I’ve been wanting to learn the art of spray painting. My interest in it was continually amplified throughout 2014 after being exposed to the graffiti cultures of Tokyo, London, Paris, and California. Especially upon seeing the walls on the railroad heading to Paris absolutely covered in French graffiti. This caught me by surprise because I never associated France with that particular brand of street art -even if it is the home of Blek le Rat, father of stencil graffiti.
After buying a book called “Global Street Art” in California late last December, I decided that as soon as I got back to Manila I would be a writer too.
What it means to write: In Global Street Art, “graffiti refers to ‘writing’ -a youth subculture that had its origins in mid-1960s Philadelphia and grew explosively after reaching New York in the late 1960s […] There was no expectation of any economic reward by writing; writers were simply looking for a form of recognition. Graffiti provided a way of finding an identity among peers. Fame was (and still is) the ultimate achievement in writing”.
I don’t have a deep or subversive reason for why I want to become part of this subculture of writers. I just find it interesting. And that spark of interest is all I need to get me going. My friend Harry felt the same way. One fast “We’re so cool and random!” chat later, he and I were at Home Depot stocking up on supplies. That was Day 1 of our graffiti sesh. Day 2 was our actual painting day.
Breakdown of costs
Php 700 x 2 pieces of plywood (Php 350 each)*
Php 1200 x 8 cans of spray paint (roughly Php 150 each)*
Php 350 x masks (comes in a set of 3)
Total cost: Php 2250
This figure isn’t exact. It varies based on the plywood’s dimensions, the brand of spray paint, and the place you’re buying from. We tried hitting up True Value first. They didn’t have wood or masks and their spray paint was 2x the price. A southerner’s best bet is to go straight to Home Depot (we didn’t canvas Wilcon so I can’t say if prices are better there). People up north (or wherever you can find an Ace Hardware) will find better masks (ours were the flimsy disposable kind). People who can access Divisoria will find even cheaper spray paint (Php 80 average). Not sure where to find cheaper ‘canvases’ though. I plan on hitting up a construction site one of these days to see if they can spare me some scrap metal.
It’s important to wear a mask. The fumes get toxic faster than you know. Also, paint gets everywhere just as quick. Which is why I brought a long piece of cloth and newspaper to cover our workspace and plastic gloves and an apron to cover myself.
Harry set up our makeshift studio in his garage. He brought out his laptops for video editing and beer to aid his creative process.
I brought my GoPro Hero 4 Silver for documentation, the water speakers Giann bought me for xmas because they’re dope and because I wanted to blast trap, and points of reference (Global Street Art book, drawing I made years prior of my friend Nicole in her astronaut helmet).
Harry and I gave ourselves graffiti names for when we collab: #Hash and #Tag. We’ll think of less conspicuous, more personal tagging names when we do this for real.
for the past few months, people have been telling me they’re worried I’m getting too thin, but I never really noticed how much weight I lost until I saw my graffiti sesh photos. No need to worry friends, it’s not intentional. I just lose weight when I travel and I was all over the place last year. I’ll gain the weight back as life normalizes, but for now I’m going to love the hell out of my sexy abs.