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A Love Story on the Streets
December 10, 2006 1:03 AM   Subscribe

On December 5th, a Croatian man named Nico awoke to find a map his girlfriend had left him featuring a specific path she wanted him to take to work; along the way he saw stencils, paint, aerosol, collage wheat pastes & other art she had laid out in the pre-dawn hours letting him know how much she loved him. The sights Nico saw, in order, are collected here.
posted by jonson (80 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
What exactly are the marketing virally here?

IBM was hit with a few hundred thousand dollars in fines when they painted linux penguins all over SF, hopefully fines in Croatia are less expensive. If it was a legitimate love note, you'd think she would have written it in the croatian language.

Maybe it is just a portfolio piece to get into marketing school.
posted by b1tr0t at 1:08 AM on December 10, 2006


Maybe I'm feeling really sentimental, but this is just BEAUTIFUL. This is just so sweet, and I like the idea that at least some of the artworks will be there for a while. Something like that "darling, kiss me" would be such a nice surprise for passers-by (if the passers-by are anything like me, that is).
posted by bunglin jones at 1:09 AM on December 10, 2006


Um.... maybe I should have previewed.... has my sentimental old self been sucked in by some campaign?
posted by bunglin jones at 1:10 AM on December 10, 2006


b1tr0t - what makes you think it's a viral marketing campaign? Nothing about the story (where I found it) indicated anything other than a genuine event.
posted by jonson at 1:14 AM on December 10, 2006


If it was a legitimate love note, you'd think she would have written it in the croatian language.

Sinatra didn't sing it in Croatian.
posted by three blind mice at 1:27 AM on December 10, 2006


Before someone else says it: what a great, great girlfriend to have!
posted by Laotic at 1:35 AM on December 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm torn. I love that song and I'm touched by the girlfriend's sweet gesture, and the whole thing is just so crazy romantic.... But as someone who has to clean graffiti of a wall almost every week, I must blurt GET OFF MY LAWN YOU DAMN KIDS!!!

Well, that didn't feel very good.
posted by maryh at 2:10 AM on December 10, 2006


Nothing about the story (where I found it) indicated anything other than a genuine event.

Where's the story?
posted by tatnasty at 2:45 AM on December 10, 2006


man what a catch, i wonder if she's single
posted by radiosig at 2:52 AM on December 10, 2006


Well there are two questions here

1. marketing heads tend to suggest instead of being straightfoward, which sometimes is only misleading even if they believe they are "pure"

2. even if it's a marketing "concept", the idea itself seems beautiful regardless. That it is not spontaneus subtract from the actors, not from the idea

z. the consequences seem pretty harmless, except I wouldn't have made permanent graffiti

That said, here is the full text
Fly me to the moon
And let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars
In other words hold my hand
In other words darling kiss me

Fill my life with song
And let me sing forevermore
You are all I hope for
All I worship and adore
In other words please be true
In other words I love you
posted by elpapacito at 2:52 AM on December 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm saddened that Pepsi Blue's have tainted what's the very simple observation that could be made: Some people just really love that much, and have the gift to show it so beautifully.

Sublime, that.
posted by disillusioned at 2:58 AM on December 10, 2006


Romance good, graffiti bad. Hmm. I also am torn.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:58 AM on December 10, 2006


Btw, directory trolling yields similar raw jpegs of graffiti art. So I'm inclined to say and hope it's genuine. Unless it's a grafitti advertisement. Hosted on a .hr server.
posted by disillusioned at 3:00 AM on December 10, 2006


I think it's really sweet. There isn't much graffiti and at least 2 of them ought to be welcome additions to any urban vista. Thanks jonson.
posted by peacay at 3:25 AM on December 10, 2006


Where does he live? What is his favortie breakfast? Why does she spend every morning entertaining such breakfeast?


Don't get me wrong. I thought this to be beautiful. However, this post left me wanting more...
posted by Kudos at 3:43 AM on December 10, 2006


Ypsilanti! Fruit Loops! Because the first meal of the day is the most entertaining! Move on!
posted by maryh at 3:50 AM on December 10, 2006


Nothing about the story (where I found it) indicated anything

because the Wooster Collective, whose website carried this story first last week, is blissfully uninterested in the implications of viral marketing. And I don't think they allow comments in their posts.
posted by matteo at 4:30 AM on December 10, 2006


I have copied this and sent it in to Homeland Security for analysis
posted by Postroad at 5:50 AM on December 10, 2006


That was very, very cool.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:03 AM on December 10, 2006


I believe it since a friend proposed to his wife in a similar fashion. He however did not have the good sense to invoke Francis Albert.
posted by Gungho at 6:07 AM on December 10, 2006


This is fantastic. It melted my permafrozen heart.
A thousand thanks.

