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Monday, January 31, 2011

Graffiti in Prague

When I lived in Prague, My friend K. and I used to do graffiti. You can call it stencil art or tagging or whatever, but in Eastern Europe, they say "graffiti," and that's what we called it in Philly when I was growing up so that's the word I'm saying.

Right from the beginning, K. set a few rules. 1: No tagging on architectural magnificence. We only did old Communist buildings, the kind that looked like gray Legos. And one or two places downtown that were similarly horrific. 2: As I had no idea what I was doing, I was basically her apprentice -- I was to lay low, hold the stencils, and wait for her to start with the spray paint. As we went, I sprayed a bit. But mostly I liked being the assistant. Like I was one step between the artist and the art appreciator: just doing my best to beautify and weird-ify Prague for the rest of us.

I'd lived in Prague since January. We started tagging in late June, right around my birthday. I knew the city well by that time. We'd do it late at night, when nobody was around. Once we squeezed into a train tunnel and almost got caught. I was really skinny. K. was really small. We were safe, but I remember the lit-up faces of those old people on the way home when they saw two kids where there shouldn't have been any. Almost as if they were in a submarine and we'd popped up underwater.

I don't have any pictures of our actual piece, but Aviva wrote to me about posting the Moshiach Oi! video, and somehow graffiti came up. And then I remembered that this whole part of my life happened. Weird, the things you can forget.

(Thanks to Aviva for reminding me, and for digging up the carrots in Prague images.)

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