NOTE: Everything in this article is against the law. If you do it, you will go to jail or something.
Most of us think of graffiti as an urban art relegated to back alleys, rap album covers and all of New York City in the 1980s. But sometimes an artist comes along who proves that with enough creativity, vandalism can transcend typical scribbles and dick pictures on the wall. OK, maybe we spoke too soon about the dick pictures, considering ...
#7. The Penis Bridge
As any novice vandal can tell you, the key to a good public penis drawing is execution, and nobody has executed a better one than the Russian art group Voina. When Russia hosted an international economic forum, Voina decided it was the perfect time to get their classy protest on. And just so you know who we're talking about, these guys once staged an orgy in protest of their presidential election, so you know they've got their heads in the right place.
In 2010, the group decided to paint a massive dick on a drawbridge in the middle of St. Petersburg, coordinating the operation so that they could sprint out, paint it and get back before security grabbed them. The result:
We would give anything in the world to find out that they didn't know that was back there during this shot.
So picture this: You've got to cross the Neva River, but you don't make it to the Liteiny Bridge on time. As the drawbridge rises to the sky, so does an erect phallus that's painted on it. Plain as the nose on your face and the junk in your shorts, thanks to the lamps lighting up the street-dong for the whole world to see. We're not usually into graffiti this crude, but a 224-foot-long wiener rising toward the heavens is about as good as it gets. And thanks to river traffic, the penis was stuck there all night, until the bridge was lowered at 5 a.m. And even after that, it took a few days to get the paint off.
So what was all the dick-painting about? Voina was mad at the Federal Security Service, otherwise known as the post-KGB KGB. They even released a statement: "We have painted a giant phallus to show what the FSB and Interior Ministry are doing in terms of security for the forum." Soooo, symbolism isn't their strong point. Fair enough. By the way, here's them actually doing it:
#6. The Barcaccia Fountain Ball Pit
Via NY Times
Have you ever wondered what it would look like if you unleashed 500,000 colorful balls on an unsuspecting city? Of course not, you're neither a Batman villain nor a 4-year-old. And you're certainly not professional prankster Graziano Cecchini, who not only makes a living pulling stunts a frat boy would shit his pants over, but raises the money to do them on such a scale that we can't even talk about his work with starving African children. The awkwardness would be sky-high.
So when Cecchini decided to turn one of the most historic fountains in Rome into an enormous Chuck E. Cheese style ball pit, he went big. The video below shows the release of the balls down the steps as unsuspecting Italians narrowly avoid clownish pratfalls. If you watch closely, you'll see a middle-aged man gleefully dancing a jig at the top of the steps. That's either Cecchini or somebody with a medical condition we shouldn't be making fun of.
By the time the balls rolled down the world-famous 138 Spanish Steps and into the slope that led to the Barcaccia fountain, the historic 385-year-old monument looked like God's toilet bowl after heaven's free strawberry daiquiri night.
It was a perfectly executed $30,000 prank that, according to Cecchini, somehow symbolized nothing more than "problems we have in Italy." What kinds of problems? Not-enough-balls problems, maybe? The vicious anti-play pit legislation up for debate in the Italian senate? An abundance of red testicles? Call us crazy, but we think this guy was more into whimsical mayhem than political statements. Coming from the same man who once dyed the water in the historic Trevi fountain red to protest money spent on a local film festival (See? the red represents the red carpet! Art!), we're not thinking this king of clowns had much more in mind than just a good time. That's what you get when you don't invite the artsy kids to your Chuck E. Cheese parties.
"Make sure the clean up crew doesn't get here too quickly, I promised my kids I'd take them by after school."
#5. Junk Griffin
Not every art school grad is frittering away his life at Starbucks and waiting tables, contrary to what probably springs to mind when you hear "art school grad." One group of London artists, set designers, sculptors and art directors pooled their collective talents that would otherwise be wasted on the food service industry into one big project: Robots. Specifically, robots made out of reclaimed wood, trash and other junk. When two Roboters traveled to America in 2010, they decided that what Brooklyn really needed was a 9-foot-tall moving griffin perched atop a dilapidated building.
Via NY Times
Please tell us that thing breathes fire on unsuspecting pedestrians.
Unfortunately, the picture above isn't the first version of the griffin, because the first version was destroyed by the guy who happened to own the building the dynamic duo put their griffin on. And asking permission to construct a giant wooden contraption atop a roof on a NYC street wasn't in their agenda that day. So when the manager of the building took a glance up and saw what looks to us like the skeletal remains of a harbinger of the apocalypse poised to attack, he had the creators arrested and the structure dismantled. Some people just don't get it.
It didn't take long for someone else to appreciate the beauty of a leering mythical creature made of wood, so a restaurant owner offered his own rooftop for the sculpture. That kind of ruins the point of vandalism, but whatever.
Maybe it's just us, but seeing it in that position, we really want them to make one that vomits.
#4. Street Art, Literally
You know how sometimes filmmakers leave their cameras out for hours to make time lapse videos? And the results look like really cool neon lights over a harbor or street or a baby turtle smoking a cigarette or something? Imagine if you could make that in a few minutes without a camera and without neon lights. All you have to do is slop tons of brightly colored paint on strategic points of a busy intersection and let the cars do the rest.
"Now that you're all culpable, no one can call the cops!"
That's what German art group IEPE did with the help of 2,000 commuters in 2010. The art project, titled "Painting Reality," consisted of members of the group dumping 500 liters of different colored water-based paints at different points in one intersection. When the cars, buses and horses (they still use those in Germany, right?) drove their natural course, they tracked through the paint, drawing out their traffic routes in bright neon colors.
Imagine going to your regular German destinations, the lederhosen store and austerity measure factory and whatnot, only to later find out that you were tricked into participating in a goofy public art project without your consent. What started as a regular drive ended up looking like a giant toddler went nuts with some sidewalk chalk. And we're sure the commuters who now had paint splattered on the bottom of their cars were totally fine with it.