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Graffiti...but with a message

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zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
#6
Some people simply have too much time on their hands. Saw this little pictograph all over Portugal and Spain. IMG_1465.JPG IMG_1510.JPG IMG_1629.JPG
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#9
Much as graffiti is a bane, I have to admit the 'STOP Complaining' one makes me chuckle.
Excellent advice. (About graffiti too - yeah, we hate it, but complaining doesn't make it go away, it just makes us miserable, thousands of Kms away.)
I've got your 1st, 4th, and 5th in my stash of camino pics, @zrexer. And I bet @Rick of Rick and Peg and I are not the only ones. Certain themes resonate after a while on the road.
 

Miekemcm

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2015, 2018
#10
This series of graffiti, and the one with the song "let it be" helped me so much during my Camino in 2015! I was going through a very hard time, and the lines penned at regular intervals started to become my mantra and eventually helped me in overcoming the negative "chatter" in my head! Forever grateful!
 

GaTeach

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Beginning from SJPP on June 9, 2017
#12
Elvis loves you. One month before I left, we had just gotten a class pet....a California King Snake we named Elvis. It was soooo fun running into these rocks along the Way. I even carried one home with me and put in his tank. :)


enhance.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
#18
For a long stretch of VDLP and Camino Sanabres, I repeatedly saw stone way markers that had been tagged with a nickname and date in black permanent marker pen - nothing creative, nothing witty, just self-centred defacement. I started to think about walking in reverse for a few days so that I could identify the vandal by comparing Albergue guest books with those dates. Then I realised that I was letting this selfish person get into my head, so I tried to ignore the scribbles for the rest of the way.
On my Camino, I mostly met people who try to "take only photographs and leave only footprints," so that future generations of pilgrims can enjoy the experience. I appreciate the chance to express how graffiti and "souvenir taking," (e.g. removing metal distance plates from milestones) makes me feel. Perhaps some people will read this thread and understand that.
 

GaTeach

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Beginning from SJPP on June 9, 2017
#19
Others may disagree, but if the message and/or artwork is nice, I don’t mind a bit of graffiti and will take a photo of it
If you let graffiti get to you, you will hate every second of the Frances. It's pervasive. I've never seen graffiti like this in my life. For me it was best to embrace it and look for the messages and the fun. :)
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#21
Maybe I'm old fashioned and perhaps boring, but I find no motivation or talent or art in worn out, cliche motivational phrases crudely scrawled without permission on other people's, or public property. It's simply the wrong thing to do, and quite frankly is childish. That also includes the John Lennon lyrics spray painted on rubbish bins(?). Really? Rubbish bins with garbage overflowing from them? I'm sure he would have loved to see that.
It seems almost impossible now to observe a Camino, stone distance marker that has not been damaged and defaced with paint, or had the distance plate physically removed by some dull dimwit. So sad.
 

NavyBlue

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy and Camino Frances. Via Francigena. Tro-Breiz in progress.
#22
Hi RJM,

I agree with you. And with the second proposal on this one.

P1050122r.JPG
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015) Scotland GGW (2017) Primitivo (2018) if all vital signs working
#25
Perhaps my age is showing, but I still value the simple things I learned early on in life; respect, consideration, generosity and such. There seems to be a heightened acceptance of so much that is crude, disrespectful and selfish. Although I do feel there is more good in the world than not.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances to Fisterra/Muxia 2013, twice in 2014, 2015, twice in 2016, 2017, a week on the VdlP
#26
The Oxford dictionary defines graffiti as "Writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place". And illicitly is the operative word. The Camino is not your property and you have no right to abuse it according to your whim.

The Camino is not just a pilgrimage path which thousands walk each year. It is a place of residence for thousands of people who have chosen to live there and a place of work for the farmers and winemakers among many many others. You are effectively walking through peoples neighbourhoods, which has added religious and historical significance, and defacing what is not yours.

Look out your window right now, if you're at home of course, and imagine watching thousands of people walking past casually spraying inane comments and images that mean nothing to you or your neighbours. I for one would hate to see graffiti constantly being done and so would the local council I imagine. In many countries it is illegal and the culprits prosecuted. Unfortunately, the sheer size of the Camino means policing such behaviour is impossible.

There is a definite irony that people discuss carrying the lightest load you can. Leave what is unnecessary and survive on the basics. Don't carry your fears in your pack. The Camino humbles you. And yet so many seem unable to leave their ego at home. That need for immortality, that desire others know you were there manifests in that ugly writing that disturbs the beauty for others.