(and I hate Sinatra)
posted by Busithoth at 6:08 AM on December 10, 2006


I wish there were really hot stalker babe artist chicks that spend their time mapping their emotions for their lovers to imbibe... The photos look a bit too tight, well composed and professional. I vote viral. But hey lets just use The Google on the interweb and email this guy and ask him.
posted by MapGuy at 6:19 AM on December 10, 2006


But hey lets just use The Google on the interweb and email this guy and ask him.

he will speak the truth on jupiter and mars.
posted by 3.2.3 at 6:38 AM on December 10, 2006


I thought it was lovely.

And I'd take this sort of graffiti over a scrawled tag, anyday.
Of course, I'm biased since I am partial to the works of Banksy, et al.

(rhetorical: why the hell is it the people in my life that have made similar gestures were the last ones I wanted to do so? /rhetorical)
posted by squasha at 6:57 AM on December 10, 2006


(in other words, let's hope the sentiment was shared.)
posted by squasha at 6:57 AM on December 10, 2006


For my 25th birthday, my then-sweetheart did something very sweet. She had heard me mention a restaurant in passing and for whatever reason assumed it was my favorite and was determined to take me for my b-day.

They had those paper table cloths with crayons in the center of the table for diners to draw with. As we're being seated I notice that each table we walk by has drawings and words wishing me happy birthday. The restaurant was 2 floors and huge! It was pretty amazing and terribly romantic.

I then found out that she had intended to draw on just "our" table but since the mealtime was at lunch and the restaurant didn't do reservations, the staff refused to let her choose a table and hold it. She told me they were unwilling to change the rules so she convinced them to let her in while they were closed and doing prep and for 2.5 hours she did the art.

The cranky-ass staff were so touched by what she did they broke policy by the end of our lunch and brought a cake and sang happy birthday and the manager comp'd the meal. The whole thing was very sweet.

I still have the food-stained table cloth from our table in a box with some letters.
posted by dobbs at 7:02 AM on December 10, 2006 [14 favorites]


awwww. good story dobs :)
posted by craven_morhead at 7:06 AM on December 10, 2006


squasha writes "And I'd take this sort of graffiti over a scrawled tag, anyday."

This is a false dilemma, there is the third choice of no graffiti.
posted by Mitheral at 7:21 AM on December 10, 2006


I'd take this sort of graffiti over no graffiti anyday.
posted by stammer at 7:24 AM on December 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm going to start painting random passersby, I mean, shit, they're really nothing more than an empty canvas, aren't they?

Stray dogs, cars, old ladies, young ladies, old chess players in the park, pigeons, accident victims, hospital operating rooms, the internals of corporate computers.

Despite the sentiment behind her vandalism, I find this shit not "cute", and not "beautiful". But when you have no trees, flowers, not even a fucking hill to look at, I suppose you'll do anything to make your bleak existence look like there was some creative force behind it, and not the relentlessly dullwitted bureaucracy that generated most of the blight that surrounds you. But fuck me. I thought civility, or at least the ability to act through a deliberative thought process with a nod to the consequences of our actions on others was what made our humanity an evolutionary step in a positive direction. But when we're just slinging our shit in every direction and calling it pretty...
posted by sutt at 7:29 AM on December 10, 2006 [2 favorites]


What stammer said.

And maybe because I live here in the grey, bleak excuse for a mid-size city in rural Japan ( the nature is just a few kilometers away, you can see the mountains from here, why do we need a park...or to paint our concrete dwellings?) that I will definitely choose something that looks "like there was some creative force behind it"....
posted by squasha at 7:43 AM on December 10, 2006


Squasha: Of course, I'm biased since I am partial to the works of Banksy, et al.

She's quite the anti-Banksy, no? Stylisitcally, I mean. What a lucky guy, though.

