Wheatpasting� a how-to graffiti guide Wheatpasting is another technique for sive, the unmixed variety costing about $2.50 technique: For every wheatpaster, there for those who scheme & those who dream redecorating your town—and also sharing for about two gallons of paste. As opposed to is a unique technique for applying posters to your perspective with your neighbors and wheat paste, this stu¤ mixes very easily and walls. Your goals should be quickness, thor- passing along some information and ideas requires hardly any precision or experience. oughness, and remaining undetected. The not reflected on the nightly news. It consists Some brands have variations that advertise method we favor is to 1) apply the paste to the of creating a poster, photocopying it and then being “easy to remove”—you don’t want these! back of the poster while it is on the ground, ‘gluing’ the posters to walls using wheatpaste Get the most heavy-duty stu¤ they have. 2) place the now sticky poster on the wall, 3) (or some other liquid adhesive) in a perma- smooth it out, removing all air bubbles and nent manner. Wheatpasting often can be tools: You will need something to apply the crinkles, 4) apply a small amount of paste very e¤ective in communicating your ideas: paste to the poster—your hands will do just to the edges and corners to make it more posters usually attract more attention than fine, but some prefer big, old paint brushes diªcult to remove. Applying the paste while graªti and since you mass-produce them, you to speed up the process. You will also need the poster is on the ground keeps you less can have very specific, complex messages at a container to hold and possibly dispense conspicuous and allows a more even coat- From the indoctrination camps known as a variety of locations with minimal e¤ort and the paste—wheat paste tends to be thicker, ing of paste to be applied, ensuring a more schools to the warehouses of industry and risk. A well coordinated group could paste so be sure your container has a wide mouth, durable and longer lasting poster. Be sure to incarceration, we are a society of mutes. Hu- up thirty 3x4 foot posters all over town in one whereas wallpaper adhesive tends to be thin- make and bring a lot of paste, it is better to man communication is constantly drowned night and instantly make their perspective ner and more consistent and can be dispensed have too much than too little. And, as with all beneath the deafening racket of an inhu- and presence known. art, improvisation is key. man and insane corporate capitalist system. Making Paste: There are two schools of Design: Good design is key to getting your Behind every advertisement—a baton; paste making: the old school actually uses flour message across, and good design is easy if behind every “new and improved” prod- and water and the new uses wallpaper adhesive. you stick to a few simple guidelines. Remem- uct—a canister of tear gas; behind every TV Both are e¤ective, but we certainly lean toward ber that most people will see these from a dis- the new school—less prep time, less room for tance, so make the headline HUGE and leg- show—a tank; behind every newspaper—a mistakes in preparation, and easier application. ible and use images that are high in contrast prison cell; and behind every textbook—a The key advantage to the old school is that you and equally large. Be sure the message comes graveyard. The classroom, the chat room, probably already have all the ingredients at your across without having to read the fine print. It the bedroom, the church, the psychiatrist’s disposal without having to go to the store. Try might be smart to include a paragraph or so couch, the cash register, the answering ma- both for yourself and see what works best. of smaller print expanding your statement for the casually interested; also, it’s a good idea chine, the oªce, the bar, the jail—these are • Wheat Paste: Pour one cup of flour into one to include some type of contact info for those all spaces in which we are confronted with and a half cups of water, stir to remove all who become motivated by your actions, usu- our incapacity to speak. lumps and heat to a boil until it thickens. (a) (B) ally a web page or several work very well. Add more water until it turns into a thick, clearish goop. Cook on low heat for at least Poster ProDuction: The bigger the But perhaps the most glaring expression of half an hour, being careful not to burn out of much smaller holes. We recommend poster the better, and Kinko’s can help you with our voicelessness is in the streets. it. Some people add a little sugar or corn bottled water containers and squeezable dish this; most Kinko’s have special copy machines starch for added voodoo stickiness. The les- washing soap containers with pop-up nozzles, that can blow up Letter size or Tabloid size pa- More and more the streets of our cities son here is: don’t be afraid to experiment. respectively. It can also be helpful to have per to 18”x24”, or even bigger. These machines speak in the monolithic, inhuman brutality something to smooth the posters up on the