Lock On (street art)

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Gun getting shredded in mincer. Site specific Lock On installation attached to urban furniture in troubled urban area. By danish artist TEJN
Lock On street art sculpture, welded in scrap iron by TEJN

Lock On is a genre of street art, where artists create installations by attaching sculptures to public furniture using lengths of chain and old bike locks. The installations themselves are referred to as "a Lock On" (singular) or "Lock Ons" (plural).[1]


A Lock On is art in a public space, typically attached to a fence or street lamp with some sort of padlock, without permission. The Lock On style is a "non destructive" form of underground art.[2][3]

Lock On artists[edit]

Character winding up a peace sign. Lock On street art, by TEJN
In a small city forest threatened by urban planners, a 200 pound revolver welded in iron was chained to one of the trees, carrying the stencil text: “My Ancestors Went Hunting in These Woods”. By Danish street artist TEJN
Lock On street art, by TEJN 2012
Handcuffed character reaching for chained bolt cutter. Lock On street art installation, by TEJN

Artist TEJN[4] is considered the "founder" of the Lock On style. [5][6] Taking scrap metal from urban areas, TEJN welds and shapes the iron into figurative sculptures [7] which he "returns to the street" as site-specific art [8][9] secured with chain or an old bike lock.[10] The genre was introduced when he started placing welded iron sculptures, chained and locked, throughout Copenhagen and Berlin.[11]


Lock On street sculptures can be made from various materials like wood, plastic, clay, concrete, iron, styrofoam or polystyrene. Typically a part of the concept is to re-use found materials. In some cases the materials are released in the same neighborhood where it was originally collected, now upcycled into sculptures, following the thought of improving cityscape by the use of materials that used to impair the very same area.

The locks used when mounting street sculptures are, in some cases, dismounted from broken bikes, found nearby.[12]

Related projects[edit]

The peace organisation Pink Army places pink war toys in selected urban areas as part of their "war against war".[13]

In Portland, Oregon, street artists have chained toy horses to old metal rings, formerly used for tying real horses.[14]

See also[edit]



External links[edit]