A New Coat of Paint On This Locked Down Town, or Why You Should Draw On Walls

By Anastasia Glaser

The silver lining to a week full of Zoom meetings were practical seminars that some art students had the privilege of experiencing. Until that fell through as well. The tables turned when a friend, Antonia Koball, shared her ideas for an art project with our group of fellow art students. Her seminar on wall art did not require an actual wall. Yet she acquired a spare one.

While museums were closed, Antonia’s vision would allow for accessible art, nevertheless. She painted several frames in different sizes on the wall and let us all participate in filling them in. We came in groups of two and masks. We stayed outdoors and apart. We were met with buckets of paint and cups of tea. It was freezing but the compliments of passersby kept us warm.

Little did we know that fame and fortune was also on the way. Jobs were offered and journalists called. It was absurd to have a look behind the curtains and see how staged it can be. Some of it was benign like pretending to be left handed for the sake of a better picture. Some was borderline propagandist. We were asked, take after take, to emphasize how bad we had it in this desperate situation. “Not to put words into your mouth but…”, was the professional advice when our answers focused on the perks of it all. At least some passersby took actual interest in our work and thoughts. And the infamous 15 minutes of fame that Warhol predicted will surely pass. At least we have the footage and the wall to commemorate this point in time. A visual representation of our group, a collection of bodies and faces in different styles. A bit of art for all eyes to see, no closing hours or entrance fee. Time spent in the cold but at least not spent alone.

Feel free to take a walk through Gelsenkirchen, Ückendorf. Come by Carl-Mosterts Park if you can, perhaps you will spot the wall. Otherwise, enjoy the pictures of the process. In any case, stay healthy and creative. You never know where drawing on walls might get you.

Special thanks to Antonia Koball and her parents for organizing everything. And to Leonie Czogalla, Elena Görtz, Julia Karkosz, Gamze Palabiyik, Lisa Rolf and Kim Süß for their work.