usually do not have counters and use the honor • Wallpaper Adhesive: This can be purchased wall—you can use something general like a system to charge for the copies. Also, contrary of the suburbs. People bustle about like ants (or otherwise obtained) suspicion-free at any window-washing squeegee from a gas station, to what you may think, the thinner the paper confined within mass-produced, lifeless and home improvement or paint store, such as or get a plastic wallpaper smoother (B) made the better, as it will be harder to remove. We drab metal boxes amongst mass-produced, Home Depot. They come in either pre-mixed for just this purpose and available at the same also recommend rolling and rubber-banding lifeless and drab buildings. We rarely even buckets of various sizes or in boxes of un- stores you can get wallpaper adhesive from, each poster individually for quicker deploy- mixed powder (a) and are relatively inexpen- often on the same shelf. ment in the field. (see photo to left) have the opportunity to pretend to acknowl- edge one another with our robotic lies of The Walls are Alive! “how are you doing?” and “pretty well.” The streets speak the language of money, and Many of us have beautiful things to say but are continuously so our oªcial options are either to speak this drowned out and stepped on. We need each other to speak the language as well, or shut our fucking mouths . . . voice of struggle to the fullest. We are the agitated and the agitators, sharing our knowledge Graªti is a means to begin speaking, and with you so we can begin to break free together; and begin to trans- to begin liberating space for human use. By fer the screams within our hearts to poetry upon the walls. We will writing and creating art on privately-owned continue to take back our streets; and we encourage you to do the same with yours. We will be watching over you, gaining inspiration buildings, we give birth to a human lan- from your poetry upon the walls, and kissing you ever so gently guage that cannot be owned or exploited for upon your head—finding hope within each other to stay afloat in profit. Graªti is criminalized because the this sea of hopelessness. Lest we forget, amidst the ever-increasing graªti artist and the capitalist cannot both motorization, militarization, privatization, and sterilization of our be heard at the same time. Graªti speaks spaces, the walls are alive! from the darkness where there are no wit- The images in this pamphlet are from Palestine, Northern Ire- nesses, and yet it is nothing if not visible. land, Australia, Canada, England, Mexico, Italy, and the States. We Graªti vocalizes all of the thoughts and encourage you to reproduce the contents of this pamphlet, steal its images locked inside our hearts and minds text and images, share it with your friends, and cover your streets by an incarcerated society. Graªti makes co- with love and rage. herent our frantic urges to struggle against disclaimer the strangulation of our everyday lives. The brilliance of graªti is not so much in the We are streetwriters. We are not particularly spe- Completed in the spring of 2002, more than 4,000 cial. We are not professionals. You wouldn’t know specific words or images, or in how many copies of The Walls Are Alive were published and that we are streetwriters if you met us. We are a lot distributed by its creators, most of whom became like you. We are just people with anger and passion people see them for how long, but more and hope and vision, just like you. And we create firestarter (press and distro). This publication was graªti as a means of speaking and acting towards a in the process of people coming together, re- if graffiti didn't change anything, produced, using the original text and pamphlet as a free society—the kind of society that you and I, and model and source, by CrimethInc., who in turn have we, could actually live in together. learning what they want to say and saying it. printed 60,000 of these in various forms and print- We write on walls with paint where we live—in ings, one of which you are reading right now. rather mid-sized cities with universities. We have not yet done graªti on water towers or skyscrapers or police cars. We have made plenty of mistakes The crew of graªti artists must each love life—and each other—enough to help keep it would be legal. and we learn as we go. We know only know so This zine and a vast variety of other much, but what we know we are excited to share. incindiary and topical literature can be We work in groups and work alone. Some prefer one another out of jail. They must learn to to work alone because of the ease of going out on obtained from us for a song. your own time, the increased freedom of movement, be close enough to communicate clearly: in and the lack of someone to blame if you or someone else gets caught. Others prefer groups for lookouts, whispers, in just a few seconds, and in code. A single copy of this zine is available decoys, and companionship. This pamphlet focuses And so our speaking takes many forms, for free (donations appreciated). mostly on group