Graffiti is not a new phenomenon, as some might think. They already existed in ancient Egypt. This does not refer to elaborate murals, but to scratched inscriptions, e.g. on graves, which were created by private individuals. Modern graffiti, which originated in the 1960s in the USA, are pictures, lettering or signs that are applied to surfaces. There are several techniques of application, this article is limited to spraying, which is why the artists are often called sprayers.
Is graffiti art or just graffiti? The answer is twofold: Both.
Illegal graffiti is damage to property. The perpetrator is liable for damages, is liable for the damage for 30 years and commits a criminal offence. Since sprayers don’t want to be caught, illegal graffiti is mostly just graffiti. There is not enough time to create works of art.
Kiel supports graffiti artists and provides them with areas that can be legally sprayed. At the Schwentine Bridge, in the Gaarden Skatepark and along the Veloroute 10, spraying graffiti is legal. Here you can marvel at true works of art. However, there is more legal graffiti in Kiel, always where owners allow the spraying of their surfaces. In Gaarden, many homeowners have their houses visually upgraded by artists. The Jimi Hendrix effigy is a good example. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Gaarden Sports and Meeting Park, the Stoßstraße pedestrian tunnel was beautified. Images reflect the activities that can be pursued in the sports park. The Katzheide swimming pool also provides areas for sprayers. Currently, however, glass surfaces have also been daubed there, so that art and vandalism are mixed here.
I was particularly impressed by the beautified transformer houses. In order to prevent graffiti, the public utility company has commissioned artists to create real eye-catchers. I could imagine that even the most famous graffiti artist in the world, Banksy, would stop in front of them to comment with a “WOW”.
Summing up, I can say: In Gaarden and along Veloroute 10 you can marvel at many legal graffiti worth seeing, some of them true works of art; the illegal ones can be found almost everywhere, but they are mostly graffiti.