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Vandals deface Bergen Place mural

Posted by Geeky Swedes on July 6th, 2009

Vandals have sprayed graffiti on the historical mural at Bergen Place Park.

The graffiti was discovered this morning. “I am deeply sadened by the lack of respect someone has for the mural,” explains Victoria Sangrey Hunter, who volunteers with Friends of Bergen Place. The mural was created in 1995 with help from the Ballard Historical Society, and it was dedicated by the King and Queen of Norway. “(It) holds deep emotional ties for many Ballard residents,” she says. “Please help us find those who did this, and if that can’t be done, then please watch the park and report illegal activity by calling 911.”

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103 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 chopper_74 // Jul 6, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    I'd bet a dozen of these local thugs recognize those tags and know who they belong to, maybe the SPD as well.
    Someone will open their pie-hole, pass it on to the authorities.
    I hope it can be restored soon, it's sickening to look at.

  • 2 skipspence // Jul 6, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    punks

  • 3 nwcitizen // Jul 6, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    What a shame. Has the mural been tagged before?

    I called Seattle Parks & Recreation graffiti line (684-7250). The person I talked with did not know if it was the responsibility of Seattle Parks to remove the graffiti but said she would report the incident.

    If anyone knows who would be responsible for removal of the graffiti, please call Parks and Rec and let them know.

  • 4 ballardblonde // Jul 6, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    the front of the smoke shop got hit over the weekend as well. while it wasn't on a mural, it is still defacing ballard. just horrible.

  • 5 timwack // Jul 6, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    My only hope is that someday, when these “mental midgets” grow up, something valuable to them and their families gets 'tagged' by a couple of small-brained punks.
    Destroying art. What a brilliant way to show how important you are!

  • 6 shanedillon // Jul 6, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    The old ballard library/Abraxus books has been tagged too. :-(

    There need to be much stronger punishments for when people are caught.

  • 7 nwcitizen // Jul 6, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    I read that the Department of Neighborhoods owns the mural so I called

    Heather McAuliffe, Pike Place Market Historical Commission,
    Ballard Avenue Landmark Board
    (206) 684-0229

    and left a message for her about the tagging.

  • 8 studio5412 // Jul 6, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Heather might be a good person to talk to, as she used to work on the graffiti patrol for the city. Now that the detective is no longer available, she might be able to help.

  • 9 Neal // Jul 6, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Two of these little bastards hit a nice old brick wall on my property last night. I wonder if they have any idea what kinds of violent fantasies homeowners have about catching them in the act.

  • 10 T // Jul 6, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    I think it's time for a sting operation. Let's find a building with a big blank wall and paint it a nice clean white. Then setup lookouts and cameras and wait patiently :)

  • 11 BTown // Jul 6, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I know “an eye for an eye” isn't the best method for solving problems, but I've always wanted to tag a tagger. Just take the can always and start spray painting their shoes and clothing.

  • 12 Ernie_98107 // Jul 6, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    I agree that it probably isn't very productive, but it sure would be fun to rig a nice clean wall, as suggested above by T, and install some kind of pressurized sprayer behind the wall with nozzles evenly spaced across the wall and when the taggers start to tag, just let it rip and douche them from head to toe with bright red paint!

    Of course a critical component of this system would be multiple hidden cameras so that you could edit a nice YouTube video with slo-mo and different angles etc.

  • 13 boardbrown // Jul 6, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Do they EVER get caught?

  • 14 HW // Jul 6, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    No respect.

  • 15 Ballard_Rocks_Now // Jul 6, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Do they even investigate? I seriously can't see SPD investigating tagging. If you've ever had your car broken into you know how little quality of life issues matter to SPD unless they're also strippers.

  • 16 crownpill // Jul 6, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Shame to see punks deface public spaces.

    SPU can track down who's responsible for addressing graffiti, either on public or private property. I'd suggest that folks promptly file a report when they see new graffiti. Here's a link to the SPU report form:

    http://www.seattle.gov/util/Services/Garbage/Ke

  • 17 hilda // Jul 6, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    I'm rather surprised there isn't a camera installed at Bergen Place. If there had been one, the Police could see who did it and perhaps catch the disrespectful morons.

  • 18 little birdy // Jul 6, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    talk to kate martins kid. he's responsible for most of that crap.

