Collector: Did your high school have any senior traditions?
Informant: Um, we had a tradition where the seniors go to this place called The Cave at the very end of the year. It’s not a real cave, it’s just like this weird room that you have to enter through the janitor’s closet. It’s just like dirt ground and almost halfway under the school building. They just store a bunch of old desks and weird stuff in there. It’s [the tradition] basically allowed by the teachers. Like, they purposely unlock it so that they can go in there. But then you graffiti on, like, the poles in there, but it’s condoned by the school. It’s a legit thing!
Collector: That’s so cool! So, it like collects over time?
Informant: Yeah, it looks neat and colorful. There’s like really old signatures on there and like people started using spray paint. Then my year we decided to use puffy paint. You know, cuz it’ll stay raised up even if people spray paint over it. I think that’s kind of cool.
Collector’s Notes: Senior traditions and pranks are a huge coming-of-age tradition pretty much anywhere you go, I’ve learned as I’ve asked more and more students about them. The fact that the teachers sanctioned it in this case is particularly interesting to me. I know at my own high school, teachers hated our senior traditions and we were usually warned against doing anything that was too drastic. Graffiti has been a cultural art since the 1970s, but its origins go much further back, as far as ancient Egypt with hieroglyphics ( DeNotto). This has given it infinite variety over the different countries and peoples it’s been a part of. Graffiti has, for many decades, been a representation of the underlying feelings of the common people. In the case of this school, it was maybe their way of leaving their mark, and a little piece of them, in the representation of their childhood that they were leaving behind. This way, the were expressing themselves in two different ways. They literally “marked” the liminal point in their educations and personal lives.
REFERENCES: DeNotto, Michael. “Street Art and Graffiti.” College and Research Library News. American Library Association, 2014. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.