I made a rule when I started this blog that it would, where at all possible, remain positive. As in all countries there are many things to complain about and there are already plenty of people who oblige by complaining.
‘Not here’ I said, not on bluetoyellow.com — this was a space to enjoy, to laugh at, to ponder and to enlighten. It was to be a place to celebrate the lighter side of Ukraine.
Well, not today. Sorry guys, but I’m allowing myself a negative post because I cannot deny this for any longer – Graffiti in Ukraine is shit. S.h.1.t
There I said it! Ukraine has some of the most artistically impoverished graffiti artists of any country I’ve ever visited, bar none.
Of course, bad graffiti exists everywhere and travelling around Europe I’ve seen a lot of it, but very few places have universally bad street art. For example, the ubiquitous pointy ‘GD’s which are sprayed all over Ljubljana in Slovenia are pretty monotonous (and very 1980’s) but at least this is countered by the unforettable Metalkova and the cute mouse with the longest tail in the world which existed in the city center for a while.
Sadly, the same isn’t true in Kyiv.
Kyiv can be artistic, and kyiv does have *some* good examples of an alternative art scene, but graffiti isn’t it. Most of it consists of signatures, initials, scrawly patterns, insults (often in confused English) or cartoon-like drawings similar to those found in caves when humans were still developing.
Have a look for yourselves, this is what I’m talking about:
See what I mean?
One has to assume that most of it is territorial. As Wikipedia explains:
“Territorial graffiti serves as marking ground to display tags and logos that differentiate certain groups from others. These images are meant to show outsiders a stern look at whose turf is whose. The subject matter of gang related graffiti consists of cryptic symbols and initials strictly fashioned with unique calligraphies. Gang members use graffiti to designate membership throughout the gang, to differentiate rivals and associates and, most commonly, to mark borders which are both territorial and ideological.”
However, that’s no excuse and lets be honest, how many ideological ‘stern gangs’ are fighting turf wars in Podil?
Of course, its entirely possible that I’ve missed something, after all I’m no graffiti connoisseur, and I’d be delighted if someone can prove me wrong by submitting some good example of Ukrainian street scribbling, but until then, I announce Ukraine as the ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World for Bad Graffiti’.