The 10th Edition of Calle Libre Festival: Celebrating Transformation through Urban Art

The Calle Libre Festival wrapped up its 10th edition in Ottakring, Vienna, from July 27 to August 5, 2023. The year’s theme was “Transformation,” a reflection on the rapid changes experienced socially and ecologically over the past ten years. Artists were invited to express their own perception of transformation, past and future, by creating ten large-scale murals in the 16th district of Vienna.

Over the past decade, the festival has helped shape the appearance and perception of Vienna through its annual festival, workshops, tours, exhibitions, and commissions. The festival featured live paintings, a music festival, workshops, and an urban art guided tour.

Image © Paola Komanek

This year’s participating artists included: APHENOAH, Daniel Melim, Frau Isa, Gera1, Gleo, Guillem Font, Käthe Löffelmann, Ledania, Luogo Comune and Yessiow.

“Vibrant Tapestry” by Yessiow

Yessiow, an accomplished mural artist and illustrator from Bali, Indonesia, has pursued her passion for art since childhood and turned it into a career in 2013. She and her partner Stijn have been living a nomadic lifestyle since graduating in 2018, travelling the world to create murals and explore new opportunities. Yessiow’s design perfectly captures the unique essence of Ottakring, shaped by the diverse cultures and communities that have settled there over time. As the district changes and evolves, The Calle Libre festival strives to showcase Ottakring’s ever-changing identity.

“Yessiow’s design aptly encapsulates the distinctive identity of Ottakring. The district’s dynamic character has evolved over time, influenced by the influx of diverse cultures and communities. Against this backdrop of ongoing transformation, our festival endeavours to highlight the ever-changing identity of Ottakring.”

Calle Libre


Image © Paola Komanek

“Entrophy” by Luogo Comune

Luogo Comune, an award-winning Italian illustrator and mural artist, works as a freelancer in Bologna, creating works that span indoor and outdoor spaces and using various mediums. The artwork concept is centred on site-specific pieces depicting our planet’s transformation over time. The artist integrates their personal interpretation and unique style into their work, exploring what has been left behind and what the future holds.

“The concept develop the idea of a site specific artwork. The concept is about the transformation of our planet through the centuries with a personal interpretation, inscribing the intervention within my artistic research, using my strongly recognisable style. What we have left behind and what is going to be our future. Everything surround us is transforming constantly, and so are we. A circular movement that keep shapes things in time and space.”

Luogo Comune


Image © Paola Komanek

“Búsqueda paralela de la calma” by Ledania

Ledania is based in Bogota, Colombia. In Ledania’s artwork, a door is a unifying element that beckons the viewer into a world of diverse wonders. From tropical flowers to European birds to Asian architecture, the piece celebrates a borderless world where imagination and love for the planet reign. Ledania’s vision embraces cultural and natural diversity, cherishing the beauty found in every corner.

“If you take a closer look at my artwork, you will find a small object that serves as the thread connecting the entire illustration: a door. This door invites and leads the viewer into a magical and enigmatic world, filled with details that represent different corners of the globe. You will find tropical flowers, European birds, Asian buildings, and two characters who are simply citizens of the world. My greatest source of inspiration is the idea of a world without borders, where imagination is our passport to navigate the magic of colors and love for this planet. I yearn for a world where we can explore and celebrate the cultural and natural diversity that surrounds us, where we can enjoy the beauty of every corner of the world. I am eager to share my artwork with everyone who attends the Calle Libre festival in Vienna, and I hope it will be an opportunity to reflect on our role in this world and the importance of preserving its wonderful diversity”



Image © Paola Komanek

“Nice is cool” by Käthe Löffelmann

Katharina “Käthe” Löffelmann is an accomplished multidisciplinary artist from Vienna, Austria, with a broad range of skills in photography, videography, installation, painting, documentation, site-specific art, street art, and murals. Her mural speaks about how we’re bombarded with negative information daily, which can be overwhelming. To cope, many of us numb our feelings and are told to toughen up. But this mural challenges us to optimistically change our relationship with our emotions and apathy.

“We are flooded with incredible amounts of information on a daily basis, especially negative ones. Because properly dealing with all these emotions would take incredibly long time, we eventually numb ourselves as a way to cope. A lot of us are told to toughen up, be less sensitive, to become harder.Essentially the mural is about transforming the relationship with our emotions and apathy in an optimistic way, that also changes dealing with our environment in all its forms. Despite being soothing at first glance, it is also a call to action: to stay soft, to be outraged, to form alliances, to organise, to connect, to not do the people in power the favour of stopping to care. But we also need to look out for one another in terms of being nice, to not judge prematurely, to try and understand the other perspective. Being nice is cool!”

Käthe Löffelmann


Image © Paola Komanek

“Ottakring Edelweiss” by Guillem Font

Guillem Font is from Catalonia. The mural reinterprets Edelweiss, Austria’s national flower, with flowers from the Ottakring neighbourhood. Ottakring is known for its diversity and multiculturalism, which inspired the transformation of the white flower into a patterned and spotted design that covers the grey scale. The design represents blending cultures, tones, and aromas from various parts of the world that come together in the neighbourhood.

“The “Edelweiss” or “snow flower” is the national flower of Austria. It grows high in the mountains of the Alps and is characterized by its strange shape and its white colour, which has sometimes been appropriated by far-right groups as a symbol of purity.The Ottakring neighbourhood, in the city of Vienna, is a neighbourhood known for its cultural diversity, where people, aromas and colours from different parts of the world coexist.The “Edelweiss” flowers that I made in this neighbourhood contains shades of gray ranging from black to white, blooming as a symbol of transformation, anti-racism, mixture and coexistence.”

