Graffiti Artists Vie For Trip to Prague

For MTAnother heating unit gets sprayed.
Heating units, which regulate heating in the city, can be found in most courtyards and are usually squat, drab, utilitarian buildings with little architectural value.

The only people attracted to the buildings seem to be the homeless and graffiti artists whose art work has never, until today, found favor with the energy companies who own the buildings.

If you look around the city, you can see more than 300 heating units covered in graffiti — official graffiti — as part of a festival organized by the city government and energy companies as they attempt to co-opt graffiti artists.

“At MOEC [Moscow United Energy Company], we were constantly faced by the issue of vandalism of our heating units: As soon as we would repaint over inappropriate images, new ones would appear,” said Rayfa Bitkova, the head of the company’s press center. “As a result, the idea of the festival was born.”

The graffiti festival “Energy of a Dream,” which began in May, will end Saturday as winning teams of graffiti artists compete in a final. The winning team will win a trip to Prague to take part in the International Hip Hop Kemp, which claims to be Eastern Europe’s biggest festival devoted to underground culture.

In total, three energy companies provided festival participants with more than 300 heating units for graffiti art. The mural designs reflect the festival’s theme, “The City of the Future.”

The festival attracted art school pupils, students from Moscow art colleges and veteran graffiti artists eager to win the top prize.

“Art students, who had never done graffiti before, were thrilled to test their hand at a new art form, while experienced graffiti artists felt relieved that their favorite art was finally legalized,” said Tatyana Nesterova, an art teacher who saw a number of her students take part in the festival.

The “Energy of a Dream” final takes place July 25 at 6 Samory-Moshela Ulitsa, Bldg. 3. Metro Belyayevo. Starts at 10 a.m.