I’m all for public art, especially in the city. Generally, there is more visible public art in Berlin than Vancouver, in part because developers are obliged to spend a higher portion of investments on public art.

There is a LOT of informal public art, i.e. graffiti in Berlin. However, I have to admit, I’m not a big fan.

Graffiti tags are everywhere, but particularly along train tracks,

on busses, bridges, and on the wall of buildings at sidewalk level. And I mean EVERYWHERE.

There is a portion that is vaguely political in nature, though that seems to be much less now that I remember it being in the 1980s, for example.

There is another portion that is artistic which I appreciate very much whether it is simply colourful or actually depicts scenes of urban life or other motifs.

BUT, the vast majority of graffiti in Berlin is tags, i.e. (I assume) nicknames or initials of taggers. Yes, the font is original to their tag, but really once I’ve seen twelve variations of meter-high three-letter initials, I’m pretty much done with that genre. But these tags dominate many walls that could be canvases not just for visually more attractive art (obviously a matter of taste), but at least more variable and interesting art.

Some graffiti artists will probably argue that tagging may be an entry to more artistic forms of graffiti and maybe I’m just a graffiti-philistine, but still, not fond of all those tags all over the city!


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