  • 19 studio5412 // Jul 6, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    Board Brown,

    In answer to your question, “Do they ever get caught?”, yes, one was caught last year – got his cell phone, too. He eventually ended up going to court, had his hand slapped and was turned over to his parents. These tender young juveniles must be nurtured and coddled. The poor things are SO misunderstood.

  • 20 Volunteer // Jul 6, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Friends of Bergen Place maintains the mural. We are aware of the tagging, have contacted Seattle City Parks who contacted the police, Seattle City Council, Beth Miller at the Ballard Chamber of Commerce and Rob Mattson to name a few. We will be painting the border but need to contact the artist about how to take care of the picture itself. This will take time as he lives in Canada. If you find out who did this, please contact Rob Mattson at Department of Neighborhoods in Ballard. Thank you.

  • 21 MichaelSnyder // Jul 6, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    I want the tagger who hit my building to be sentenced to scrub every centimeter of their tag off of the marblecrete with a toothbrush!

  • 22 pattr // Jul 6, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Check under the fingernails of the patrons of Chai House for paint and you have your perpertrators.

  • 23 Fairburn // Jul 6, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Dear MyBallard.com – I appreciate that this site reports on important community stories like this, but please consider that posting photos of the graffiti glorifies the taggers. A photo of the original artwork prior to its defacing would suffice.

  • 24 Ernie_98107 // Jul 7, 2009 at 12:02 am

    I agree 100% Fairburn, I can just see the little twirps telling their friends “Dooods, I made the Ballard Blog!”

  • 25 Ernie_98107 // Jul 7, 2009 at 12:05 am

    It's not cool to call out people by name and accuse them of a crime unless you have solid evidence, and if you have solid evidence you should report it to the cops, not the blog.

  • 26 deleomeyer // Jul 7, 2009 at 12:30 am

    God, I hate graffiti! I am pretty liberal guy, and oppose capital punishment. That said, I must admit thinking that maybe I'd make an exception for “graffiti artists.” Just kidding of course, but it does bring out the “law and order” in me. It makes me want to repay perps' “art” with similar payback art, maybe on their moms' cars or something they hold dear.

  • 27 BHSGrad // Jul 7, 2009 at 1:10 am

    I knew a kid (well I guess I knew of at least 4 kids) at Ballard High that used to tag. The main one that bothered me went by Horn Boy and his tag was a face with a set of horns (some of you may remeber this, it was all over Ballard in 2004-2005). This kid got a large sum of cash from his father being sick an spent it on spray paint and a ton of pain pills. I always wanted to rat him out but you can't just call up with a name, you have to prove it and I wasn't about to get my ass kicked by him and his firends. I don't see his stuff anymore, but I bet if you went to Ballard High and looked at all the kids notebooks/backpacks you would find a lot of these kids becuase, like him, there not very smart when it comes to hiding there work, they like to show off.

  • 28 asdf // Jul 7, 2009 at 2:26 am

    Oh, I'm quite politically left-of-center myself (more than “liberal”).

    And I think anybody caught tagging should be shot.

    Not necessarily fatally – depends on how much they've done.

  • 29 TheBallardian // Jul 7, 2009 at 2:38 am

    Man, I think it would quite easy, with some basic police work, to figure out who did this. Tagging is an attention seeking activity: some taggers keep their identities secret, but most don't, and anyone doing a lot of tagging is going to be known to a LOT of people.

    I also agree, it's good journalistic policy not to show photos of the tags as part of the stories on criminal tagging lacking artistic interest.

  • 30 CameronT // Jul 7, 2009 at 4:21 am

    Hi – I'm new to this forum but a Ballard resident for over 12 years so Hi all!

    I would love to know if there is anything I can do to to help catch the vandals and put a stop to this.

    Golden Gardens has informational signs regarding the wildlife, fauna etc. – sprayed in graffiti, neighbors garage doors sprayed in graffiti, there's a bench facing the water down by that new building next to Ray's – sprayed in graffiti, landmarks in Ballard – sprayed in graffiti. On and on and on.

    Feeling helpless is such a depressing state to live in. I hear about these things that are going on and I just want to know WHAT CAN I DO? I currently have some time on my hands so I am very serious when I ask this? If it means a stake out – where, how, what?

    Thanks for any serious and realistic advice!

