In both his large-scale murals and canvases, Hendrik Beikirch – also known as ECB – depicts the personal and the private, portraits that tell a story. Instead of illustrating famous people, he draws attention to those who have a magnetic personality or some other recognition value, characters who become all the more interesting because they remain anonymous.
Beikirch takes inspiration from accidental and brief encounters. In some cases, he gains insight into his sitter’s life. At other times, the particulars remain unknown. As such, his paintings are open to interpretation whilst exuding authenticity.
The 39-year-old German artist enlarges his portraits as tall as 70 meters (230 ft.). He applies India ink, acrylic paint, and spray paint – a rough tool that does not allow for pinpoint accuracy, but it does effectively reveal Beikirch’s background in graffiti, and the glance, expression and mood of his subjects.
Beikirch’s upcoming solo exhibition, Transsib – Greyhound. Paintings from train and bus rides, is a showcase of his latest works. As the title suggests, they are inspired by his travels and encounters on Russia’s Trans-Siberian Railway and America’s Greyhound buses. Both transport the working classes, connecting people and products and bringing them in line. In Beikirch’s canvases, it is difficult to determine whether subjects hail from the East or the West, with only tiny details giving any clue. Like his previous works in graffiti, Beikirch blurs the boundaries.