Please travel lightly by leaving your ego and those pens and paint at home. If I want some clever quotes I will visit a bookshop and not a Holy Path.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#27
An English translation of the famous Basque poem by Eugenio Garibay in a highway underpass near the Santiago Airport, a Spanish version decorates a wall on the way into Najera.
DSCN0357.JPG
 
#28
Ok, blow me apart and find the pieces on every Camino, but, when we all walk the Camino, we do so for a reason, no matter what that reason may be. Are we not all looking for a deeper meaning than we can find if we stayed home?

Is this not why we go on pilgrimage, in this particular part of the world?

In this, a pilgrimage is very personal, no matter where it may be located. If it did not help us find who / what we are, reach some semblance of why we do this, and go back again, and again.....and again, we would not do it at all, would we?

With graffiti, some feel they are leaving a mark on this world. This includes personal tagging, though repeated tags is somewhat superfluous, it seems to be a need being fulfilled by some. Some are more permanent. I believe the less permanent ones are there to express current thoughts, to entertain and disappear, like telling a joke or short story, but they all have meaning to the writer, an importance at the time of execution.

One place graffiti is accepted is, "Cruz de Fero". Many stones left behind have a deep, personal message left on them. This is where permanance is essential to the writer, and a place where they know that message will endure, a monument, however small. No one has complained or mentioned this, so far.

I will be taking a Sharpie with me this year. I have a lot to process all the time and I will be writing on stones, only stones. But I plan on doing things quite different. Most of what I will write will not come to me until I am out there, struck with inspiration and a need to record it. When it is significant enough, I will find a stone that is suitable, write my message and then I will do one of three things with it;

1) For those messages I need to share, I will leave the stone in a place where it can be seen, "face up," so everyone can discover it.
2) For special messages, they may be placed in a similar place as, "1)," but the message will not be visible. It will be placed, "face down." This message is only for true Seekers and few will ever discover them.
3) For those thoughts that I must record but are for me only, I will place the message on a stone and throw it over my shoulder so I have no idea where it lands or whether the message lands visible or not. In this way, I will make my insignificant mark on this world, as the spirit moves, and in the place it moved me.

Fear not. I will also have a voice recorder with me and plan on recording everything on it as I go. Who knows what may come of the exercise.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#30
With graffiti, some feel they are leaving a mark on this world. This includes personal tagging, though repeated tags is somewhat superfluous, it seems to be a need being fulfilled by some. Some are more permanent. I believe the less permanent ones are there to express current thoughts, to entertain and disappear, like telling a joke or short story, but they all have meaning to the writer, an importance at the time of execution.
Nah, probably not. Just immature, dysfunctional and selfish attention seekers most likely. What they don't realize is that 99% of others could care less and aren't impressed about the thoughts and opinions they crudely expressed to the world in the form of spray paint or heavy duty permanent ink markers. Then later some poor local has to try and remove the damage or paint it over. Has happened several times on the metal figures on Alto del Perdon.
If they want to leave a mark on this world, why not do charitable work? Organize. Feed. Water. House. Heck, volunteer in a halfway house or a homeless kitchen. Do something with so much more substance than deliberately carrying a can of spray paint with you on a pilgrimage (Who does that? I say while shaking my head in disgust.) with the sole purpose of (criminally) defacing property that does not belong to them.
 
#32
Nah, probably not. Just immature, dysfunctional and selfish attention seekers most likely. What they don't realize is that 99% of others could care less and aren't impressed about the thoughts and opinions they crudely expressed to the world in the form of spray paint or heavy duty permanent ink markers. Then later some poor local has to try and remove the damage or paint it over. Has happened several times on the metal figures on Alto del Perdon.
If they want to leave a mark on this world, why not do charitable work? Organize. Feed. Water. House. Heck, volunteer in a halfway house or a homeless kitchen. Do something with so much more substance than deliberately carrying a can of spray paint with you on a pilgrimage (Who does that? I say while shaking my head in disgust.) with the sole purpose of (criminally) defacing property that does not belong to them.
Thank you for the note, RJM,

Missed my point completely, and I did anticipate that some will. I do not stand against the wind, only merely attempt to guide it in the right direction. Sadly, those who only see the bad in this media will likely never change, unless they ar open to change. But, the Camino is a great place to experience the evolution of spirit.