Sutt, I think you're missing an aspect of this -- when we're madly in love, we often throw caution, & consequences to the wind. That message is part & parcel of its execution.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:44 AM on December 10, 2006


Metafilter: Cynical apocalypse.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:46 AM on December 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


I found Nico. I think he really likes this girl. He must have had a nice walk to work that day.
posted by MapGuy at 7:52 AM on December 10, 2006


should have clarified, D R...indeed, she is antithetical to Banksy. I'm just particularly partial to stencils (perhaps it is not one, but it does have that style) and her rocket and moon brought his bowler wearing rats to mind...she certainly didn't intend it to look like a wmd pointed at our lunar friend, but my twisted synapses flashed that nonetheless.

(good to read Nico digs her right back.)
posted by squasha at 8:00 AM on December 10, 2006


what happened to the then-sweetheart, dobbs?
posted by growabrain at 8:01 AM on December 10, 2006


Thanks, jonson.

It's delicious, romantic, beautiful, lovely.

And urban, contemporary, narrative.

And joyful, and artitistic and personnal too.

Fantastic.

(And the debate about the legitimacy of graffiti is not closed nor binary yes/no. It's playing all over the place in any form and media: the border between "what is private" and "what is public" is actually moving everywhere, just ask Google or YouTube or Creative Commons, or mash-ups or mp3 or bittorrent or Open Source, etc. The mural/graffiti scene is the same chronicle of this ongoing debate, only played on the exact border of private and public but his time on our physical and visual spaces.)
posted by bru at 8:05 AM on December 10, 2006 [2 favorites]


If you think that any small human act of cleverness, beauty, humor, or decency is a marketing campaign, then the marketers have won.

Give the cynicism a rest. It does us no good to have all decent things smeared with shit just because you don't want to get fooled. Why not risk looking stupid to appreciate people again?
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 8:06 AM on December 10, 2006


First read the whole Nico.
link. Apparently she is the East German double agents granddaughter. It was a setup, a hit. It would be a great short story. Now who wants to write it?
posted by MapGuy at 8:08 AM on December 10, 2006


I think this was sweet. You all are breaking my heart with accusations of viral marketing. if it turns out to be, I'm boycotting the product on grounds of breaking my heart.
posted by piratebowling at 8:14 AM on December 10, 2006


the Wooster Collective, whose website carried this story first last week, is blissfully uninterested in the implications of viral marketing.

well, the internet isn't exactly their subject. they were, in comparison, all over the Sony PSP graffiti campaign.
Ill ride a brompton bicycle
or I'll teabag a mime
Before I'll give the Sony corp
Another f****n dime

F U TATS CRU
we're all emotionally scarred from invasive advertising, but some of y'all need to get your outrage triggers recalibrated. this rocks. it'd put a smile on my face to see this kind of work in my neighborhood. yay for Nico and his obviously adorable lady.
posted by lucky mollusk at 8:16 AM on December 10, 2006


Wonderfully sweet story, with the slight downside that it added random messages in graffiti to a few walls.

Oh well. If you want a romantic omelette, ya gotta break a few eggs.
posted by mathowie at 8:19 AM on December 10, 2006


Psycho.
posted by four panels at 8:41 AM on December 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'd say "it added better graffiti to a few walls". With maybe one exception, those walls were all covered with grime and tags to begin with.

Given grime and graffiti, I'd be happy to have pretty, touching new graffiti in its place.
posted by mendel at 8:45 AM on December 10, 2006


The world needs more love, and more garffiti. Win-win.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:46 AM on December 10, 2006


Graffiti, even. Could probably do with some garffiti, too.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:47 AM on December 10, 2006


There is "street art" and there is "graffiti": yes, I know the boundaries are subjective but there seems to be a big gap between the two categories. I see quite a lot of graffiti and not so much street art. I really do not like graffiti. This is street art.

Pedant-hat aside, I loved this and I never doubted that this was legit (on the other hand, I do get fooled at least sometimes by marketing campaigns). Congrats to Nico and girl!

And sutt -- wow, lighten up, won't you? Can't you tell magic from mud? If everyone painting the walls of the city were so lovely and free as this girl, it'd be an incredible riot of beauty. Note that in many cases she's attached something that can be easily taken down, in other cases she's drawn on something already damaged and/or industrial and ugly.

You can't begrudge lovers, young or old, o sutt, particularly when they make the city beautiful for you.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:04 AM on December 10, 2006


But when we're just slinging our shit in every direction and calling it pretty...

