An unusual look into the graffiti world through the story of Sandro, aka Kenzo144. The transition from illegal to legal writing, and the damages on his charge estimated to 300'000 Swiss Francs. A journey into a culture hard to define, that will end with the fulfillment of a dream: to paint in the Bronx with some of the writers who bombed New York City in the seventies.


Runtime: 1.22



My arrest, and in particular the period I spent in preventive detention, together with everything it entailed, drastically changed my life.


Thanks to the documentary film La tua casa è la mia città (“Your home is my city”) I had the opportunity to ponder about my actions, about the reasons why I painted graffiti, and about what I have done in all those years.


This allowed me to understand that, as far as I am concerned, it is not worth anymore to paint illegally, and as a consequence a new life period in which to paint legally started.


There might be people who think that a writer cannot be an economist, a doctor or else. I have this feeling that people generally believe that a graffiti writer is automatically a layabout. This probably happens because it is difficult to understand how people can conciliate activities that are so different one from the other.


In my case, the graffiti world is not linked to my profession as an architect. However, I think there is a common point between the two disciplines: they both formalize ideas on public spaces and on the society.


I am sure that this documentary will be positive not only for me, but also for the writing movement, and that it will provide food for thought for our society. This is particularly important because in Ticino many people are not able to make the distinction between a tag and a love message, or a burning rubbish bin.


Finally, I must acknowledge that I would never have accepted to be the main character of the documentary film if it was not my friend “Pelle” (Andrea Pellerani) to propose me the project. Clearly, the trust existing among us stands at the foundation of La tua casa è la mia città (“Your home is my city”).


Sandro Thoma, October 2012.




Interview by Gaia Regazzoni Jäggli.

Text based on the book graffiTI (Salvioni Edizioni, 2012).



For you, what is graffiti?

KENZO144: For me, it is a very ancient form of communication. “Graffitis” have existed since the dawn of human history, and they appear in the form of symbols, inscriptions, and drawings. “Writing”, as the term itself says, is instead lettering and arises from the concept of writing one’s own name in a public space. Over time, an urban form of expression commonly known as “graffiti” has developed, and it no longer involves only script but also includes drawings of landscapes, people, and more.


What does your tag mean?

KENZO144: My tag doesn’t have any particular meaning. It is the result of a combination of letters. The letters are the basis of the piece, so it’s inevitable to focus on them. I interlock them so that each time there is a three-ply logic: each single letter alone, each letter in relation to the letters next to it, and obviously, the whole piece.


What does it mean to paint with spray cans?

KENZO144: The spray can is made up of three main parts: the paint container, a valve and a cap. By pressing on the cap, the valve is released and allows the paint to flow out. A technically well-executed piece implies practical knowledge of the pressure of the spray can, of the nozzles (fat or skinny caps) and the paint left in the can. A piece is first of all a mental drawing (Style), made up of lines or contrasts that form the letters. Technical realization is the way to translate a mental design into reality. Technique is not without Style.


For you, is it important to share your work with other writers?

KENZO144: It is fundamental. Writing is most of all about sharing, even if it’s also competitive.


Your thought about writing?

KENZO144: It is a true cultural expression.


Do you consider your graffiti artistic expressions?

KENZO144: I leave the judgment up to the observer. I do not do graffiti with this in mind.




© Gaia Regazzoni Jäggli / Salvioni Edizioni 2012.



The music we created for the documentary film La tua casa è la mia città (“Your home is my city”) includes various elements, first among which the fascination for the territory and for the landscape, two aspects that stand as setting and source of inspiration for graffiti writing. The music contains many influences from trip-hop, but it is not bound to a precise style.

Same as when people paint graffiti, our composition wants to give space to improvisation and to the inspiration of the moment.

The music absorbs sounds, colors, lights and sensations from the locations where graffiti are made in order to transmit a strong and incisive aesthetic, which is probably the most important reason why a young man like Sandro feels the urge to paint on walls.

At the beginning, the music will surprise us thanks to a wonder of colors and sensations, bringing us to the subsequent impact with reality, or better said, to the moment when Sandro chooses the way to compromise and to legal writing.







Matteo Taheri, born in Zurich and grown up in Lugano, studied violin and composition at the Musikhochschule in Luzern, specializing subsequently at the Amsterdam Conservatory and at the Netherlands Film and Television Academy (NFTVA), where in 2009 he obtained a Master degree with distinction in Composition for Drama.

In the same year, together with Niels Hahn he founded the enterprise Pastelle Music and he started a large production of film, documentary and advertising soundtracks, as well as multimedia installations.