Ultreia
 

NavyBlue

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy and Camino Frances. Via Francigena. Tro-Breiz in progress.
#33
Michelle,

Could the stamps on one's credencial, blogs, forum messages etc. be better (tidy, respectful of locals...) solutions for keeping a trace or sharing with others ?
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#34
Thank you for the note, RJM,

Missed my point completely, and I did anticipate that some will. I do not stand against the wind, only merely attempt to guide it in the right direction. Sadly, those who only see the bad in this media will likely never change, unless they ar open to change. But, the Camino is a great place to experience the evolution of spirit.

Ultreia
Miss your point? Nah...
I didn't really see it as a point, but more as an attempt to excuse inexcusable behavior. Apparently most see it the same way, as there are criminal laws prohibiting damaging of other's property by graffiti, and of course the prying off of kilometer plates as well.
but hey, keep guiding that wind....;)
 
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#37
RJM,

No, my point has been missed. Criminal actions and mischief are just that and deserve what comes. I do not condone such activity. But it is not our place to judge. That is my point, as you have now judged me, for simply offering a different perspective.

I will pray for you.
 
#38
Michelle,

Could the stamps on one's credencial, blogs, forum messages etc. be better (tidy, respectful of locals...) solutions for keeping a trace or sharing with others ?
Hi NavyBlue,

I appreciate your insight.

Perhaps I need to repackage this.

"YOU CANNOT DO THAT!" or, "THAT IS NOT RIGHT!"

What do you think / feel when someone tells you these words or when they are being used between two others?

I agree that stamps in a credenciel, blogs, vlogs, forum messages, pictures videos are a wonderful way of capturing memories and recording them. We are talking about an age group, some, not all, that are open to different expression. Some is damaging and that is not right. Some are welcome, thoughtful, giving, intelligent. And I guess a lesson my Dad gave me applies in this case. "When we go fishing for trout, we have to fish through the chub, shiners, bluegills and suckers, and sometimes a turtle or two to get to the trout."

I find it quite intersting that one person expresses a different thought, and gets judged and attacked for it.

When I talk about writing on rocks, I am talking about something less than half the size of the palm of your hand. Most will never discover any of them. It is a different media, even the way I will be using them.

Hope this clarifies.
 

NavyBlue

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy and Camino Frances. Via Francigena. Tro-Breiz in progress.
#41
"YOU CANNOT DO THAT!" or, "THAT IS NOT RIGHT!"

What do you think / feel when someone tells you these words or when they are being used between two others?
Hi Michelle,

I had no opportunity to see people writing graffiti and I don't know what I would have done. But I felt I had to deliver a "You cannot do that" message to a pilgrim(?) picking (i.e. stealing) grapes in a vineyard in Rioja : don't do that to the farmer. And beware of chemicals.
 
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean - Finisterre (August 2014)
Pamplona - Burgos (January 2015)
Bilbao - Santander (May 2015)
St Jean - Sahgún (2nd Sept - 20 Sept 2015)
León - Sarria (26/12/2015 - 04/01/2016)
Lisbon - Tomar (02/04/16 - 10/04/16)
Pau - Pamplona (August 2016)
#42
I would say most of us agree that graffiti in all forms is unacceptable. What can we do about it!
Some ideas:
- Is there a way of putting bilingual signs at the start of major sections (St Jean, Roncesvalles, Burgos etc.), encouraging people not to graffiti (or drop tissues and orange peel every few feet)?
- Maybe a statement on credentials to be signed by the holder agreeing to abide by stated behavioural norms?
- Regular excursions by volunteer Camino enthusiasts to remove graffiti.
- Encouraging regular walkers to carry a spray can of white paint and cover over a few objectional graffitis each day, and record these with photos - have a competition to see who can do most for cleaning up the Camino.
- Provide regular message walls along the way for those who need them ... There must be many ideas and practical solutions.
 
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean - Finisterre (August 2014)
Pamplona - Burgos (January 2015)
Bilbao - Santander (May 2015)
St Jean - Sahgún (2nd Sept - 20 Sept 2015)
León - Sarria (26/12/2015 - 04/01/2016)
Lisbon - Tomar (02/04/16 - 10/04/16)
Pau - Pamplona (August 2016)
#43
Hi Michelle,

I had no opportunity to see people writing graffiti and I don't know what I would have done. But I felt I had to deliver a "You cannot do that" message to a pilgrim(?) picking (i.e. stealing) grapes in a vineyard in Rioja : don't do that to the farmer. And beware of chemicals.
I only caught one person vandalising. He got an earful. We became friends and I know he didn't do it again. I have also asked people not to throw rubbish on the Camino. I hate saying anything, but am so sick of the disrespect that is shown towards Spain, the pathways, people who live on the Way, and other pilgrims.
 
