A Clever Way to Deal with Graffiti

So while I was on vacation last week I couldn’t help but notice that Paris also has a huge graffiti problem. But on the block where I was staying (in Montmartre) they were trying something that I thought was awesome. They were painting over the graffiti and putting up posters related to the neighborhood. Think something like this would work in DC?

Props go to these two ladies:

21 Comment

  • i give it 5 minutes before a tag ends up on the poster.

  • Graffiti used to be a form of expression for kids that felt they had no future, it used to have a lot more “art” to it as well, now its just an “extreme sport” for kids from wealthy suburban backgrounds.

    I’ve observed kids driving Subaru Station Wagons (parent’s cars) many times to tag a spots along the metro Red Line. Parents, if your kids are out late at night and they have cans of spray paint in their room, you’ve failed, and its your fault. Enroll your kid in art class, or stop loaning them your station wagon.

    • The problem is that parents these days find out about this and say, “Awww, Johnny’s just out expressing himself artistically, isn’t it beautiful? See, I told him that he can be whatever he wants to be!”

    • you’re not up to speed with the complexity of the art then.
      maybe it’s a lot of suburban kids, but the work is far better these days than the old school tagging.

    • That figures. So if the ghetto kids do it it’s art, but if suburban kids do it its willfull destruction of property.

  • Well if we are going as far as Paris for solutions,lets bring the guiliotine too.
    Much more effective I’d say.

  • I’ve always liked the idea of adopting a tactic in an old SNL skit where Rudy Giuliani announces a new program of stenciling the word “SUCKS” under graffiti tags.

  • Sorry, PoP, nice idea but I don’t think it’ll work.

    I’ve seen plenty of murals all over town that get tagged again and again. And those are actually painted works of art that take somebody time to plan and execute. Taggers have no respect for anybody or anything.

  • In Montreal they have funds for street crews that are well known to come together and do murals all over town. It works really, really well and, for the most part, the other kids don’t tag over it out of respect.

    They also do a big project once a year where they turn the walls in the alleys on a 5-6 block stretch in a part of town into large canvases for murals. Artists compete to get a wall and then spend a weekend tagging it up into something awesome. There are prizes, etc. The art stays up for a full year and then it gets painted over again for the process to repeat. Also seemed to work pretty well.

    I just don’t understand why in this city we can’t spend more on murals and public art. There is a tremendous lack of outlets for that stuff. Yes, graffiti will still exist but it would definitely help to be able to look at some proper, thought-out pieces in random walls and corners. I hear Germany has something similar to to what I described in MTL as well, FWIW.

    • Sounds great but it won’t deal with the graffiti problems in the area. The crews that tote guns and deal drugs and use tagging as a way to mark their territory won’t suddenly stop because the city has provided a few blocks of space to legally put up graffiti.

  • Murals DC is doing some work like this.


  • Dan! I had a lapse in my PoP involvement and I come back to find that we were in Paris at the SAME TIME!? WTF! I was staying in Artannes-sur-Indre, outside of Tours, but we went into Paris on the 6th for the day. That would’ve been awesome to see you 🙂

  • Why is it that the bridge footings on the nature path in Rock Creek Park are constantly being tagged (and eventually cleaned by the Park Service)? Is that area part of a drug gang territory dispute?

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