  • 31 BallardBanana // Jul 7, 2009 at 4:46 am

    As much as I hate to fuel the 'posse' forming up here, an earlier post identified these two tags. This post has since been deleted, oddly enough.

    Pictures of the first tag 'Antosh' were easily findable on Flickr.
    For example
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/liquidnight/231872

    I have since forgotten the second tag. However, photos were also findable in the same collection as well. The point being is that both these folks are well known within their community. Well known enough to have other folks take pictures of their work and document it in a public way. Might be a clue in case the Norwegian Mafia is on their way…

  • 32 BallardBanana // Jul 7, 2009 at 4:47 am

    Oh, and the border has been painted back to white as of this evening.

  • 33 timwack // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Normally, I would agree. That's exactly what posting every single act of tagging would do. But this one was way over the line that it's worth the gloating of a couple of morons to stir up the outrage of the community. Not everyone can make it by the mural every day, but they can get to myballard. Using the anger created by seeing this childish destruction of art will get laws changed so that these insecure punks will actually get punished.

  • 34 TTTCOTTH // Jul 7, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    It's a crisis when the mural is tagged but no one gives a rats ass when a home gets the same treatment.

  • 35 chopper_74 // Jul 7, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    I would strongly urge the folks who are dropping names here to report their tips to the SPD. I've seen them, but that does no good for us.
    Forward what you think to the authorities.

    I would also strongly urge the artwork to be protected by any number of products that clear-coat the art, and protect it from further vandalism.

    Also, more extreme punishment for these thugs/punks/etc. is needed.
    I'd suggest a 1000 hrs of community service, and wearing a billboard that states 'I'm the idiot that tagged the Bergen Park mural'.
    Short of that, we'll be going thru this again….

  • 36 jm // Jul 7, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Murals in the Phinney and Green Lake areas have been ruined by similar vandals.

  • 37 chopper_74 // Jul 7, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Tips, while not 'solid evidence' should also be forwarded to the SPD.
    I second the use of names being out of line here.

  • 38 SPG // Jul 7, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    They don't have to hide it because there is nobody other than homeowners and business owners that are looking for them. The cops don't seem too interested. That said, I do know of one tagger back in NYC who was hospitalized after a business owner and his buddies tracked him down. He had to drink his meals through a straw for 2 months while his jaw was wired shut. He pretty much lost interest in tagging after that.

  • 39 SPG // Jul 7, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    First, you should report it to the city:
    http://www2.seattle.gov/util/forms/graffiti/gra
    If it's city property they take care of it within the week. If it's racist or really offensive it's gone in 24hrs.

    The city has a program for citizens to remove graffiti that's on private property after the owners of the property sign a waiver. The city even provides you with paint and supplies:
    http://www.seattle.gov/util/Services/Garbage/Ke

  • 40 chopper_74 // Jul 7, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    ATTN, boys, while I don't condone this sort of justice, it's more likely than ever today. I'd suggest turning yourselves in to the safety and comfort of the SPD.
    You punks have it coming, save your sorry asses, and your family's medical coverage. Too many folks know who you are already.
    Call 911, they'll pick you up…if you are lucky.

  • 41 SPG // Jul 7, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    A simple way to punish appropriately is to legally define a tag as a signature. That way when a tagger is caught once they can be prosecuted for all their other signatures they've left.
    A simple calculus of $100 per tag on top of a $500 base fine will have them thinking twice.

    My other fantasy is to have any tagger caught sentenced to 8 hours of graffiti removal a week until there is no more reported graffiti in the city. Before long you'd have a small army of former taggers cleaning up the city and very inclined to rat out their friends so they can be released from their community service obligation.

  • 42 chopper_74 // Jul 7, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Simply genius…and fantasy ;-)

  • 43 T // Jul 7, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    This is one of the best suggestions I've heard. I love the incentive that they have X hours of graffiti cleanup and their is a “Deal” where once there is no more graffiti to be found, they can get off their cleanup duty early. That of course is practically unlikely, so they will be cleaning up graffiti forever like they should be. Monetary fines should be a small part of it because it's not likely they'll ever be paid. Hard labor (graffiti cleanup, landscaping, garbage pickup) is the way to go. Having them wear a sign or shirt with a humiliation factor is also recommended. They need to be made an example!