I'm with sutt. And it wasn't even her shit.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:05 AM on December 10, 2006


That Nico guy has one hell of a girlfriend.

But the question is, is she a big Sinatra fan or a big Evangelion fan?
posted by clevershark at 9:08 AM on December 10, 2006


stammer writes "I'd take this sort of graffiti over no graffiti anyday."

squasha writes "What stammer said."

Do you guys own property accessible to the public? I bet if there is any significant population of Mefites in your proximity that one of them would be willing to come and make replicas on your steps, car, or walls. Or have you already painted random snippets of songs on your property. Keep in mind the property owners aren't even getting the benefit of the cute back story; just "Hold my hand" next to their door or "Let me play among the stars" on their access doors.

Take the very first panel "Fly me to the Moon". Standalone it's step better than a tag, barely. The text is neither artistic or neat and the graphics are crude (with runs to boot).

mendel writes "I'd be happy to have pretty, touching new graffiti in its place."

But next week it'll be old (unless she plans to clean up) and it's only touching if you know the back story. Joe average viewer or property owner just sees gibberish or song snippets.
posted by Mitheral at 9:11 AM on December 10, 2006


what happened to the then-sweetheart, dobbs?

Circumstance, unfortunately.

Last I heard she married, changed her name, and I'll probably never see her again, at least not outside of my memories. I've written about her a few times. We shared many wonderful moments that are very vivid almost 15 years later. Her kisses are still the ones I compare all others to. The others, as tender, passionate and necessary as they are, always come up short. If you're familiar with my writing, she was S---.
posted by dobbs at 9:12 AM on December 10, 2006


Romance is good. Graffiti is good. Yay!
posted by algreer at 9:25 AM on December 10, 2006


Take the very first panel "Fly me to the Moon". Standalone it's step better than a tag, barely. The text is neither artistic or neat and the graphics are crude (with runs to boot).

I see that phrase and I instantly am taken to that song and the people I've shared it with. I would be delighted to stumble across it on any wall. You don't have a song like that, a phrase like that, a poem?--haven't been compelled to burst into song because of the way someone made you feel? That, Mitheral, that is something to be upset about. Not everyone has the talent, ability, resources, finances, or imagination to build the Taj Mahal. Thank god what they lack doesn't limit their need to express what they feel.
posted by dobbs at 9:28 AM on December 10, 2006


Hello, Keanu Reeves in The Lake House. It would be cooler if it were original.
posted by Hildegarde at 9:34 AM on December 10, 2006


On Dec. 6th, Nico decides he's with a crazy stalker woman, and leaves his girlfriend.

Ha! Sorry, my inner cynnic won for a moment.

It's a sweet gesture on her part, but not really well-done enough to inspire awe unless you are Nico.
posted by teece at 9:53 AM on December 10, 2006


Sorry, Mitheral, I guess I'm the anomaly in your theory.

Property owner that I am, I'd still take this over any of the boring tags I have had to remove. In fact, if someone slapped a creative and entertaining stencil on the front of this place, I'd probably go out and paint an ornate frame around it, as I used to do when the alley wall of our place was artfully graffitied in San Diego. Granted, the lyrics she chose *do* conjure up a heaping helping of positive memories for me, but I suppose I just like the randomness of encountering something unexpected (as a snippet of love song) in such a surreal context.

I'm just funny that way...it brought me great joy to find pebbles in the middle of a desert wadi in southern Israel on which someone had written the English words, "where's my empirical evidence?"

All terribly subjective, ain't it?
posted by squasha at 9:54 AM on December 10, 2006


Thank you, clevershark, for asking the first question that popped into my head.
posted by joedan at 10:50 AM on December 10, 2006


Well, I liked it.
posted by squirrel at 11:10 AM on December 10, 2006


Christ, you folks are cynical fucks.
posted by ed at 11:24 AM on December 10, 2006


I hate graffiti and Sinatra, but I love this. Thank you so much, nico's girlfriend and jonson, for teaching me how to love again.

And for all the haters, a lot of the surfaces seemed to be defaced to begin with - at least now there's something positive and legible on them now.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:45 AM on December 10, 2006


b1tr0t - what makes you think it's a viral marketing campaign? Nothing about the story (where I found it) indicated anything other than a genuine event.

