner and a sofa, nothing more.

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Post vandalism | Spray on canvas | 160 cm x 130 cm / 62.99 x 51.18 inch | Berlin | 2020

Like Louise Bourgeois, I wanted to be connected and dedicated completely to my work without having unnecessary comfort or other distractions.

To me success is something abstract. Art and painting have been a part of my life for the past 32 years and the only thing I want is to practice, improve and develop.

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Ed Broner | Studio

If I could leave a body of work that will survive me and will have its own life, that will be a success.

For now, I am working on a series of figures which are related to cultures.

I will soon be launching a souvenir shop with some ceramics and carpets that I recently produced.

I am also curating a group show entitled "Now Now" at the Breach Gallery in Miami.

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Post vandalism | Spray on canvas | 160 cm x 130 cm / 62.99 x 51.18 inch | Berlin | 2020

It's a new contemporary art gallery that Fabien Castanier and I are opening this month.

It will be a place where we want to allow dedicated artists to show their work, without caring about social backgrounds, race, genders, or sexual orientations.

I am also part of a group show in Sydney in October and must produce works for it.

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Post vandalism | Spray on canvas | 2 m x 2,20 m / 78,74 x 94,49 inch | Berlin | 2020

Thank you for the interview and if I would say the last word it would be… believe in yourself you are great…


Ed Broner

Favorite quote:

"Peu être que je suis sans repères c’est la vie, faut pas s´en faire .." -PNL

Translation: Maybe I am without guidelines this is life, don't be careful


Culture solo show Culture  at Fabien Castanier gallery Miami, USA  06.12. 21

Contaminations group show at Garten gallery in Como Italy 06.03.21 until 01.05.21

Now Now group show at Breach Gallery, Miami USA 22.05.21 22.06.21

Human group show at  Piermarq gallery, Sydney ,Australia 03 .10.21

Follow the artist on Instagram:


Courtesy @Ed Broner

A very big thank you to Ed for sharing his story and his art with us!