A few months ago I was asked to paint a facade in Hamburg’s Karolinenviertel, just steps away where the G20 summit took place in 2017. Asking what the subject should be I just received one word “Snowden”. What began were weeks of researching the whistle blower, watching documentaries, reading dozens of articles and playing around with ideas. Subjects like this are especially challenging as there is so much information and angles to work with, which also makes it very interesting.
After gathering all the information and having started some unsuccessful drafts it finally clicked when I read one of his quotes and how differently he is perceived depending if you are the one spied upon or the one doing the spying. Edward Snowden doesn’t see himself as a hero, instead he insists that what he did was out of a personal morality to do the right thing which gives everyone the opportunity to follow in his footsteps. Seen as a hero by most, the then government of Barak Obama called him a terrorist and Angela Merkel, whose cell phone was tapped for years, did not react when Snowden asked for asylum.
Unfortunately, the mural got partially destroyed in the last month – claiming that “how can you paint something political, especially in this time”. Well d’uh, exactly because of that.
The short video shows the entire painting process of my biggest multi-layer stencil yet. To give you some idea, it consists of over 30 individual stencils each measuring ca 0.8 x 1.20 m using up more than 60 sqm of cardboard. All stencils were hand-cut, before I had taken the first spray can into my hand, I had invested already more than 180 hours. Still, this was a blast to prepare and paint.