Stolen Child

Fall 2014 Danmarks plass- Bergen

My assistant is a patient at the Kronstad DPS and while attending his weekly group therapy he had been drooling at this beautiful wall right at the Bybanen stop. So when it turned out that this stencil was a perfect size for the wall, there was no doubt, it had to be done.

The wall was a bit of a logistical challenge. Guards sitting inside watching a rotating camera directly over our heads being the most obvious obstacle.
Further more, we needed quite a bit of time and equipment to pull this off, so “hit & run” was not an option and neither was asking. So we went with the fake permission strategy. I had someone send a very convincing SMS that basically said “This message is to certify that AFK has received permission to paint this wall…bla,bla,bla… Good luck tonight. Please send pictures of the finished work.”

After 30 minutes the first security guard arrived and asked us what we were doing. I showed him the message, he expressed his delight, and we kept working. Half an hour later a second security guard came and the same procedure was repeated along with a long chat about street art.
About 15 minutes later a police car came to a screeching stop across the street. One officer jumped out and another came running from another direction, shouting at me to come down from the ladder and remove my mask. We managed to calm the situation with the “permission” explanation, and then showed them an image of how the piece would look when finished. This changed the tone and they expressed their appreciation for the unfinished piece so far. We chatted for a while, before we were instructed to let them know in advance next time we would be working a night shift on the street, and they took my real name just in case there were any problems…

I continued working for a while before the first security guard re-appeared again. He was reluctant to disturb us, but had been instructed by his colleague (watching from the security camera) to find out who we were and who had given us permission. We explained that this information was confidential, but could be requested from the director of DPS in the morning. Unsatisfied with this answer, he left none-the-less. Figuring our luck had worn thin, we packed up and got out of there before the work was finished.

There was a risk now of someone making a fuss and possibly pressing charges, so we hastily wrote an email addressed to the director, employees and patients of DPS, explaining how I was sorry for vandalizing their wall, but it was so beautiful that I just couldn’t resist. I also offered to come back and paint the wall grey if they’d prefer that, or, I could even come back and finish the piece. 

I got an answer from the director the same day. She told me that the patients and employees loved it and  they would be thrilled to have me come back and finish it 🙂


About 8 months later, I was contacted by “A213”, explaining how I had inspired him to start cutting stencils and he sent me some pictures. It turns out he was one of the police officers that caught us that night. Haha… beautiful!

The moral of the story is… rules have to be broken to make the world a better place.