Although graffiti in NYC thrives off of chaos there is at least one universally adopted rule that most writers adhere to: vehicles and religious property are off limits. Not so in Athens, pretty much everything is game there, including old ruins and monuments. Some blame the vandalism on the increasing popularity of the outlawed art form, while others trace the roots back to 1810, when a year a 22 year-old poet and tourist named Lord Byron “carved his name into the ancient temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounio south of Athens.” But for historian Miranda Karatza, there’s no comparison between the historic scrawl and what happens nowadays. “The mark left by Byron is a historical document … youths today write slogans, it’s not the same thing.” For the people doing it though, it represents a new offshoot of Dadaism:
“Graffiti is vandalism, it’s an element of conflict, and sometimes things that are nice are also ruined,” said Fotis, a 28-year-old street artist.
Fotis, who paints lizards and dragons, said he turned to graffiti as a way out of hooliganism and substance abuse but also in reaction to growing up in “a city full of ugliness and hate.”
With all the ancient real estate Athens has to offer, this means lot of problems for the city when attempting to buff the paint off of ancient monuments, requiring a lot of extra care and money. Strangely, this trend has kind of come full circle, when examining the history of graffiti. Remember it was a Greek-American named TAKI 183 who also decided to make his name known by writing it on the streets, except in this case it was NYC. |AFP|