work. Bundles of 25 copies are $2 each + postage. We are sharing this publication with you be- cause if you want to create graªti as well, we from the passionate shouts on the wall to the would like you to do an excellent job. If you are gentle reassurances we share when we have going to create graªti, we hope that it is brilliant, bold, strategic, and enjoyable. successfully acted and evaded the grasp of www.crimethinc.com And most importantly . . . It’s not so much that the police. we want you to create graªti, because, you under- CrimethInc. Home Oªce stand, if you create graªti, you are breaking the law. And we obviously can’t actually want you to PO Box 13998 Salem OR 97309 break the law—that would be silly . . . But if you’re going to break the law anyway, you might as well try if you had a wall and plenty of paint . . . not to get caught. what would you say? Preparation� Strategy� There are a few things you should do before an likely to be caught. Don’t let yourself tion/agreed upon getaway location, it This section aims to present strategic recom- overpasses, stadiums, freight trains, oil up more to incite you to try something crafty action to keep yourself and the people you’re get too comfortable, even if you are at would be good to find a place to hide mendations for maximizing the impact of tankers, tractor trailers, tanks, helicopters, and ingenious. working with (they should be people you know the Nike megastore you drive your bike after you’re a ways from your last target graªti and to provoke clever and new ways of hot-air balloons, etc.). • Navigate your way through a business park and trust) safe . . . and, to enjoy yourself and not past everyday. Being comfortable in (and the persyn following you). This putting it up. or to a skyscraper rooftop with a 3-piece suit get caught. illegal situations is never a good thing. location could be a well-crowded area, a For short, repetitive messages and stencils: High- and a briefcase full of cans. Just be alert and ready to act; anything dumpster, a bike trail, an underground traªc pedestrian areas seem to be the most 1. Map out the area you will be working in can happen. tunnel, a bush, or anywhere you won’t Picking your targets • Wear your dirtiest clothes and stumble e¤ective: sidewalks, walls, benches, and and have an escape route to a strategic be noticed. Here, you can leave all evi- through the streets at night with a shop- • Try to start small and make your way up For jamming: Corporate America leave behind whatever else is on the street. location (one that would be okay to go to if dence of your involvement in the illegal ping cart full of empty aluminum cans, and to bigger projects. That way, if you are their message? Have fun with it. Play with several hidden spraypaint cans. followed). act and also change your appearance existing messages or surroundings. Make caught earlier on that night, it’s likely your artwork hasn’t been noticed by your with di¤erent clothing and/or hair- people laugh. Make your space interactive. the plan of action • Create a large, multi-paneled stencil and try 2. Things to take with you: styles/hats. Create dialogue on the walls. Oftentimes putting it up and painting it. interrogators and you will only be ques- Is the two lookouts and one painter routine • A change of clothes: to change into if tioned about what you were seen doing. • Also decide whether everyone is going to the message is tthe medium. getting boring? Tired of the tactic of acting • In the afternoon, on a busy city street, rope seen stay together (choose a nearby location to normal and blending in to arouse less suspi- o¤ a sidewalk area with yellow tape, don • Assign roles—it may be helpful to de- meet and then all go to the get-away loca- For large freestanding messages: Scout out cion? Certain spots hard to get to? Below are an orange reflector vest and a hardhat, post • Latex gloves: to keep your fingers evi- cide who wants to do what for each run tion) or just go straight to the destination spots that are highly visible and well- several strategies—not yet attempted by us, “wet paint” signs, and begin work with dence free—the more durable, the better that evening. for escapees and wait until everyone ar- traveled in the daytime and deserted at but tried successfully by friends and others. paint rollers. • Good running shoes • Lookouts: It’s ideal to have two (one look- rives. It may be good if this location has a nighttime (oªce buildings, highways, Emulate them if you like, but we o¤er them ing down either direction of the street). telephone that could be called by anyone • And of course permanent markers, spray paint, stencils, and anything else you • Artists: Alternate! Let everyone express that may get arrested (assuming that at To t Streets! desire to beautify the streets with his or her creativity, concerns, and ideas. least one persyn gets away). • Who you can contact in case shit goes Things not to take with you: down: housemates, friends, someone Getaway Plan: you may have mentioned to before the • Radical material/propaganda (i.e. flyers, • Whether you go by