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean - Finisterre (August 2014)
Pamplona - Burgos (January 2015)
Bilbao - Santander (May 2015)
St Jean - Sahgún (2nd Sept - 20 Sept 2015)
León - Sarria (26/12/2015 - 04/01/2016)
Lisbon - Tomar (02/04/16 - 10/04/16)
Pau - Pamplona (August 2016)
#44
Looked for a message on this one. Found none (apart from "My selfish self went here" :()

View attachment 39509
These disgusting vandalised markers is one of my abiding memories if walking in Galicia. Very sad in all that natural beauty.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances to Fisterra/Muxia 2013, twice in 2014, 2015, twice in 2016, 2017, a week on the VdlP
#45
Graffiti is accepted at the Cruz de Ferro? I was unaware of this. In fact, I believed that graffiti and rubbish were frowned upon and was regularly cleaned up at great expense. Could you please cite the reference that approves graffiti at Cruz de Fero. I cannot find it in my guidebook. In fact to the best of my knowledge graffiti is illegal in all of Spain, so an exemption for a monument within a UNESCO World Heritage Site is amazing. A quick google of Spanish Law reveals; "Depending on how much damage a writer does, they can be fined anywhere between 750 to 1500 euros. If the damage is done to what Spain defines as "monuments or protected buildings", fines can be doubled, ranging from 1500-3000 euros".

And in case anyone really feels that a bit of graffiti, including objects and stones, are harmless then perhaps you should consider that the cross is no longer the original because of this vandalism/abuse some pilgrims are so intent on doing. Recently they had to replace the wooden cross with one that was made of concrete to cope with this continued practice. Perhaps if we really want to be authentic we could visit the original which is currently stored in the Museo del Camino in Astorga. I am sure our graffiti and stones will be most welcomed.

I do hope that your voice recorder proves to be your preferred method of recording your revelations. You say "For those messages, I need to share, I will leave the stone in a place where it can be seen, "face up," so everyone can discover it". Personally, I am not counted as one of the "everyone" you feel needs to see it. Perhaps a blog or book is a viable alternative. And I am a true seeker also, so your claim that only true seekers will find your upside down stones rings hollow. Besides, one kick or knock of said stone and your graffiti becomes visible. And if every pilgrim followed suit... endless stones what they felt was so important it had to be placed in a place they do not own and have no right to.

Also please use the voice recorder to record what you find important in point number three, where you will record upon a stone and then blindly throw away. Things are so easily forgotten it might be better to take that stone home. Also probably safer for pilgrims behind you. One other thing, but I am sure you realise this, If Cruz de Ferro is an acceptable place to leave graffiti, why do you indicate you will be leaving graffiti during the entirety of your journey?

I understand that you feel attacked, and I wish there was a way to address this issue without it being directed at you personally, but unfortunately, it is your views people sensitive to the preservation of the Camino feel compelled to respond to. It is not a benign topic.

Anyway, please don't worry making your insignificant mark on this world, as the spirit moves, and in the place, it moves you. It is quite significant to litter and visually pollute the earth. Ahhh, those guiding winds. An ill wind also blows and is often (mis)guided so let 's stick with natures.

I hope this thread is closed soon. It seems we are giving airtime to people justifying breaking the law.
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
#46
Graffiti is accepted at the Cruz de Ferro? I was unaware of this. In fact, I believed that graffiti and rubbish were frowned upon and was regularly cleaned up at great expense. Could you please cite the reference that approves graffiti at Cruz de Fero. I cannot find it in my guidebook. In fact to the best of my knowledge graffiti is illegal in all of Spain, so an exemption for a monument within a UNESCO World Heritage Site is amazing. A quick google of Spanish Law reveals; "Depending on how much damage a writer does, they can be fined anywhere between 750 to 1500 euros. If the damage is done to what Spain defines as "monuments or protected buildings", fines can be doubled, ranging from 1500-3000 euros".

