‘Retain some of the chaos and the feeling you are free to paint’

You may have spotted some of B’s yellow and black figures on Athenian walls, or emerging from ruined buildings in Omonia, Metaxourgeio and Gazi. «I like abandoned buildings. I like discovering old walls, painting in odd spots, to lead passers-by on a route they would not have taken otherwise. For example, by painting something on the corner of an out-of-the-way side street, I get passers-by to turn the corner and see the rest.» He likes «familiarizing people with places and routes they formerly found repellent or inhospitable. Painting a wall or renovating a building supposedly upgrades it. I think I also upgrade a building, except my method is more of an intervention and sometimes more violent.» What does the city mean to him? «Walking around the center you can experience the passage of time from antiquity to the present.» He sees Athens as a «chaotic system that somehow works, in a curious way. You just need time to lose yourself in the city. It’s great for having fun. It is a city constantly under construction. This gives you the feeling that you can create surfaces that last for a while then something else take their place. So you don’t need to think a lot; you just take advantage of the fact that it constantly gives you new places for action. Of course, this feeling of a construction site has to stop sometime. Until then, however, that’s Athens. I hope things will get fixed up a bit. But I would like there to be a place that retains some of the chaos, and the feeling that you are free to paint.» (1) This article first appeared in Kathimerini’s color supplement K on September 10, 2006.