bike, foot, or utilize outing that you could put yourself in an zines, pamphlets, stickers, buttons, public transportation, everyone should arrestable situation, and/or lawyers (a • Be quick. Be bold, but stay alert! Compla- likely to report bigger stu¤, so once you do • Try using a snap-on spraypaint trigger to patches: things that are good not to feel comfortable and able to escape cell phone may be useful). cency is death. big stu¤, get out of the area. reduce hand fatigue. have if caught and searched) by the means you decide to use. Your • Find out about local laws and know your • Nighttime provides best cover. Always have • If can is almost empty, don’t shake it • Writing with really fat markers is also fun. • Identification: this one is your call. It’s means should also be quick, accessible one or two lookouts. Look for pedestrians (makes a loud noise which blows your rights—key if caught by the authorities. • Using a paintbrush may increase boldness good not to have on you because if you and allow you to go where the cops and people in cars and in windows. All are cover). Drop it and change cans or retire for can’t (so a bike may just be your best of message, but takes longer. are caught you have the option of giving potential cops or whistleblowers. the night. The amount of paint wasted isn’t the pigs false information, but it may bet). Also discuss where to meet when 4. Create action names or a way to communi- worth a night in jail. • Just because a spot is hard to reach does not on the run—at your bikes, a location in • Act nonchalant. Have bikes or skateboards. give them more reason to harass ya. cate without using words. Try using a call mean your piece will stay up longer. the area, someone’s home. . . How long Maybe cigarettes. that can be made and heard by all partici- stencils • Works best if one persyn writes (consistent do you plan to be out? The faster your pants: barking, howling, party sounds (be • Stay aware of your location. Roam, but • Be quick and plenty (repetitive) handwriting), but 2 or more allow you to 3. Discuss your plan of action with your crew: outing, the sooner you’ll be out of the creative). know where you are. • Di¤erent tips (nozzles) increase flow and finish sooner. You should always keep at • Decide which institutions you plan to range of the cops. • Know when to stop. Just because no one least one lookout. Look in every direction. target and what your mark may be for speed the process.1 • Since you’ll probably be running away 5. And it’s best not to go on an empty stomach. has seen you, doesn’t mean you should • It may be necessary to roller paint behind each. Though this can be fun to decide from the persyn who spotted you You may want to dumpster some goodies en carry on. Otherwise, you’ll always be paint- • Works best if one persyn holds stencil while your message first to increase its boldness. after you’re out, you need to think of (though it is good to walk if you are a route to your chosen destination. ing until you are caught and have to run one spraypaints (both wear gloves) and one eªciency. Time is key. If you’re out for lookout, and were not seen as being away night after night. or two serve as lookouts. a long period of time, you are more involved) and towards your transporta- • Do stencils or one or two large wall • Keep the can in your pocket or a bag; carry the stencil in a notebook, binder, or bag. 1 Acquire a package of these tips at hardware stores scrawls—not both. Once a wall scrawl is up, or skate shops. Play around with the di¤erent tips it will be noticed soon enough by the cops Mapping it Out� before you hit the streets. You will be amazed at the no matter how deserted the area seems. If Wall scrawls speed with which some of the tips dispense paint. doing both small repetitive stu¤ (stencils) Also, for wall scrawls, the tips often produce stylis- and larger, bolder stu¤ in the same night, • Maximum-flow tips are also helpful here for tic e¤ects that make your piece exciting and more save the large stu¤ for last. People are more both speed and aesthetics. artistic than you thought you could be. We are so isolated in this society; we hardly b. At night (in the form of cars, cops, • How are di¤erent sections of town used ever realize we are engaging with specific spac- drunks, homeless folks) and will they (i.e. are there lots of shoppers, business- Your Escape es. We need to re-teach each other to notice get you in trouble or provide cover? men, students, drinkers, etc.)