  • 44 1980viking // Jul 7, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    stupid PUNKS.

    i, like more than a few people on this comment board, am a pretty darn liberal guy. but, i have to say that this is one of those issues that i'm pretty conservative about. community service is nice and all, and it should be a PART of the punishment of these lowlifes. HOWEVER, a ZERO TOLERANCE rule for this behavior is needed. REAL PUNISHMENTS for those convicted are needed as well. let the punks who do this know that this will be a permanent blemish on their record and maybe have them spend time in juvee or prison. (especially if they have ANY connection to gangs AT ALL.) Ballard NEEDS to set the example. protect your neighborhood! i can't condone violence, but keeping a neighborhood watch going to seek these guys, and other scum, out might be the way to go.

  • 45 wharf_rat // Jul 7, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Oh please, jail time? That is an excellent use of tax payers' money.

    For starters, we can creat a city ordinance which bans the sale of spray paint and jumbo indelible markers within city limits (like Chicago). Makes it a wee bit harder for these bored kids to get their supplies. Not a solution, but a road block…

  • 46 chopper_74 // Jul 7, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Those kids would steal it from those of us who require it.
    Not acceptable.
    Enforce the laws that exist, before you come to us that abide by those laws for your solution.
    Fix yer head.
    Jail time is exactly the best use of 'our' money.
    Unless, you suggest a free solution….(*SLAP*)

  • 47 1980viking // Jul 7, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    if there is a connection to GANGS(that IS what i wrote)…YES, i do believe that it is a good use of taxpayers' dollars. if YOU don't, fine. the punishment should be harsh and lasting, and one that sends a VERY CLEAR MESSAGE. i've lived and worked in LA for long enough to see what happens when crap like this goes on with little actual action taken. granted, Ballard is a long way off from that, but sending the message now is important. you can keep holding coddling the lawbreakers with your let's make it harder to get spray paint and paint markers ordinances. (look at Prohibition and the FAILED War on Drugs to see how well THAT kind of “solution” works) all you'll do is make it more glamorous to become an “outlaw tagger”, or some crap. good luck with that.

  • 48 ex-graffiti artist/vandal // Jul 7, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    A couple of things, from someone who knows..

    Whoever is going around on a personal vendetta scribbling white spray paint over graffiti, you're not helping. That is exactly why kids go over murals and the like, because it's the only thing that lasts (because it's harder to retouch a mural and people are less likely to buff it). That and, because their pissed at what they feel is the community (not the city) that is removing their graffiti. Leave it to the property owners to decide what they would like to do with it.

    Also, there is only 1 legal place to do graffiti in this city and it's actually private property. I don't imagine that anytime soon will the rest of the world realize that this subculture is not going anywhere. Like it or not, it's the most significant and rapidly growing artform there is (and yes, it's an artform even if you can't understand it). Of course, there are different “writers” with different beliefs but, just think about it this way: For all of the money, time and paint that is used up at a legal wall, that is that much less money, time and paint they have to paint illegally.

  • 49 chopper_74 // Jul 7, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    So, these punks will respect a 'legal' wall to deface?
    OK, you don't know what we are dealing with.

  • 50 chopper_74 // Jul 7, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Yes, Ballard_Rocks_Now,
    but only if you insist ;-)

  • 51 Volunteer // Jul 7, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Ex-graffiti artist – If you consider graffiti art that is up to you. The issue isn't really if it is art or not. The issue is people who tag someone else's property have zero respect for others and it is against the law on top of that. Get a book, buy a piece of property with walls, have them tag all they want there, just leave other people's buildings and City Parks alone. They are not yours to deface.
    Others –
    For those who want to change our tagging and drug dealing laws please contact Tim.Burgess@Seattle.Gov He said he has talked to people in Ballard about the crime. Please give him feedback. Thanks.

  • 52 1980viking // Jul 7, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    ex-graffiti “artist”,

    when “art” breaks the law and punishes the people by defacing things they love…it's NOT art anymore. and ART should NEVER DEFACE OTHER PEOPLES' ART. i won't argue whether or not it's art with you, you have your opinion. you were partially right about why the tagger use the murals, though, you left out the fact that they obviously get their jollies off watching the reactions from the community. the community that THEY LIVE IN. i'm sure they do it more for the rush of breaking the law than they do for the value of spreading their art. in gangs, it's usually a sign of turf boundaries. whatever the case, we need to find this wastes of carbon and make them a gleaming PUBLIC example of what happens in Ballard to people who do this to our home. it's just time to get real.

