Walter Josef Fischer — known here in Hamburg, Germany, as OZ or the “Smiley-Man” — was one of the most, maybe the most prolific german taggers, even if most people could never pick him out of a crowd. Aged and slow with a worn, creased face and a hunch, within 30 years of tagging and painting he went what we call All City. As he tagged and painted walls and swore at trains with his spray can, he’d changed the face of Hamburg. Up until his death on september, 25th, 2014, he left his tag—a simple smiley face—hundreds of thousands times on local walls, sidewalks, roofs and lampposts. Below you can watch the very last glimpse into the world of Germany’s inscrutable OZ before a Hamburg S-Train killed the 64-year-old while painting.
One more reason to mention him again and again, is the recently started project titled CITY OF OZ. A website to remember his doing and works by tagging a online map of Hamburg with still existing spirals, smileys, tags, political slogans wherever OZ has left his mark. It´s very simple and easy to support and participate, so anyone living in Hamburg or visiting remember map.city-of-oz.hamburg. Thanks to the Gängeviertel, Graffitiarchiv and the Archiv der Jugendkulturen for hosting this!
“Die Seite braucht eure Unterstützung: Macht Fotos von OZ Tags, Spiralen, von seinen Wandbildern, Smileys, Parolen & Slogans und ladet sie in die Karte hoch. Kram alte OZ-Fotos von bereits verschwundenen Pieces aus deiner Fotokiste oder stöbert mal eure Festplatten durch. Dann erschaffen wir gemeinsam eine Schatzkarte der »CITY OF OZ«, einen Ort der Erinnerung an das Wirken von Walter Josef Fischer in dieser Stadt, an seinen Kampf mit dieser Stadt.”