Graffiti and me: A (very) brief history...

Thought I'd explain why I might have such a soft spot for graffiti.

Tracey Emin's "Tent"? ...Pah!  Got all that out of my system while I was still in pigtails. My first dalliance with self-expression was to document all my current love interests (imagined) across my wardrobe doors. I cried when my mum pointed out "Hutch" was already married. 

You can imagine my surprise then, when one day these innermost sentiments were being shouted back at me by every kid in the street.

My parents had decided that, along with my old comics, the wardrobe was past it's best and had plonked it on the curb for uplift - and unwittingly, for every voyeuristic chum in the neighbourhood to have a good chuckle at.

I'd now describe this, ahem, 'early situationist work' as mostly dealing with issues of 'betrayal and mortification'. But mostly 'betrayal'...

Cut to my early teens: I watch a TV programme about New York's Graffiti scene and it all falls into place. I was already dressing like Lisa Sliwa and fully intended becoming a Guardian Angel. (Until finding out out you had to be 6 ft tall, which was a bit of a stretch.)

On a final warning after customising "perfectly good jeans" with "scrawl" and divesting a brand new denim jacket of its sleeves, it was made pretty clear I needed to find a new canvas...

Wow. This thing is hurtling towards us and I plan to be at the forefront of it. Besides, it looks like fun, and pretty quick to do. The only place that sells spray paint is Halfords but, thanks to our demanding car, they know my dad, so I plump for a less attention drawing fat black marker.

Cumbernauld Library say they don't have any books on "How to do Graffiti". Shit. 

All I can find is a book on drawing for animation, it's something. I've never been very 'loose' and am now resorting to tracing and drawing cartoons which frustratingly isn't anything like the scale I remember from the telly. 

God this is harder than it looks, bit of music for inspiration.

Time to take this shizzle out of my bedroom and onto the streets...

My army surplus parka and 8 hole Docs provide little protection against the utter spookiness and menace of that dark underpass. My heart's beating so fast the only thing I'm likely to throw-up tonight is a dilute mix of Merrydown cider and adrenalin. First up is the PIL logo, freehand. I know it intimately having repeatedly screen printed it 'to order', courtesy of both the school art department and my dad's perplexingly superabundant stock of white vests.

Now time to try out my new penmanship. I've invented a new 'alphabet', it's just a lame Rennie Macintosh mutation but anyone who's ever had a card from me will testify that it's still in circulation!

First up, a not terribly heartfelt "Marina + Ritche".  What no-one knew (especially Ritchie), was that I'd deliberately bought a 'non-permanant' marker pen. This is so me -  I'm quite 'vanilla' really, not one tattoo!

My efforts are not going unnoticed and luxuriating in the kudos I'm walking tall. It takes 3 glorious days before the reviews also get back to my Dad.  He's not falling for my supposition that there's another Marina in the neighbourhood who's a very bad sort and most likely the culprit. "It's OK, it's washable ink" I blurt out. This confounds him so entirely that I'm spared a fate as awful as poor Beryl The Peril's.

Don't know if there ever was a graffiti crew in Cumbernauld. I was too risk averse to evolve my solo scratchings as an 'army of one' but have always been fascinated by this, slightly secretive yet public art form.

One girl who did get her shit together and wasn't going to let the scary Scottish dark stand in her way is Syrkus and she's now the co-owner of an art gallery"Harumph..."

*Disclaimer* does not endorse pointless acts of vandalism like the one described above. However, if you think you have the proper skillz, knock yourself out and I look forward to seeing your work around town...

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