  • 53 1980viking // Jul 7, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    sorry for the typos, i trying to head out the door!

  • 54 jm // Jul 7, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Graffiti is a lame activity. The vandals have to sneak around at night to do something nobody wants. Visual litter.
    Real creative people have exhibits the public enjoys. I'd recommend a trip to the Seattle Art Museum, Frye Museum, Glass Museum in Tacoma or any local gallery.

  • 55 ex-graffiti artist/vandal // Jul 7, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    my point was it's an artform that very few people are willing to support. you can't expect a young person to own a wall to paint on or expect that it will go away, ever. you can't spray paint in a book, or even safely in a garage on wood and most parents wouldn't try to understand either, nevermind the fact that many kids don't have a garage or a backyard. my mom did and i spent a lot of that time, paint and money painting boards in my backyard. that or, under bridges, on railroad trackside walls, inside abandoned buildings, etc. where it won't offend anyone. like i said, it wouldn't remove the problem entirely but, it does help.

  • 56 ex-graffiti artist/vandal // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    as both an ex-vandal and a part of the seattle fine arts community, i recommend you check out SAM's upcoming clinic on graffiti, as well as the many other gallery shows around the world, books, websites, etc. dedicated to this non-artform.

  • 57 wharf_rat // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Still don't feel that jail time is appropriate for taggers. I lived and worked in LA and Chicago and Ballard is neither.

  • 58 jm // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    People want less graffiti – not more of it.

  • 59 ex-graffiti artist/vandal // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    while the rush is definitely a part of it for some, you might be surprised by how many hours these kids spend drawing and practicing. it's not easy. i'm not saying these 2 particular tags are any good but, i have seen other work by these 2 and it's terrific.

  • 60 ex-graffiti artist/vandal // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    tell that to the growing number of people attending shows and buying several thousand dollar pieces around the globe, including here in seattle.

  • 61 ex-graffiti artist/vandal // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    i'm officially over this and won't be returning to post. as a new member of this community, i just felt i would chime in but, it's futile and ridiculous of me to think that i can open anyone's mind to possibly support a vital youth art movement. all i was trying to say is that if ballard had a legal graffiti wall (possibly at the skatepark, as in woodinville and redmond, amongst other places) there'd be less elsewhere.

    blahblahblah

  • 62 jm // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    I think we saw STARVE kissing BUDSZY the other day. SWEET!

  • 63 your neighbor // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Tagging is bad, but does anyone else think that the mural is kind of dowdy and dated? Can't we get a better mural?

  • 64 ex-graffiti artist/vandal // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    wait, i lied.. one more thing.. while not the greatest article, it's something..

    http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/east_king/red/commu

    “within two weeks of the wall’s opening, there was 67 percent less graffiti in the City of Redmond”

  • 65 jm // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    I don't think my garage door is worth thousands with the extra decoration.

  • 66 chopper_74 // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    They are spending hours being unproductive, and there-for, un-creative. period.
    They should re-do their time, their choice, or ours.

  • 67 chopper_74 // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Oh, a member of the 'fine arts council' are you?
    Count your days.
    We can't afford you and your ilk.

  • 68 chopper_74 // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    “several thousand dollar pieces”
    That better not be my money, or, any dollar I pay in taxes.
    oooops, too late, right?…. sheesh
    Pull the plug!

  • 69 chopper_74 // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    Thanks for not coming back!

  • 70 chopper_74 // Jul 8, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Give it time, 'the Seattle arts council' will fix it in time.
    (not for free)

  • 71 chopper_74 // Jul 8, 2009 at 12:03 am

    Name these two, not that it matters….
    Support them, not that it matters…
    You are another complete flake, and yes,
    it doesn't seem to matter.

  • 72 Phil // Jul 8, 2009 at 12:35 am

    Love it! I think it's a great idea.

    Please don't be scared off by the old cranks in this echo-chamber. Not all of us here are so narrow minded and new opinions are greatly appreciated!

  • 73 Phil // Jul 8, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Why bother with the heart in your avatar when clearly your words don't show much of one?

