Imagine a city where graffiti wasn’t illegal, a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked. Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that felt like a party where everyone was invited, not just the estate agents and barons of big business. Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall – it’s wet.― Banksy, Wall and Piece
Graffiti. In the US, it’s called vandalism…unless you’re famous. Then they cut it off the building and auction it at Sotheby’s for millions. In Paris, it’s an underground movement. This is the city of the Salon, after all. Except…now the impressionists are not only welcomed in the Louvre, but have their own wing. Who knows? Maybe they’ll have a Banksy in there one day.
Here, in Germany, under a bridge in Wiesbaden, just across the river from Mainz, are a series of walls where graffiti is legal. This is pretty cool for the street artists. I can imagine that running from the cops at 3am mid-spray only to come back to find that “Carl” has tagged your spot and ruined what you already started, all while trying to escape the threat of civil or criminal prosecution, can be pretty tiring (although, undoubtedly, part of the fun). And it’s really cool for those who are lucky enough to walk by it. This tunnel of amazing street art is the site for “Meeting of Styles,” which is a graffiti event that travels all over the world and celebrates international street artists. Meeting of Styles formed in Wiesbaden in 2002 as a community for the exchange of ideas, inspiration, and skills associated with street art. On June 13-14, the landscape of this tunnel will be completely changed during Wiesbaden’s next Meeting of Styles, but for now, it looks like this: