Spray Can Confessions: First Times

by - 3:00 PM

There's something about a first time that makes it unforgettable. And I'm not just talking about first kisses and all that sappy shit, no, the exact same goes for slightly illegal stuff such as spray painting a wall. Honestly, I don't think I'll ever forget my first attempt at being a street artist. I'd bought two spray cans from what little money I made at internship, cut out a stencil and the rest... the rest is a slightly laughable history you're about to read now.

It was March. I had two spray cans, a stencil and no guts whatsoever when it came to going out and illegally painting some random wall. Then I found out that the town council had placed a legal graffiti wall at the edge of the skate park in February. I'd already seen it multiple times, empty as could be, and since it was election time I thought it was just one of those temporary walls for ugly campaign posters. Judging by the lack of paint on it I guess everyone else thought the same thing.
I decided to break it in and set out for the legal wall early on a Sunday morning. I wasn't even at the corner of my street when I decided to paint one legal and one illegal wall that day.

I was almost shitting myself as I got closer to the illegal wall of my choice, which was on my way to the skate park. It'd be the side of a blue metal den next to the football field where high school dropouts like to hang out. I chose the place because it's deserted on Sunday mornings.
But when I arrived at the football field there was, and I kid you not, a man with a metal detector parading up and down the field. There was no way I could get past him and paint the den without catching his attention. So I chickened out. I wasn't proud of it, but I chickened out.

A short walk later I arrived at the skate park and the new legal wall. It was still painfully empty. I got my red spray paint out of my backpack, held my stencil up against the wall and painted. I was sure it was going to be good. Ever since I went to The Art of Banksy I wanted to make something thought-provoking, and so I tried.

And I failed miserably. I liked my design, but as I painted I noticed that this red paint behaved differently than the black paint I'd been using up until that day. The red paint drooped. All. Over. The place.
I pushed the stencil hard against the wall, hoping to catch some of the drooping paint with the cardboard. Then I heard some little kids yell excitedly as they entered the skate park. I did not want an audience at all, so I pulled the stencil away way too early, let the paint droop and hurried home.

My hand looked like a demon's hand, all covered in red paint, and it attracted a lot of unwanted attention. My clothes smelled of all the nasty chemicals they put in spray cans. I was in a rush, but not entirely ready to go home yet. One legal, one illegal, I kept repeating in my head as some kind of messed-up mantra. I gathered every bit of courage I had, which wasn't very much, and returned to the football field. The man with the metal detector was still there, but I decided to ignore him. I'd just paint the back of the den, he wouldn't be able to see me there. I walked up to the den, faking courage - then heard voices coming from inside. At that moment I lost it. I turned around and ran as if the devil himself was chasing me.

First times have never been easy for me. You don't wanna know about the blind panic I felt during my first kiss, but believe me when i say it was nothing compared to the panic and fear I felt that morning as I ran away from the football field. One hour later though I felt incredibly stupid. What'd happened to 'one legal, one illegal'? This half assed stuff wouldn't do. This was no good start to being a street artist. It took me a week to regain some courage, but then I returned to the football field to paint the den not once, but twice. The paint still drooped and I broke my stencil, but at least I'd done it. I'd taken the first step. The first step of many still to come.

x Envy

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10 Fellow Ramblers

  1. Ohh you are so much more daring than me! Go you! By the way, that red paint looks fine, especially for a first time when you're nervous as hell.

    1. Well, it was a legal wall so I'm not all that daring :P By the way, the red paint you see here was sprayed on a piece of paper as a test. It looked a lot worse on the actual wall, but I lost that picture...

  2. You are so bold! I would have never dared do that. OMG! I think your designs look fine! x corinne

    1. It's really not that scary as you'd think! Legal walls are so safe. And thank you!

  3. I would never do that! You're braver than I am HAHA! xx

    Sophia x http://sophiawhitham.co.uk

  4. Aw, I can totally understand why the 'illegal' part was so hard for you! But you've taken your first step into a larger world, and I'm sure you'll get used to the feeling after a while. Hopefully it'll even start to be a bit of a rush!

    How long did it take for the red paint to wash off of your hands?


    1. The illegal part still makes me nervous sometimes, but I did notice that no one cares if you're walking around town at night with a spray can in your hand, hahaha.
      The red paint actually came off within two days. I thought it'd be there for ages, but it only really stuck to my nails.

  5. what an experience! your design looks so cool and it's nice to decorate your town with it!
    I had never painted a wall with spray, but some years ago I used to tack my firm in the places I visited! (the worst day was when I was on school trip in Berlin and in my free time I did it and someone saw me and told me to call the police, but hopelly he finally didn't do it! I was getting dread...)

    1. Thank you! I'm doing different designs now and I'm out of paint, but I'm really looking forward to decorating more walls with my stencils.
      I can't believe someone in Berlin said that! I mean, that city if filled with street art and graffiti from top to bottom anyway!


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