Heinz J. Kuzdas (Photographer and Author of "Berliner Mauer Kunst: Mit East Side Gallery")

08.11.2010 - Interview conducted by Mark Warman

Q1. An artist recently painted a part of the Berlin wall which sold for €500,000. Why did the Berlin Wall attract so much attention by street artists and why does it still have an allure both for artists and buyers?
You know this was a unique place where people could express themselves, it could not be stopped by the West Berlin police for example. Of course it was also some kind of damaging of property, that’s how people talk about graffiti in general but then this was an open space, a special space where people could go there and express themselves. People from school classes from all over the world came they had in mind they were prepared to do something and also artists from everywhere and groups from China, from Philippines, from everywhere.

Q2. Much has been said of the opportunity for expression that the Berlin Wall provided street artists, but do you feel that it ever played the role of cultural diplomacy, not only expressing ideas but also spreading them?
I think people actually came from all over the world to take photographs with themselves and the art at the Wall. I know that Leonardo DiCaprio said that this is his favorite photo, that he was taken in front of the Wall, in front of the heart, and he still likes this photos.

Q3. Do you feel that tagging and other forms of graffiti, which can often be considered vandalism, undermine the credibility of those who have something to say through their art?
Well, you know, I have of course, I respect everybody who expresses themselves somehow and I don’t differentiate so much between graffiti and art because the limits are really very opened but I personally am not so much for this king of writings but I consider that so many people like it. I really think art should replace the whole publicity, there is too much publicity in all over the cities and I would like to have it exchanged by either graffiti well done, there is of course less and it is the same with art.

Thank you for your time.