? where we are, how we exist in relation to our environment, and how we hope to re-shape the • Who are the major fuckers in the area • What sections of town are important to worlds we live in. This is important not only and how do they defend their property the ruling elites and why? (For example: because it will help keep us safe when out on against creative expression? is there a neighborhood slated for demo- You never want to plan to get caught, but it you be guilty? A Louisiana state court judge able) false information about yourself. Have graªti missions, but in all facets of our lives. lition to build a freeway?) may be in your best interest to assume it is very told one of us of a case where a working- a city, zip code and area code memorized • What streets lead where and how do they possible and likely if you’re not cautious (or class man, simply trying to feed himself, just in case. some things to ask yourself about your All of this information, and more, will make even if you are). Be aware that if the police catch was caught fishing in a no-fishing zone. The connect to each other? surroundings: your e¤orts more e¤ective. Often there is at you running, they can tack on another charge man’s guilt was obvious, but he walked free • Be completely calm. Remember: you didn’t • Are there people who might give you least one persyn who might have a sense of against you. because the arresting oªcer, when ques- do anything wrong. • What are the quickest get-away routes? answers to these questions, but it is really tioned, never actually saw the hook on the refuge in their homes if you have to flee • Be ignorant about why you were chosen to from the law? important to democratize the information. Remember, before you even encounter the man’s fishing line. be fucked with. • Where are there large concentrations of We can never be too educated; the police and police, you should try to discard or hide as people? • They will try to get you to talk, but don’t • Where can you go that the police can’t go corporations we are struggling against always much incriminating stu¤ as you can (paint, What to do if stopped/ hesitate to ask lots-o-questions: “Am I un- a. During the day (to see your artwork) with you (and/or see you)? know plenty about “their” territory. gloves, stencils, paint-covered clothes). In der arrest?” “May I ask why you’re search- fact the best and quickest thing to discard is questioned/searched by the pigs ing me?” “Why do you need my informa- the paint can tips. It sounds silly, but if the • Have a good excuse as to why you are wher- tion?” “Why do you need a photograph?” stencil instructions cops find a can on you without a tip, they will ever you may be, what you’re doing, why “Do I smell bacon?” have a very diªcult time pressing charges and proving your guilt in court. If you had no you’re out at that hour (if late) . . . • A lighter and spraypaint work wonders on way of dispensing the paint, then how could • You may want to give them good (believ- approaching cops! • Draw or copy your image on a piece of paper. A beginners guide to Post-Action Regroup� • Glue the paper onto a bit of card using good glue. painting with stencils • Cut straight through the drawing and card at the same time using a very sharp knife. Snap o¤ blades are the best. The sharper your knife, the better your stencil looks. If you avoided the law, get together soon after- • If you get caught, work on getting out of the law books. In all likelihood, it’s just a mis- • Ideal card should be about 1.5mm thick—much fatter and it’s too diªcult and ward while ideas are still fresh in your mind situation. Then regroup and do the above demeanor. If you have a strong case to prove boring to cut through. Any thinner and it gets sloppy quick. and discuss failures, successes, and ways it could stu¤, especially support. Jail can be a terrify- “reasonable doubt,” fight it if you can. Other- • Find an unassuming piece of card as a folder to hold your stencil in and leave have gone smoother. ing, depressing, humiliating, belittling ex- wise, possible punishments include com- the house before you think of something more comfortable you could be doing. perience. Comfort, learn, and continue . . . munity service (usually 20-40 hours), a fine, • If you want, write down stu¤, so next time paying only the costs of court (usually around • Get a small roll of tape and pre-tear small strips ready to attach stencil to the wall. Streetwriters . . . we need you! it will be better. And if you want to help oth- $100), or a day or two in jail (highly unlikely). • Shake and test can of paint before you leave. Matte finish comes out better and ers, compile everything you learned in an Oftentimes, you (juveniles, especially) can dries quicker. anonymous pamphlet or flyer. strike a deal where you agree to a punish- if you are caught and arrested: ment and your record is unscathed. Punish- • Apply paint sparingly. • Ensure everyone is comforted after a high- ment also depends on your prior record and stress night. Understand and discuss each • Move around the city quickly. Be quiet. You may have to spend several the court location (many large, urban areas other’s fears, angers, joys, and doubts. hours or a night in jail. Possible charges have tough laws against graªti). If you’re re- • Pace yourself and repeat as often as you feel inadequate and no one listens to a Remember: comfort the distressed, distress include “vandalism,” “destruction of govern- ally worried, do some research into it. word you say. the comfortable! ment (or private) property,” or whatever else • Tell no one of your streetwriting adventures. the various county or city police have in their
"Walls Are Alive"