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Endstation Magazine - graffiti on trains !

  APRIL 1, 1999


ISSUE # 15 

Ich bin ein Berliner
Copyright Endstation - interviews made with Anis, Anxious and Steak - report by Endstation together with Berlin graffiti writers in 1999. All pictures from BGS
Berlin is one of the most bombed cities in the world - and have had a huge graffiti scene for over 10 years.
After tearing down the Berlin wall in 1989/90 two cities became one. By that time hiphop and graffiti already had existed in the western part of Berlin for a few years, and now graffiti took its first steps in the eastern part. The writers in the eastern part were of course influenced by the west, but they also innovated the style into something different. Today the two graff-scenes have become one huge Berlin-scene, where nobody cares where you are from, but there are still differences in style and mind of writers.

Fast on the cap, slow in the head!

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mr.x aikido anis

One problem in Berlin is gangbang; Violent kids who belive they live in the ghetto and therefore have to fight on the streets... They cross pieces, rob and steal money, spray cans and clothes from other writers. But in general that is nothing to worry about.

When it comes to graffiti on trains, quick bombing is the main activity. Everything is heavily guarded and trains are very hard to hit. There is a special vandal squad which have operated since 1990 consiting special trained and educated police men. They collect all facts they can get over graffiti and the graffiti vandals.

In Berlin exists only about 40 active train writers, most of them unknown, because trains are often buffed within a few hours. The only place to see graffiti on trains are in printed magazines or on Internet.

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Endstation spoke to three youngsters who lives in Berlin and who do not want to tell their real names, due to trouble with the police. Let us call them 'Anis', 'Anxious' and 'Steak'. They all have one thing in common; Graffiti on trains! The question is: Why do kids begin writing graffiti?

I belive the guy we call Anis has something to say:
-It all began at the age of 15. I started to draw on paper when I saw this bombed city. I was in contact with two other guys who did the same, and we formed our fist graffiti-crew, BSE. There must be something that makes graffiti so special, it is just a great feeling.

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Steak have been writing graffiti and bombing trains for 9 years in both Europe, Asia and North America. He is a member of a crew called CAF:
-I have always liked drawing, and discovered the can with colour inside when i was 14. I was learning how to paint with spraycan and prefer the can to the brushes, because I can paint faster and also in a very realistic way, the paint is drying fast and   hard to remove. I am trying to invent new technics to paint with the can, while I am painting foto realistic characters or complex murals with selfmade caps or   different surfaces.

He says he is trying to set his mark in the history of art and painting. He has been travelling around in many different cities and does legal works with his agency in Germany.

Since the very action of writing lasts only for a couple of minutes when 'bombing' for example a train, memories seem to be an important ingredience within the graffiti culture.

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Anxius openes his mouth:
-I remember autumn 1997 in Warsaw when we painted with some local guys, Ble, Elkay, Watch, Trib (and Oktan from Berlin). We did a train in the morning. It felt strange... About 50 meters behind us people went to work and other took a walk with their dogs, while we (stupid bastards) painted a train right there. There was also a female train worker inside the train, but the polish guys said: "Sometimes she gets a cup of coffee from us, then it's okay to write here."

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Well, that was a few years ago and todays figures show that the Polish authoroties have a much better control over the polish vandals these days. A lot of Berlin writers have bombed trains in Warzaw over the years, Steak claims he was the first man painting a whole train side by his own. By painting a 'wholecar' a writer is said to get more respect from his friends, but in most cases it is all about the feeling.

anti graffiti propaganda

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-I came back to the city in 1997 to rock on and on i saw the wholecars we did in 1996 were still running through the city with buffed windows. That was incredible for me as a Berlin writer, cause the longest time my wholecars in Berlin run is one day.

Anis have never been to Warzaw but sticks to the Berlin s-trains. His first s-train was done in 4-minutes. He says it was pure adrenaline and he will never forget it.

-Another memory was in Prague; 2Rock, Eszed, Which, Squirm and me painted in front of a buff a train, but after 15 minutes we had to run. I was the last one out and when I was on the gate I got beaten from a metal stick on my back by a worker.

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Berlin is known to be violent and rough, but the guys claim Berlin is a city of style. From where do they get their influences?

-It's Prague! Special props goes out to the guyz from SCIFI, ABX and DSK.

-Yes, it's Prague, the guyz over there bomb their city like hell and they just have a great style.

-I think amsterdam is still ruling, but i like Prague aswell - where the writers learned a lot style from Berlin, but they are developing it on their own and some are creating a new style.

anti graffiti propaganda

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