Padlocks and Traditional Graffiti Return to North Capitol – “Graffiti or Art, talk amongst yourselves”


“Dear PoPville,

The (in)famous Bloomingdale / Eckington locks began to show back up a few months ago, and now they are joined by some lovely spray painting artwork right beside them. I see the similarity, but not really how they are different. I don’t see how some people call one art and one graffiti. They either both have to be, or not be, in my opinion. Here are what I see as similar.

1. They are both put on public property by a private citizen.
2. They are both considered illegal by DC law.
3. They both have been removed multiple times by DC Government, which clearly says to anyone who may be doubtful about doing it again, don’t do this.
4. They both have been put back multiple times after ignoring the DC Government removing them from the location.
5. They both are considered an eyesore to most, and art to some.
6. They both are being forced on all the other citizens of the neighborhood without any poll as to if they are wanted or not.
7. They both are not permanent damage but both would take considerable effort and cost to remove.
8. They both cause a waste of taxpayer dollars

The only thing I see as a difference is that one is associated with the European American Community and one is associated with the African American Community.”

25 Comment

  • Call out to all graffiti artists – can you please get better at it? Pictured graffiti looks incredibly juvenile. Maybe think of a positive message to spread? Word of protest? Anything aside from scribbling nonsense just for the sake of scribbling nonsense?

  • one is literally not graffiti. one is.

    • you get my vote for best use of the word “literally”.

      -don’t like it, carry some bolt cutters and/or paint. help clean up your neighborhood and save the district some money.

  • and associated with the african american community?! whaaaaaat? is that the connotation people have when it’s virtually never been the case?

    • Yeah, I’m not sure graffiti is associated with a certain race. While the locks might be copying Europe, not sure that I’d qualify that as coming from a certain skin shade, either.

    • I remember the first day 2 or 3 locks went up with a silly sign – it was very contrived. Whatever happens now is fruit of a poisonous tree. Note is a bit silly, but I find the locks and graffiti to lack class, and I don’t care what race is doing it.

  • I mean the padlocks unambiguously stand for love whereas graffiti could stand for a multitude of things ranging from gangs and violence to art or self expression to maybe boredom or anger or sadness. I think the whole premise behind each occurance is significantly different. FYI – there’s a lot of tagging in Europe too, it’s not distinctly an African American trend.

  • This is so condescending. Yes, both the graffiti and the locks are annoying and stupid, we get that. Plus, graffiti is mostly white kids from the burbs these days. There’s no need to project your agenda onto every annoying thing in the city. Just say: Graffiti and locks on the bridge are stupid. Let’s have the police tickets the idiots that do both.

  • 6. They both are being forced on all the other citizens of the neighborhood without any poll as to if they are wanted or not.

    Alright, let’s get Pew right on this one…

  • Lol, chungo is a latino kid from DC and a horrible tagger at that.

  • “the european american community” is that a thing?

  • ledroittiger

    Holy crap – graffiti should not be exclusively linked to black people. You need to get your head checked, bro. That’s like saying prejudice is exclusively linked to white people. As far as putting locks on a bridge, I just don’t see what the big deal is.

  • I’m black, so are locks a part of the African American Community? Or the Graffiti? How does one know the race of the tagger? Lock people? Is there a statistic on this? So very confused…

  • “This newly popular and somewhat profound way of professing your undying love is in the form of a “love-lock”. The lovers engrave their names onto a padlock, lock it to a fence (preferably one on a bridge) and throw the key into the river (or apparently North Capitol Street) below.”

  • The locks thing isn’t just in Europe, I’ve seen it in Korea and Japan (although they may have been copying Europeans).

    As far as what’s the harm, I think DDOT said the grates weren’t designed to hold the weight of so many locks, so one too many and boom, there goes a car below.

  • The PoP must salivate when an email like this comes into his inbox. So much idiocy in one message.
    I’m going to guess this person probably considers him or herself to be a Volvo driving, bike commuting, Bloomingdale bo-bo?

  • I don’t see how graffiti is associated with the African-American community. There’s a significant amateur European-American graffiti crowd in DC…especially in Georgetown and Capitol Hill.

  • Maybe the people who want to put a promise lock on the fence could instead promise to do something original and then not put the lock on the fence.

    • austindc

      As a cheap alternative, I did a promise fence: I promised my wife I would build a fence, but I did not specify a time frame because it’s agile development.

  • “Hi, 911? Yes, I need a Wah-mbulance immediately”

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