After witnessing the apparent “segregated state of society,” Stephanie Hanna was inspired to bridge generational gaps in Germany by teaching elders to use spray paint, markers and wheat paste. Careful to allow the “Senior Street Art” project to take place underground and void of disruptive media frenzy, the demand for further workshops and courses increased with remarkable results among citizens over 50, eventually pushing it into the public sphere.
The project has begun to garner international attention, featured in the September issue of United Airlines’ in-flight magazine “Hemispheres,” and the Spiegel Online International. Popular subjects include 61-year-old “OZ” whose proliferation of smiley faces around Hamburg earned him affectionate notoriety within the German press and 14 months in prison on 11 counts of vandalism. Check out the video below for a few laughs of disbelief and amazement:
Though marketing opportunities arising from such exposure can bring artists success, core values may risk being compromised for a more socially acceptable version of “graffiti.” Understandably, few participants of Senior Street Art take their act to the streets, so it seems unfair to refer to them as “Berlin’s Aging Vandals”(Stephens). Illegality and anonymity are some of graffiti’s most important, defining aspects and without them it would lose much of its identity and integrity.