Brooklyn / Munich / London
by Anthony Metivier
Photos - Koen Douterloigne, Amiya Kaczmar
All Graffiti, no matter how artistic, stems from territorial pissing. The serial killer Gary Ridgeway describes in his police interviews mentally tracking the locations of his hidden corpses (long after revisiting them for certain favors that quickly became impossible), because he had left his mark. He owned that piece of land and the signature placed beneath it. Ridgeway painted the scream, not the mouth.
Figure 1: Isar, Munich
Graffiti, of course, covers surfaces. Rarely do we paint the underside of a stone and hide the markings from view merely so that we can marvel alone at having conquered a piece of public territory or wilderness.
But we are still wild in our intent to mark off space, lay claim to it, call it our own.
Of course, we will insist on calling these outings "street art" as if we were conquistadors who expect to increase the value of our descendents through terms and defintions in addition to seeking permission or taking the liberty of painting a wall.
Timothy Leary said that we’re only as young as the last time we changed our minds, which is why all street art is and should proudly remain Graffiti. We build it to spill, not to last. And the street art purist and shaman, unlike the serial killer who hopes to hold onto the locations of bones until he dies in his prison cell, uses chalk and prays for the rain to wash it away.
Figure 2: East End, London
Is the wall a woman waiting for us to turn her on? Are our tools a dry martini hoping to get her drunk until she confesses in tears and asks when will we do it again?
Are angles and bricks a time suck, pulling the brush between stony teeth, holding the competition back until we go blind trying to out-survive the artistic impulse?
Granted, we’re past the stage where we need to formulate ideas, find inspiration and inner drive. Kissing the lips we’ve painted while they’re fresh and after they’re dry will always be better than sitting in front of computers as if the 21st century still hangs on to something so tame as a day job.
Figure 3: Bushwick, Brooklyn
Happy in a hotel, not so long ago in a city not-so-far-away. We were pitching and procrastinating, pinching the stars and feathering all our extra time. We were could-be artists learning about the blessings of fun and reaping more of the same, even when it made us feel dirty and awkward. Our family and friends and co-workers think we’re manipulative in the shade, but it’s our actions that betray, not our thoughts. These remain unethical in every possible way.
And there’s no attitude change. Protecting the galaxy by preventing parking is part of the job, even when we find our lack of faith disturbing. Attendees, after all, paint the face, not the scream, even when our chariots are honking.
Figure 4: East End, London
Twenty-eight double function platforms. We were impressed by the dedication of functions, each slat a fiancée to the polygamous window she protects. Paid so little, maybe the smell of Pine Sol from time to time as the wind kicks at the door of this occupational spectrum. We are undoubtedly good businessmen, but skill alone has done little to make us a global phenomenon. Starbucks was a terrible idea, proving that we could slow down to enjoy a cup even as the pros tell us the world is speeding up. Not like the good old days, when we raised the slats and people sped by with no time for coffee behind our window, unaware that the giants would come and cater to computer geeks while the rugged individualists would stop drinking the poison overall. Dealmaking is in the details, but we’re sticking with superficial knowledge, leaving them to their secrets of their sometimes justified success, the tearing down of corners to our preference here in the middle of the street.
Figure 5: Isar, Munich
We double what we share, even beneath the opposite of a busy street, sun and a smile on our face. Sure, they’ll look the wrong way, tighten up, grow aggressive, inconsiderate, climb the stairs too slow.
But we’re more frustrated than angry with their suffering in the sunlight of the dark. We’re capable of loosening as our doubles rush to get anywhere that a body can drive itself on the fuel of anxiety. We let them go so we can retain our values, the compassion, the passion, the care we need to let things flow. Calm beneath the opposite of a busy street.
Figure 6: East End, London
We aspired without clarity.
We emerged as many, catching nothing.
We were a community without relation.
We were immeasurable while demanding a percent.
We had no due date, so never knew we were rotten.
We abandoned the safe and boring for the destruction of the exhilarating.
We asked to be identified without leaving a print.
Figure 7: Bushwick, Brooklyn
We asked him what he needed and he said a center in his body, a focal point in his breath. We saw the signs that this might be true and worked around them. To fulfill his needs. We listened as his thoughts arose and boarded them up against the impartial observer. We didn’t deserve the control, but we took it, made it the task of our universe.
Figure 8: East End, London
But we never did have a real job. When we took the college aptitude test, it spit out “garbage man.” Not a bad gig. At least its stable.
Figure 9: Isar, Munich
Oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus. It would be an incredible ending if it weren’t always beginning. Watson finally found it elemental after having us pound it into the meat of his matter.
Figure 10: Bushwick, Brooklyn
We manage our expectations because art makes it so easy to become idealistic. But on a bad day, the accountability and the pressure makes us sad. Despite the attempt to be accessible, our world is overbearing in its interpretive incompetence. We require a different response, but it’s hard to be assertive when you’re stuck to a wall. Especially in a culture of fear where courage is met with disrespect and public support no longer leads to private influence. We are loyal when they are not present, seeking for positive attributes even when their eyes are closed, openly affirming them in the vain hope of achieving credibility. Later. When our crying has painted the tears.