  • 74 1980viking // Jul 8, 2009 at 1:06 am

    okay.

    i didn't intend this to turn out to be an attack by any means. i stated my opinions. they have not changed.

    ex-graffiti “artists”, art SURE. fine, i'll bite. it's ART. you totally miss the point though. ART shouldn't DESTROY OTHER PEOPLES' ART. it's art when they don't do it to BREAK THE LAW and, or MAKE A NAME FOR THEMSELVES on the street. don't defend that. HOW can you defend that? if a free wall is all these hoodlums need, then FINE…write the appropriate people and get a wall going somewhere. i'm pretty sure that's not a TOTALLY accurate stat.

    TILL THEN, arrest, fine, and put these people who are destroying the place they live, cause they sure don't give a S about the OTHER people who live here, to work FIXING AND PAYING FOR THEIR CRIMES.

    all i've been saying is you can't go on and on about how “it's art” without pointing out that it's wrong because it HURTS THE COMMUNITY.

    Let me just finish with this…when i taught in LA i had kids that would sit in class ALL DAY LONG and tag. books, binders, desks, themselves, almost every paper they turned in (IF THEY TURNED IT IN). point is, out of every 10 kids or so that were heavy taggers, about ONE actually passed my classes. i taught middle school. and i'm probably being VERY generous about my stats. you have your “cred” about tagging…i have MINE. i've seen the road it can lead down. i KNOW that is NOT always “ART”. it's mostly just lost kids looking to be cool however they can. it needs to be DEALT WITH. and a “free wall” will only slow the tide.

    but, if it works at all…i should be tried.

  • 75 chopper_74 // Jul 8, 2009 at 1:32 am

    I can love what's right
    and call out what isn't.
    That is love, Phil.

  • 76 chopper_74 // Jul 8, 2009 at 1:37 am

    wow, former teacher?
    I've received your class notices, and can say,
    LEARN HOW TO SPELL BEFORE YOU TEACH MY KIDS!!!!!!
    (can u tell im piss't?)

  • 77 SPG // Jul 8, 2009 at 1:47 am

    Chopper, really uncalled for. I don't agree with ex-graffiti, but I don't think that we should chase him off the forums.
    Ex Graffiti, I'd actually welcome a dialog on the issue if you're interested. Maybe when some of our neighbors calm down from the outrage of having their mural defaced.

  • 78 SPG // Jul 8, 2009 at 1:50 am

    Geez Chopper, take a deep long breath and chill a bit before you post anymore tonight. Are you sure you want to keep attacking everyone on the comments?

  • 79 chopper_74 // Jul 8, 2009 at 2:10 am

    lol, sore subject…
    Thanks SPG, I'll breath awhile ;-)

  • 80 chopper_74 // Jul 8, 2009 at 2:32 am

    Outrage noted, no apology forthcoming for it.
    SPG, dialog is good.
    Intelligence and honor is better.
    “artist”, I am but one.

  • 81 1980viking // Jul 8, 2009 at 2:49 am

    still teaching, thanks. never said i was a great speller AND fast typer.

    strong mind, indeed. attacking people's spelling on a blog forum. i'm actually very embarrassed to admit that i was happy that you backed me up at the beginning. i didn't know you were this execrable. please don't address me anymore, as i will be ignoring you.

  • 82 jm // Jul 8, 2009 at 3:06 am

    They often wear latex gloves to hide the spray.

  • 83 D.Baker // Jul 8, 2009 at 3:29 am

    Maybe on stuff that is actually pleasant to look at. I can guarantee you that no one would give a penny to buy anything that looks like these tags.

    That said, if they are going to spray paint, why don't they use their so called talent (you said these guys were good) and make something worth looking at.

  • 84 D.Baker // Jul 8, 2009 at 3:32 am

    I've talked to taggers before. Even if they have a space, it doesn't matter. Most just want their tag to be everywhere and seen by everyone. One guy told me that the best tag spots are spot that no one is going to bother cleaning up (like a electric meter on a side of a building). That way your tag is there forever for all the other taggers to see. There is a difference between “tagging” and “graffiti”.

  • 85 chopper_74 // Jul 8, 2009 at 3:36 am

    ah, Viking. twas your support that let me in.
    Sorry. I'll back you up at the end.

  • 86 1980viking // Jul 8, 2009 at 4:30 am

    oh, and just fyi…

    “twas” has an apostrophe before it. for all my spelling errors, due to hasty typing, i at least try to use good grammar.

