Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Lesson on Being Timid--Noord, Amsterdam

I recently watched 'Exit through the Gift Shop,' a documentary about street art around the world. The documentary opened up the inner workings of the world of graffiti to me--the secrecy of the artist's identities, the illegality of it and the consequential sneaking around, etc. I recently got a first-hand taste of this lifestyle. On a tip from a local, I took a ferry to a northern neighborhood of Amsterdam to catch some graffiti. The area was very much an old ship yard--warehouses and streets overgrown with tall yellow grasses. There was one building in particular that caught my attention, a 'Netherland Shipping Company' warehouse. The building was covered in bright images and letters from the ground to as high as any tall ladder could reach. As I approached the building, the fumes of spray paint wafted through the air and I noticed a group of artists actively tagging the building with me watching. I stood stationary, acting as a mere observer from afar, too timid to approach the gang to document their work. What an amazing scene, and I didn't even snap a picture of it. It may have been fear of their reaction to my observation or my struggle with the language barrier if I approached them, but I regretfully let this opportunity pass and left the scene with only a memory of the atmosphere. 

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