Guillem Font


Image © Paola Komanek

“LOVE” by Gleo

Gleo, a Colombian visual artist, believes in the interconnectedness of humans and nature. She creates a sensory and universal language that transforms our spaces into portals of inner contemplation. Her mural ‘Love’ holds immense power in transforming ourselves and our world. By embracing it as the driving force behind our actions and interactions, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and opportunities for growth and positive change. Love can heal, unite, and inspire us to be our best selves, making it a transformative force.

“Evoke Love as the Transforming Force” – these simple yet powerful words remind us of the immense power that love holds in transforming ourselves and the world around us. When we embrace love as the driving force behind our actions and interactions, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and opportunities for growth and positive change. Love has the power to heal, unite, and inspire us to be our best selves. Let us all strive to evoke love in our daily lives, and witness its transformative magic unfold.”



Image © Paola Komanek

“Distraction” by Gera1

The artist behind this piece is GERA 1, a visual artist from Athens, Greece, who started as a graffiti writer and has graduated from the School of Fine Arts—his practice centres on reinterpreting reality through the visualisation of recurring colour contrasts. In the mural “Distraction,” a woman is depicted holding a mobile phone and a book inside a house. Despite these potential distractions, she seems detached from them, with a natural and troubled expression that represents modern women’s challenges in their daily lives.

“Distraction” depicts a woman inside a house, holding a mobile phone and a book. Although she is surrounded by two objects that are predominantly distracting us from the rest of the world, she seems detached even from them. Her expression seems natural, troubled and refers to the figure of the modern, everyday woman who has to cope with different challenges and concerns. Through an explosive combination of vibrant, fluo colours and shapes with bold lines and curves, as well as multiple layers of movement and forms, elevates this everyday female figure into the protagonist of a monumental mural; thus transforming the subject and its perspective in the contemporary world. This internal scene is magnified, given greater value and shared in a wider community. The spectator gains access to this scene, as a co-star and is invited to participate, awakening his empathy. The work highlights a moment of the modern everyday life and makes it an organic medium of the urban landscape and its beautification.”



Image © Paola Komanek

“REGARD” by Frau Isa

Hailing from Vienna, Frau Isa’s vintage-inspired, nostalgia-infused designs bring the dreamy, pastel city to life, gracing the pages of magazines, gallery walls, and skyscraper facades. The artwork of Frau Isa conveyed a strong and sophisticated female character, surrounded by memorabilia reflecting the ever-changing nature of life. Despite constant flux, certain aspects of the character’s existence remained steadfast—an enduring love for nature, home, and stability, and a pursuit of life’s balance. Frau Isa’s art served as a calming presence in the bustling city, with subtle colours evoking serenity and comfort, offering solace in turbulent times.

“In my sketch, for the mural in Ottakring, you see a strong and sophisticated female character surrounded by memorabilia from the past ten years. Everything changed around her, but there are aspects of her life that do not alter over the years. The love for nature, home, steadiness. The wish to achieve a balance in life. I tried to bring some calmness to the loud and busy city, with subtle colours that spread ease and comfort in these troubled times.”

Frau Isa


Image © Paola Komanek

“Many in One” by Daniel Melim

Daniel’s proposal for the 10th edition of the Festival aligned with the theme of ‘Transformation.’ He created a collage using diverse references, skillfully blending different elements to create a metamorphosis within the image. The transformation served as a metaphor for the cultural diversity, dynamic spirit, and artistic expression of the neighbourhood and his home in Brazil. His project united a range of influences, including comics, pop art, and typography, to create a tapestry of cultural fusion and dialogue.

“The project presented started from a collage where I mix different references, to create a transformation in the image from different elements. Creating an allusion to the neighborhood for its cultural diversity, dynamics and art. Just as Brazil is a diverse place. Uniting references for construction and dialogue between cultures. A cultural combination that starts with comics, goes through pop art and typography as an image.”

Daniel Melim


Image © Paola Komanek

“Build!” by APHENOAH

German artist APHENOAH believes that shaping transformation means collaborating on an idea that can become a reality. In their design for the Ottakring facade, young people play Jenga. The game involves sixty blocks that are carefully stacked and moved. The tower is always on the verge of falling, but the triangular composition of the scene provides stability. The players work together; even when the tower falls, they are all part of the same team. The message: transformation is most successful when we do it together.

“Any actual state can feel like an eternity, even though everything in us and our society is in a constant state of change. Transformation is omnipresent, whether we consider it good or not. In the process, we are always leaving something behind and reshaping the future. Without valuing today‘s transformation from an artistic point of view, we can nevertheless define desirable framework conditions: For us, actively shaping transformation means jointly designing an idea (an image), which can then become real. In our design for the facade in Ottakring, a group of young people can be observed playing a game of Jenga. The game of skill, consisting of sixty small blocks, grows up move by move. The status quo never lasts long. When the players play against each other, the tower falls quickly, but the participation of the pieces already indicates that all involved are working together. The triangular composition of the scene alone seems to lend stability to the fragile tower.

The message: transformation succeeds best together.”



Image © Paola Komanek

Positive Transformation

The Calle Libre Festival has once again showcased the transformative power of art in shaping society and reflecting on our collective experiences. Through the works of talented artists, the festival has provided a platform for deep contemplation and meaningful conversations about the changes we have witnessed and the ones that are yet to come.

With the 10th edition now behind them, we look forward to seeing how Calle Libre will continue to inspire and drive positive transformation in the years ahead.

Image copyright Paola Komanek



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