It’s almost sublimely subversive to publish your illegal graffiti escapades in a handsomely bound photo book with creamy paper stock and gauzy, professional photos. Positioned as a travelogue across the great Australian continent (complete with a hand-drawn map), the international troupe of sprayers named 1UP from Germany provides a genteel accounting of their expansive itinerary in a diary here for you, dear reader.
They say they are embarking on what is cheekily described as the “Gentlemen’s Tour” in certain aerosol circles. The band of anonymous travelers accompanies their multi-city art exhibition tour at respectable art/café/gallery venues with a parallel expedition in mind: hitting all five commuter train systems of Australia – including Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Jotted with aplomb, these adventures appear rather squirreled away between sometimes heroic, sometimes misty atmospheric photographs by OLF, – a gentle mix of storytelling that can be disarming in its dreamy aspirational quality. “Our imagination was running wild: what will happen in Australia? Kangaroos, parties, trains, bombing! What will the desert be like? How will we endure the many thousands of kilometers driving across the country?”
The stories are not without surprise and carefully touch on all the necessary road trip tropes you may wish for but cannot be assured of in a cross-country graffiti tale of skylarking and aesthetic destruction: angry rural police, security cameras, sleeping in rolled-up carpets, fancy receptions with Aperol Spritz, climbing over fences, sudden fire extinguisher tags, exploding paint cans, smoky wildfires, beaches, wallabies, long never-ending-stretches of road, the Sydney Harbor, an emergency-brake whole-car in Melbourne, and yes, a large kangaroo smashing into your car on a darkened country path.
One favorite tale includes the officer who grills them about painting a water tower and who protects the little lady from his swear words so he can awaken the slippery conscience inside these trapped vandals.
Then he told our female companion to put her hands over her ears and screamed at us two blokes, “Fucking grow up!”
By the end of the slim journal told in the voice of the royal “we”, you are satisfied that they have traveled further than they ever imagined, and you went with them. They may have indeed matured a little, you’ll tell yourself, but hopefully, they have not grown up. Thankfully, not enough to assure that there will not be a sequel adventure trip in another country sooner than later.
PAINT, FUN, RUN, 1UP & OLF: GENTLE PEOPLE TOUR. 1UP CREW BERLIN. PRINTED AND BOUND IN GERMANY