Graffiti is huge over here! And it looks much different than most of the graffiti I remember seeing in America. Instead of unreadable scribbles*, most of it is art. In fact, every time that we go to Berlin, I expect to find another interesting piece, like this one that we found one day when we walked part of the marathon course a couple months before the race. It’s on a bridge at about kilometer 3.
Banksy, a semi-anonymous British graffiti artist, is probably the most famous European graffiti artist, and his work often doubles as social commentary. Some of his art is cute, and some is ballsy. Most notably, Banksy uses stencils to create his graffiti. To me, that is what sets apart the crap graffiti from the interesting stuff.
One of my favorite Giessen graffiti pieces is a cute batman boy stencil. I’ve found five different ones around the center of Giessen. I take my camera with me almost everywhere, so I’m hoping I find more of this cute little guy.
There is also a graffiti group in this area, 3Steps.de, who are either commissioned to do graffiti or are just really good at not getting caught. On one walk we took, we found a panorama on a wall that is easily 150 feet long. Before we knew what it was, on our first day in Giessen, we saw their art on the concrete supports for the Autobahn that surrounds Giessen. Since then, we’ve been back for photos.
Another one of the first pieces of graffiti that we saw when we moved here was right around the corner from where we live and a favorite from my childhood, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (heroes in a half-shell, turtle power!)
While some graffiti is art and some is just random (TMNT!), I’ve also seen a few that speak to me.
5 Reasons I Enjoy Graffiti
- It’s so random. We’ll be walking down the street, minding our own business, go around a corner, and be struck by someone’s art on a wall.
- It often seems like a spontaneous outpouring of emotion. The most public place I feel comfortable doing that is Twitter. Some people do it in a very public place, and I don’t know if I could do that.
- It’s amazing art (some of it, anyway). 3steps.de is an example of a group of recognized graffiti artists. Even some of the unreadable lettering I see in Berlin (I’ll try to get a picture, but I usually see the cool stuff while we’re in the train) is just amazing.
- It seems to me a uniquely effective way of making social commentary. Both the “1984 is now” from Berlin and Bansky’s work illustrates this idea.
- It’s colorful. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles piece is in the middle of a rather boring street. Really spruces things up, plus it makes me laugh and remember Saturday mornings and playing with Daniel, Steven, and Aaron.
Question of the Day
What is one kinda illegal thing that you enjoy anyway? And let’s keep it clean, folks. :)