Elfin Graffiti

I had a problem; I wanted to paint the downstairs hall a bright yellow, but I did not want to continue this the whole way up the stairs. I wanted downstairs to be one colour, the upstairs another, but the two areas are joined by one wall beside the stairs, which is visible from both areas. I needed a breaking point somewhere along that wall. I could of course have just drawn a line, or faded the two paints together, but that’s not how I roll. No, instead I stirred up a rebellious outburst from our elfin population.

Our elfin population and the background leading to the incident
We first noticed the appearance of the elves after one particularly hard night on the town. We stumbled downstairs the next morning to discover that they had helpful cleaned the dishes and put out the bins; chores my husband swore blind he would complete and which I made a really big deal about not doing on pain of death (because fair is fair and everyone has to pull their weight). Just as I was thanking him for keeping his promise and getting the work done (watching his poor alcohol-addled mind try to work through what was going on) he confessed he had not done them (showing massive person growth), but also pointed out that as I was still alive, and there were only the two of us, they must have been done by magic: and thus the elves had arrived. A magically race of people who live for nothing only to ensure we in 36 live a happy chore-free life (which now as I describe them sound remarkably similar to Dobbin the House Elf in Harry Potter).

Initially my husband welcomed the elves; they did household chores while he slept, they went out on a Saturday and did the Big Shop while he killed things on PlayStation, they cleaned out his wardrobe, replacing worn-out clothes with nice new things he quite liked really. A sweet set-up. *

*(Not to be too Marple or Sherlock about it but if it is not clear to you that it was I who was doing these jobs while my husband lazed about then I suggest you start checking for fairy doors and magical tunnels because you too apparently feel you have the touch of Claus about you and could already have an infestation of once-helper-now-rapidly-discontented elves.)

Then one day the domestic bliss turned ugly (a day right around when I discovered my wall break problem). My husband got out of bed, stumbled downstairs and was greeted by a heinous act of rebellion. Some of the elves had enough of their life of servitude – this generation’s rebels – and a life that was good enough for their parents was no longer good enough for them. They wanted to express their rage at being bent into submission by the system (at this point it was possible I had consumed too many lemsip/uni-flu cocktails and may have been trippin’). They embraced the practices of their brothers in the north and painted their own political mural, glorifying the great lord of elfin belief, who promises that what goes around will come around: The Karma Chameleon.

Although horrified by the new political unrest this represented my husband was somewhat mollified when he noticed that some of the more civic, responsible, upstanding members of the elfin community were already trying to paper it over (my wall break!).

Credit: Cathy Clarke
Credit: Cathy Clarke

Now, while I obviously cannot imagine why or how they would do this, or what possible imbalance they could be acting out against, in a crime-watch inspired re-enactment, I have speculated how one with very little artistic talent might go about this.

1. First things first – get inspired. It is much easier to draw something if it is physically before you, than from memory.

Graffiti Examples

2. Get some tools: pencil, ruler and rubber. Do not be fooled by the erasing power of paint. It might magically cover up that horrible shade of dark avocado on your walls and replace it with a tranquil ivory, but it will not cover over pencil, marker or pen. Don’t know why, but it’s true. No matter how many layers you apply. So invest in a good rubber and some Jif (it’s only Cif to those born after 1995).

3. Get sketching. When you are finished sketching, rub out the marks you don’t want.


4. Colour it in. I used some permanent markers that I got in Tescos on the cheap.

Elfin Graffiti Steps

5. And voila; a mural to remind the establishment that the labour force are not to be taken for granted.

Credit: Cathy Clarke
Credit: Cathy Clarke

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