Quarantine as an Artist – a graffiti guide
What a time to be a Graffiti artist! Look at it from the bright side. People are helping each other, taking their precious time to do something for someone else they might not even know. A boy scout somewhere in the States has made a separable element to ease the pain from wearing a surgical mask for nurses and doctors which are at the ‘front lines’ of the “Corona crisis”. Tattoo-Artists put their Gloves and Masks together to donate them to hospitals which are in need of it. Tesla turned their Car-Factory into a Ventilator-Factory. People print masks and filters used for respiration-machines with their 3D-Printers.
My name is DGP (“Der Gemeine Pöbel” ~ “The Common Mob” in English). You don’t know me, nobody does in fact, some might have seen my work and wondered who made it. It’s a mystery and will be forever. Welcome to my world as it is right now!
Even if you are at risk with a chronic illness, which I am, this is a great time for us to accomplish so many things. Whether you paint, sculpt, produce music, write or design, this is your time to give something back to people, to make their day a little less painful, with your art. As an Artist, a Graffiti-Artist, in one of the smallest countries in the World (6th), Liechtenstein, I can find the perfect circumstances and environments to go after my passion of painting the world a little happier. With no one going out because of the lock-down, of course our (Graffiti-Writers) time has come to freely move to our favorite spots and express ourselves with lots of cans in the backpack. In the times of social distancing, graffiti could be pursued as every playground, school, skate park etc. is closed.
I painted my first piece when I was 11 with regular spray paint. It was on an old construction container which was the perfect spot next to the railway tracks and a street, visible to passing trains, cars and pedestrians. Since the first workshop I hosted for the municipality at a skate park in 2012, it has consistently been my favorite spot to paint even eight years later. The skate park in Vaduz (the Capital of Liechtenstein) is a rather big one for such a small country, which is a good thing because it has every kind of wall, vert, flats to paint on. No skateboarders means no distraction for them or the artist. It also means not having to worry about anyone skating over the wet paint and with that destroying the artwork. When the lock-down ends, the Skate community will find their beloved park in new colors which will eventually lead to some inspiration and happiness for them after these rather harsh times.
So, what are the steps I take before going out painting you might ask. Firstly, now that I have enough time to maybe get a “Masterpiece” on a wall, I think of the spot I will be painting for example: the surroundings, environment, the size of the wall, does it have ledges or pipes which might distract the artwork, light etc. By figuring out this stuff I set parameters to the work I’m going to do. Let’s take the example of a Vert in a skate park. Next step would be to determine a style for the artwork. Will it be a rather Organic-Style, a Blockbuster or a classic Bubble-style? Any Characters? Which Colors fit the environment? These are the next questions which come to my mind. I don’t think every Graffiti artist is doing it this way, most of them are still old-school putting as much “tags” and “throwups” on walls as they possibly can to get famous. But not for me. I want my “Piece” to fit the environment and the surroundings, like as if it was already there.
We now can start to sketch with the information we gathered by asking those questions before. Let’s stick to a simple Blockbuster-style for now.
Varial – one of the many tricks you can do with a skateboard which fits perfectly to the Vert and in general to the Skate park. No extra fancy letters because the ‘Fill-in’ will make it stand out. What colors fit a Skatepark? Every color you might think of! The only color we already have is the concrete Gray. But it should be Punchy and Powerful much like the tricks the might do over the “piece”.
Popping Colors, not much but just enough highlights with green, blue, red or purple. This is up to the artist and could still change, but let’s work with this one. The next step is to add depth to it. There’s different ways to do that, this time let’s try to put some layers beneath it.
This depth could also be a classic black drop-shadow. We set the letters, colors and depth. Next thing would be to design a backdrop, which is very important, however for this piece the concrete on the vert itself gives a good texture to work on.
This was a little Step-by-Step guide just to make sure you’ve seen something new which might inspire you. The best advice is to not stick to a particular style, but to keep exploring designs. It doesn’t really matter what you choose, feel free to experiment, there are no boundaries in Graffiti.
This is my take on the lock-down and current situation, as you can see, I make the very best out of it without risking my health and you should too. Even better for you, if you don’t have to go out to follow your passion. Many good things happen, people get creative, they care. So grab your Pen, MPC, Clay or whatever you use and express yourself! I will sketch some pieces first, then grab my backpack, cans and caps, long board and boombox and hit the skate park. Maybe you’ll get to see the above ‘piece’ after I’ve painted it, if not be sure I still did it.
ADVISORY! I am not intending to do it illegally, always make sure you have permission from the authorities!
Hopefully some good vibes made their way into your mind!
Greetings from beautiful Liechtenstein
Guest Author: Raffael Marchio
A 26 year old Liechtensteiner, Raffael has a taste for art in any form. His first love is Graffiti, but he has a passion for canvas painting, crafts, garment and website design. He treats creativity as a lifestyle and constantly improves his art arenas! He is currently running an online clothing store, learning Mandarin and working on his next Graffiti piece.