  • 87 SPG // Jul 8, 2009 at 4:35 am

    I don't see a problem with having a legal graffiti wall for pieces to get thrown up, but how is that going to stop taggers? In the story you cite in your other post, it was policing by the graffiti kids that cut the amount of tagging. Even if it didn't stop tagging, I would be fine with it. A good outlet for creativity where nobody's property gets damaged, what's not to like?
    As far as the art issue, don't assume that nobody understands. I recognize that there is some skill needed to create a decent piece with spray cans, but the only style I see is a direct ripoff of what was considered played out in the 80's. Bubble letters? Come on. I don't see the 'graffiti style' as much more than a fad that gets co-opted by corporations and marketers to bring urban flava to their products. What I see painted on the walls around Seattle doesn't even look like it's intended to be anything more than a finger poked in the eye of everyone who has to look at it. I get the feeling that the tagger ethos of having more people see it begets an attitude of the more destructive and annoying the better.
    I'd also take issue with your painting over tags just creates more tags. I'd bet that if no tag would ever survive 24 hours that most taggers would quit. Which begs the question…Why are you now an ex-graffiti artist/vandal?

  • 88 SPG // Jul 8, 2009 at 4:42 am

    I doubt that anyone here wants to squelch any art movement. The conflict is in the fact that the people painting and the people being painted are not the same. If the graffiti were solely done on one's own property then we can have a discussion about the quality of the art and not the costs of cleaning up the damage.
    The other point here is that we need to separate the issue of graffiti and tagging. Graffiti is debatable as art, while tagging is pure vandalism to market oneself. I really can't see any artistic merit to the scribbled tag, and would welcome some enlightenment to the finer points of the craft.

  • 89 Tor // Jul 8, 2009 at 11:38 am

    This is just sad. Im living in Bergen Norway

  • 90 bilsemon // Jul 8, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    If it's on private property, the private property owner is responsible to remove it w/in 10 days of being notified. CALL CALL CALL the graffiti hotline and report tags on private property. I know it's a pain for owners to clean it up, but if you don't the problem gets worse. Taggers love to see their tags. If you take them down quickly, they will move on.

  • 91 bilsemon // Jul 8, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Both suck. I don't hear anyone saying a house is not a problem.

  • 92 petsfriend // Jul 8, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Right according to you oh mighty know-er of right, right?

  • 93 chopper_74 // Jul 8, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Finally, someone understands ;-)

  • 94 ex-graffiti artist/vandal // Jul 8, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Okay, first of all Chopper, I never said I was a part of the local “fine arts council”, I said community. Meaning, I have worked in multiple galleries (including here in Ballard) and try my best to promote gallery openings and events, usually “urban”.

    I'm not sure why you're taxes would go towards purchasing fine art in a gallery?

    Also, I was never trying to defend anyone's actions, only explaining what might help. While I have done my fair share of vandalism, I was always mindful about where I put my graffiti, “artistic” or not (ie: greedy corporations, under bridges, bland city walls, etc.). I do not condone tagging schools, homes, community murals, etc. I quit (more or less) because I'm too old to be running around at 4AM, risking arrest. When I do paint, it's usually at the aforementioned legal walls or under said bridges, etc.

    As for the idea that graffiti in Seattle is largely untalented, generic or malevolent.. that's because there isn't very many good places to practice and “the buff” is considered tough in this town, as small business and private property owners can be fined for not removing said graffiti within 48(?) hours after a complaint is made. The city of Seattle actually fines property owners for graffiti!? All of this means that kids don't want to risk an extra 15 minutes or any unnecessary paint trying to make it look good. S.F., L.A. and New York, while having plenty of “ugly” vandalism, also have many more talented pieces and productions. Namely because it is supported by legal walls and legal productions that can be seen all around town, on shop sides, etc. that give kids the hope that they can actually do something people can enjoy AND that they actually get paid for (or, at least their paint paid for). I can only think of a handful at this time (Vain, Tubs, the MLK mural in S. Lake Union) but, I feel all of this has improved since the legal wall opened. Some people make no distinction between good or bad if it's illegal tho. Personally, I know that me and many other young people don't mind seeing colorful graffiti adorning and otherwise grey, lifeless city wall or what have you.

