Graffiti Grinch

One of my many favorite aspects of living in the Mission is that hordes of businesses make the seasonal investment to paint their windows for the holidays.  Sure, it may seem trivial, but in a town where the season doesn't mean snow and frosty windows, but rather rain and mid-50s, it goes a long way.  So the other night as I made my way down 24th, this tag on Tonayense Taqueria's white Christmas tree caught me by surprise.  At first glance I dismissed it as douchy Ebenezer antics, but now I cannot help but find it funny. The tag isn't going to really hurt the property owner (the paint will be scrapped off the window in another week anyway), and who's to say that vandalism couldn't be an ornament anyway?  If Flava Flav can dangle a watch suffering from Elephantiasis around is neck, surely an Evergreen could support a tag suffering from the same disease.

Then again, maybe Santa Claus just fucked the tagger's mom.

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)