Vandalism Increasing on Public Art

The SF Chronicle ran a story on the growing number of tags going up on public art:

Increasingly, sculptures, monuments and a diversity of public art installations are falling victim to the same disrespect that sidewalks, walls and street signs have long suffered - unauthorized graffiti tagging and vandalism.

“In previous years, an incident would happen every two or three months, but lately it seems to be … happening monthly,” said Marcus Davies, the Arts Commission's civic art collection registrar.

It's a growing concern because the commission has a mere $15,000 of its $11 million yearly budget to clean up the tags, carvings and other unwanted artistic contributions to the 3,500-piece, $90 million collection, said Luis Cancel, the commission's director of cultural affairs.

The Chronicle goes on to say that every time someone tags a piece of work owned by the Arts Commission, it costs the city $5,000 because special care must be taken to clean up art (as opposed to just painting over a utility box).

The Arts Commission isn't the only one noticing the rise in vandalism.  KKKatie, who was infamous in her graffiti bombings of murals, public buildings and public artwork, might be rotting in prison, but people have  picked up where she left off.  Cancer Carl, whose tags and pieces can be seen all over the city, recently took it upon himself to hit the Banksy of Sycamore.  Another tagger bombed the mural on Public Works (it has since been painted over, as seen in this photo).  The mural on Valencia and 19th was getting hit so much this summer that they just painted over the entire thing a month ago.  The Chronicle is clearly going after the easy story (“taggers defacing city-owned art costing taxpayers bank”), but the situation, while certainly not a recent one, is not exclusive to city property.

Which brings me to the photo I used for this post.  The other day I was walking past Clarion Alley, which sits directly across from a police station, and I saw this bitch wearing all black (seen standing in the middle of the shot next to her leather-fetish boyfriend) making bold strokes with a silver pen over a mural.  I stopped and started fumbling for my camera, but her friend saw me, said something to her and she stopped.  Instead of just walking away, she attempted to shield herself from my view and started photographing her tag, as some sort of trophy honoring her 15-second accomplishment.

Even if I don't agree with it, I've always understood why kids tag.  But aren't 20-somethings supposed to have moved past it? It really blows to watch career baristas trashing what makes the city a pleasure to live in.

(Read the whole thing over at SFgate)

Comments (14)

Ugh, why can’t people be authentic in the right way?

KKKatie is free

Cancer Carl certainly lives down to his name, doesn’t he? Never afraid to tag over a nice-looking wall of art, Carl is truly a cancer on the neighborhood. May he be outed by roving photographer real soon.

Clarion Alley is an asshole magnet. A lot of those little shit tags, done with small markers are the work of people in the city for the day. True, there have been turf wars there, but you can walk thru almost any day and some “tourist” or another is intent on leaving their mark.

I am always skeptical of the desire to attribute everything bad that happens in the city to people visiting for the day, the evening, or the weekend. SF is a great city, but we have assholes too.

who cares about the bansky stencil, it’s illegal and he’s not from the city. so some brit (who’s been biting Blek le Rat’s style for years) comes through, does some bombs, and it’s considered ok? even “art”?

Who cares if the “artist” is from out of town? Stencils, wheatpaste, and murals are far more interesting than tags, regardless of the country of origin of the ‘artist’

comparing a wheatpaste or a stencil to a mural is pretty out there. graffiti is competition and since you yuppies are in banksys corner because he’s more “interesting” (maybe you didnt pay attention to the part where i mentioned that his style is a complete bit from Blek Le Rat). I’d rather see a Twist tag or any of Reyes’s letters over some bullshit stencil or wheatpaste anyday.

Whatever. Taggers are pathetic scum who are so desperate to be taken seriously that they try to be associated with actual graffiti artists. *yawn*

really? you’re still crying about this issue? i thought mission mission was enough of a vent for you. well, if you’re going to increase your blood pressure, and temp that inevitable heart attack, then i’m just glad one of my photos could be one of the nails in your coffin.

I do love me a good cry

Couple days saw this guy defacing the mural your blog posting is about.
I asked him to stop, but his reaction made me think he lives in a different reality.
He tags BKF all over town.

Actually, I’m worried that it could be a false accusation on a different taggers Zoom in the photo I posted and it shows him writing B.F.K. rather than B.K.F. Different order of same letters.

edit, A couple days ago …