Don't you think a croatian girl would have written out her love-poem in croatian, if it was really targeted at her guy? Writing it out in english targets a much larger audience, and sets them up perfectly for the viral web effect.

I'm reminded of this campaign.
posted by b1tr0t at 12:50 PM on December 10, 2006


I agree with b1tr0t. If I'm gonna write a love poem, I'm not gonna do it in Japanese. This thing smells just like that PSP graffitti thing. Anybody done a whois on the domain? How and why exactly would this alleged Croatian man get all these pictures, make a website, and distribute the link worldwide? It's just too perfect. It definitely came from a focus group.
posted by tehloki at 2:03 PM on December 10, 2006


b1tr0t - you're a little nutty. And tehloki, well... I can only hope you're joking.
posted by jonson at 2:11 PM on December 10, 2006


I think Matteo was right in pointing out that this was pointed out by the Wooster Collective that is interested in street art, and that means being more interested in people that trash the PSP graffiti campaigns.

BTW, anyone in New York next week that is interested in street art, the Wooster Collective is opening up 11 spring st. for a showing of street art. It will only be up for three days . . .
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 2:24 PM on December 10, 2006


hmmm... that sounds very suspicious, kingfisher. What's their angle? They MUST be selling something!!
posted by jonson at 2:38 PM on December 10, 2006


If they're trying to sell something, they're doing it the hard way. A bit like the early Infiniti commercials that only showed rocks and trees going by from a car's POV. They didn't sell many cars with those, but they probably sold a shitload of rocks and trees!
posted by clevershark at 2:49 PM on December 10, 2006


Ooops, I apologize. Now that I pay close attention, the Wooster Group is really a shill trying to market walls to an unsuspecting free range populous. Wall Blue! Blue Wall!?. Honestly, it looks like a great event. I always resented that building.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 3:07 PM on December 10, 2006


And then Nico found five dollars...
posted by hal9k at 3:08 PM on December 10, 2006


Doesn't the key "graffiti, good or bad" question come down to what kind of paint she used?

If she used water-soluble paint the whole thing will be gone in a couple of days.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:26 PM on December 10, 2006



It's a sweet gesture on her part, but not really well-done enough to inspire awe unless you are Nico.


God forbid we allow amateurs to make art! :)

Graffiti has been with us since the beginning of human culture, and it will never, ever be eradicated. I sympathise with, and have sometimes been, the property owner who has had to scrub away childish scrawl, but condemning the medium outright is shortsighted.

Her project was a sweet gesture to one person, and it's reminded thousands more of that first heady rush of good chemicals that we all experience when we meet someone we really, really like in a simple, unpretentious and joyful way. This is good art, really good art, as opposed to Good Art. I love it.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 4:43 PM on December 10, 2006


I think this is beautiful. And I would classify her wall tags as street art *covering* graffiti.
posted by dejah420 at 6:28 PM on December 10, 2006



I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too,
"Oh, you know what Bill's doing, he's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, he's very smart."
Oh man, I am not doing that. You fucking evil scumbags!
"Ooh, you know what Bill's doing now, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We've done research - huge market. He's doing a good thing."
Godammit, I'm not doing that, you scum-bags!
Quit putting a godamm dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet!
"Ooh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market, Bill's very bright to do that."

posted by anthill at 6:52 PM on December 10, 2006


sweet
posted by altman at 7:13 PM on December 10, 2006


A feel-happy public expression of love. Were that it happened more often.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:16 PM on December 10, 2006


totally awesome.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:56 PM on December 10, 2006


sutt, who pissed in your cheerios?
posted by juv3nal at 11:07 PM on December 10, 2006


AMAZING. Fine mix of creativity and love. Wow. I'm all inspired now.

This makes me wonder if anyone else has done something similar in the name of love. Perhaps not graffiti or street art necessarily (though that works), but similarly outlandish but brilliant displays of affection?

(worth an Ask.Mefi question perhaps?)
posted by divabat at 5:52 PM on December 11, 2006


Pepsi clear? The new hot pop album from a hot disney star?
posted by Sukiari at 10:57 PM on December 11, 2006


Aren´t we really just jealous because no one would do this for us?
posted by iamck at 12:01 PM on December 12, 2006


I guess some of us less fortunate for not having a graffiti 'artist' around.
posted by Sukiari at 4:37 PM on December 12, 2006


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