    There are all different types of “writers” and there will ALWAYS be illegal graffiti but, I still stand by my case that supporting it as a legal artform would help give these kids another outlet and a means to use up that free time, paint and money.

    That or, just build more skateparks and other things kids actually WANT to do. Portland is in the process of building 19 more. Seattle currently has one bowl here in Ballard (typically too big for younger kids), one DIY park in a sketchy area of SoDo, one absolute joke of a park almost completed at the Seattle Center and FINALLY one decent skatepark at Greenlake, which isn't always easy to bus to. I bring this up because there's a reason the 2 are so often related. If there were plenty of desirable skateparks with VISIBLE legal walls at them, I guarantee it would help tremendously. Not that it's going to happen anywhere, anytime soon.

  • 95 Volunteer // Jul 9, 2009 at 12:42 am

    Ex grafitti artist – I hear what you are saying although I may not agree with it all. Here is what I'd suggest you and anyone who would help you do – call Seattle City Parks or write to them about getting a legal wall put up. It takes time and a lot of patience to make it happen, but it can be done.

    Go for it.

  • 96 jm // Jul 9, 2009 at 1:36 am

    Property owners want less graffiti – not more of it. It doesn't improve the community.

  • 97 SPG // Jul 9, 2009 at 5:09 am

    I hear you on the legal wall, but I still don't get how that would discourage tagging. Maybe a few of the meeker graffiti kids might stick to it, but I don't even see graffiti and tagging as being the same people. The taggers will keep tagging anything they can get close to, and maybe they'll try to sharpen their skills or aspire to something more on the legal wall once in a while.
    I think that you should push the city to get your wall, but don't be surprised if you hear the following:
    -This is just training for vandals.
    -It's an eyesore
    -The neighbors won't stand for it.

  • 98 selemat malam // Jul 9, 2009 at 6:56 am

    Graffiti denotes the deterioration of a civilization.

    Look deeper.

    http://arts.guardian.co.uk/pictures/0,,1543331,…

  • 99 1980viking // Jul 9, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    selemat,

    that link shows ACTUAL art, on BLANK walls. it would be hard NOT to agree that THAT graffiti is art. it's not some punk writing his name or GANG SIGN. that's my big issue. tagging around cities these days MORE OFTEN THAN NOT is related to gangs and turf boundaries. i'm kind of worried that more people haven't really addressed this, because it would be a MAJOR problem if the gangs in Seattle are let to expand and expand more than they already are. it's hard to get rid of gangs once they've been left to their own devices for too long.

    ALSO, let me be very clear. there is an OBVIOUS difference between “tagging” (usually done by punk kids who want to break the law and show support for their gang), and ACTUAL graffiti. i know there is some overlap. but, yes, graffiti can be seen as art. TAGGING, in the sense that the morons who tagged the mural used, is the problem. that's when GRAFFITI stops being ART and becomes a slap in the face of the public.

  • 100 ex-graffiti artist/vandal // Jul 9, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Getting skateparks built is one thing, convincing the city to support graffiti is another. The only way I see this happening is if a large part of the community pushed for it. The Redmond wall was pushed for by an ex-cop, as per that article. They won't listen to me, I have tattoos and look young. Evil, surely.

  • 101 ex-graffiti artist/vandal // Jul 9, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    A lot of times they do it all. Legal pieces, tagging and bombing or throw-ups (simple, often sloppy, 2-color bubbly letters, usually). The kids who paint the legal wall WILL still tag but, like I've said, all the time, money and paint they use up at the legal wall will be that much less time, money and paint they have.

  • 102 ex-graffiti artist/vandal // Jul 9, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Here is a quick look at Flickr results for a crew called ICP (no relation to that clown metal shit) in San Francisco that, while they have done their fair share of vandalism in the past, is now known around town for their legal productions.

    http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=icp+graffiti

    Another good point is that if you allow for this kind of graffiti on your business, it is that much less likely to be vandalised in the future (which is why they do it so much in NYC or SF).

  • 103 ex-graffiti artist/vandal // Jul 9, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    BTW, while some people might not understand the letterform or the skill it takes, there is no denying that something like this isn't art..

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3436/3271608356_

    I could easily find 1000's more examples if you're interested.

    Try http://www.artcrimes.com for a lot more “talented” graffiti..

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