Writing Hessisch is the first in a planned series of magazines that focuses on graffiti in the Hesse region of Germany. A quick look on wikipedia shows that Hesse has a distinct cultural identity and it obviously deserves to have its own distinct graffiti magazine as well. I like this idea of magazines that focus on a specific scene or idea as it allows a greater insight and helps give the magazine a clear character. As all the text in the magazine is written in German, and my German is very poor, I only managed a basic translation of the introduction but here goes: The magazine is released after thirty years of graffiti in Hesse. They don’t want to produce a glossy advert filled mag but aim for an honest representation of the ideas, history and stories behind the graffiti of Rhine-Main.
The magazine is laid out with different photo sections showing individual writers or crews. The first up is six pages of 1UP crew which is a good start that shows how the magazine intends to go on. Then there’s page after page of trains alongside a healthy dose of actions, tracksides, tags, walls, etcetera. Amongst the photos are three pieces of text. Two of these are slightly poetic essays written in the third person describing the experience of painting trains. The other is an interview with an old school Hessian writer named Letter. He describes the spread of graffiti into Germany, how he became interested, and how things have changed over the last twenty-five years. Unfortunately, due to my shoddy translation, much of the text went over my head.
Basically Writing Hessisch does what it sets out to do and is an engaging look at the graffiti scene in Hesse. The text seemed interesting whilst all the photos are good quality, nicely presented and well sized. Some of my favourite sections were the Czar, Deor and Özlem pages. They also have a section on graffiti by Eintracht Frankfurt ultras which is a nice bonus too!