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Graffiti - joy to the city

  • 2000-09-21
  • Rokas M. Tracevskis
The police harass teenagers who spray graffiti on walls. However, even architects say that graffiti might make some places in Vilnius more joyful - that is, if the graffiti is done with artful taste and in the right place.

Most graffiti is illegal, but still it persists. Law, apparently, is in the eye of the beholder.

"I spray graffiti, and it gives me a dose of adrenaline," said Simonas, 16-year-old graffiti fan. "It doesn't mean that I'm a vandal.

"I don't spray graffiti on beautiful houses. I do it only on some pale and faceless walls and fences. I think that I'm creating nice art. It's just the police who don't understand it and I need to watch out and be careful. So I'm working mostly at night."

A younger generation of architects seems to agree with him.

"Graffiti looks especially good on the laundry on Mesiniu Street," said Marija Mikneviciute, architect with the Institute of Monument Restoration. "This wooden laundry is a disaster in an architectural sense. However, jolly graffiti on its walls turned this building into an amusing attraction of the Vilnius Old Town."

Daina Vanagaite, another young architect from the same institute, also says it helps improve what are otherwise boring structures.

"The graffiti looks to me like joyful entertainment, when it is done with taste and in the right place. The graffiti looks good on the temporary fences that are built during construction or reconstruction work."