Life for artists is not only difficult in Corona-times. For a long time especially graffiti artists were often accused of illegality. Nowadays, in some cities, they are currently in demand. Namely to make ugly blocks appear friendlier, to thematically design public walls or to bring color into rooms. The British graffiti artist with the synonym “Banksy” even became the cult star of the scene with his stencil graffities during the last three years. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banksy

In my case it is the 35 square meter wall (including door) of a youth center and a room of my husbands law office.

Finally the appointment came true and I meet Grazian (who has already sprayed in the team with top artists of this genre in Berlin) and Erik already in full action. Since this is a commissioned work and not a free project, a rough drawing is first thrown on the wall by an overhead projector. This is faster and guarantees the even alignment of lettering and image.

Then it’s time to select the required colors, which means to choose from an armada of spray cans and especially different spray heads. The so-called “caps” have different sized spray valves (e.g., 0.02 mm), which can control precision and radiant intensity. By the way, many spray heads have names like “Skinny” or “Junkie”; the latter has a fine snout attachment on the spray valve.

Exercise, years of experience and personal skills of course remain the most important design element.

This “art fun” isn’t cheap – depending on the size of the object – by no means, because each can is between EURO 3.50 and 8.50; special (gold) colors and pens may range up to  EURO 25.- the piece. … after all a few square meters add up quickly.

 

But let’s continue: Shake, shake, … and shake again by clack, clack to make/ keep the colors runny. Hand position of the can and the play with the index finger on the spray head are beside the distance to the wall the essential technical elements to guarantee the success. Generally spoken: the closer, the more precise and narrow the line. The farther away, the larger, but also less accurate are the spray width and thus the opacity.

Despite the door open, the room smells of paint and solvents such as turpentine and acetone. The latter is also available in pressurized cans, e.g. to clean the fine spray heads. Meantime the two boys are now wearing professional masks, I  at least a breath protection. Of course, I can only assit in covering larger areas and spray some incongruous contours, the two want to be finished in three hours. The hiding power of the colors is good – depending of the  underground – and also allow corrections, but this is time consuming and may be recognized by experts quickly due to the different thickness of the color layer and also slight color differences recognizable.

As a little “extra” the two experts explain the world of fonts and characters (Graffiti Calligraphy). Even these artistic freelancers, follow a certain letter structure by rule. If the sequence is not executed correctly, the typical letter effect will be lost.

A graffiti alphabet, almost the artist’s handwriting, cannot be learned by heart. It is more like learning how a single letter is built and can be modified.

 

The work “Twenty-Ten” progresses and again special semi-covering (water-soluble) paints are applied, e.g. to create transparency in clouds. Time is flying and the finishing act is close: Grazian sets sweeping spray strokes, draws shadow gaps, styles hair strands and adds highlights to the letters.

In the end, of course, the whole is marked with his initials, similar to the signature of a painter. …. BRAVO! .. what a great fun for creatives.

You mean to have no talent for it? As it is said “practicing challenges perfection” and “humans grow with their tasks”.

 

Incidentally, the term “Graffiti” comes from the Italian language (singular graffiti) and stands as a collective term for structurally different elements, such as pictures, logos or characters that are created using different techniques on surfaces. A graffito is usually made under a pseudonym and sometimes illegally.

Producers of graffiti, especially when using spray cans, are called “sprayers”. If you want to know more about the origins and development of graffiti, just click the following link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graffiti

Finally my latest work, which of course was only possible with the support of a professional. Lockdown and home office can also be fun because they create time for creative spaces. By the way, I’m particularly proud of the paragraph mark, because the finishing is/ was completely mine. Prison bars/ rods and wall breakthrough were my idea as well, but the perfect implementation was done by my expert – to be on the safe side. In the picture the sprayed-on rods as a continuation of the slatted curtain can hardly be distinguished. Here art meets handicraft ... and handicrafts are allowed to do in any lock-times.

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Petra
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