And in case anyone really feels that a bit of graffiti, including objects and stones, are harmless then perhaps you should consider that the cross is no longer the original because of this vandalism/abuse some pilgrims are so intent on doing. Recently they had to replace the wooden cross with one that was made of concrete to cope with this continued practice. Perhaps if we really want to be authentic we could visit the original which is currently stored in the Museo del Camino in Astorga. I am sure our graffiti and stones will be most welcomed.

I do hope that your voice recorder proves to be your preferred method of recording your revelations. You say "For those messages, I need to share, I will leave the stone in a place where it can be seen, "face up," so everyone can discover it". Personally, I am not counted as one of the "everyone" you feel needs to see it. Perhaps a blog or book is a viable alternative. And I am a true seeker also, so your claim that only true seekers will find your upside down stones rings hollow. Besides, one kick or knock of said stone and your graffiti becomes visible. And if every pilgrim followed suit... endless stones what they felt was so important it had to be placed in a place they do not own and have no right to.

Also please use the voice recorder to record what you find important in point number three, where you will record upon a stone and then blindly throw away. Things are so easily forgotten it might be better to take that stone home. Also probably safer for pilgrims behind you. One other thing, but I am sure you realise this, If Cruz de Ferro is an acceptable place to leave graffiti, why do you indicate you will be leaving graffiti during the entirety of your journey?

I understand that you feel attacked, and I wish there was a way to address this issue without it being directed at you personally, but unfortunately, it is your views people sensitive to the preservation of the Camino feel compelled to respond to. It is not a benign topic.

Anyway, please don't worry making your insignificant mark on this world, as the spirit moves, and in the place, it moves you. It is quite significant to litter and visually pollute the earth. Ahhh, those guiding winds. An ill wind also blows and is often (mis)guided so let 's stick with natures.

I hope this thread is closed soon. It seems we are giving airtime to people justifying breaking the law.
I started this thread with the thought it is best not to add to the graffiti issue in Spain, but like it or not it is something we all see and have various view points on.

It was certainly not my intent to glorify graffiti, but to have a discussion about it.

So as adults we should be able to discuss an issue without personal attacks, but since this thread has now deteroriated to personal attacks, I agree this thread should now be closed off by the admin.

Time to get back to more benign topics.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#47
Hi Michelle,

I had no opportunity to see people writing graffiti and I don't know what I would have done. But I felt I had to deliver a "You cannot do that" message to a pilgrim(?) picking (i.e. stealing) grapes in a vineyard in Rioja : don't do that to the farmer. And beware of chemicals.
Yes, I also saw some pilgrims stealing grapes from a vineyard. They seemed oblivious to the obvious. That the grapes belonged to someone else and taking them without permission was in fact, stealing the grapes.
Stealing grapes. Defacing property. Littering the path. The people who do those things must have some type of mentality that the Camino is just some stretch of land that is open to doing whatever you want. Have fun. No consequences. Almost like they believe that there aren't any locals that live there and make their livings there.
Every time I saw graffiti, and things like stealing grapes out of the vineyards I would think to myself, "I'm not one of them. Please locals, don't associate me with those idiots that do that".
 
Camino(s) past & future
2035 km of the way to Saint James in Galicia done.
#48
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NavyBlue

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy and Camino Frances. Via Francigena. Tro-Breiz in progress.
#49
"I'm not one of them. Please locals, don't associate me with those idiots that do that".
In fact, the percentage of idiots in the pilgrim community must be the same as everywhere else. Every known mode of selection tends to give the same results in this area, as desappointing as it could be. Including pilgrims vs. non-pilgrims. The locals must have understood it for a while and react accordingly.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#50
In fact, the percentage of idiots in the pilgrim community must be the same as everywhere else. Every known mode of selection tends to give the same results in this area, as desappointing as it could be. Including pilgrims vs. non-pilgrims. The locals must have understood it for a while and react accordingly.
Well no doubt the graffiti, the theft or damage of grapes etc, trash and litter on the path, etc is tolerated and by now just expected every year when the army of strangers wearing backpacks and gore-tex arrive in huge numbers between around March-October. Tolerated no doubt because that army spends millions of euros as they march past.
Nonetheless, I try my best to truly only leave bootprints and cash receipts when I go by (and maybe a few empty beer and wine bottles). :cool:
and while I've never claimed to be infallible, I still don't want to be lumped in with the feral graffiti "artists" that lurk on the Camino ha ha
 
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