Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Unauthorized Mural Painters?

A few weeks back, the Crow Hill Community Association primed the construction fence at Franklin and Eastern in preparation for their mural project, which will come to full fruition in September. In the meantime, the white fence has sat as a blank canvas, inviting unauthorized muralists to strut their own stuff. The latest, most impressive tag went up last Thursday night, when I snapped this photo of the spray-can picassos in action, though by Monday morning their work had already been defaced by other, less imaginative taggers.

It's easy to feel ambivalent about the proliferation of tags on the fence, as did some of the folks on Brooklynian. On the one hand, this isn't exactly what people have in mind when they hear the words "community mural," and with violence and gang activity still very much a reality on Franklin (e.g. the double shooting on Franklin that took place on Friday night), providing a wide-open space for competing turf-marking seems potentially problematic. On the other hand, the CHCA folks pretty much knew this would happen, and when it was brought up at the meeting in May, the organizers of the project aruged that having the space painted white all summer would attract the attention of artists and and community members, and that the tags could easily be painted over. It's also worth noting that not all taggers are gangsters (the Smart Crew, who created this great one at Franklin and Atlantic, certainly are not), and that sometimes, their work adds some welcome color to a wall.

I had my own moment of ambivalence taking this picture - should I have asked them what they were doing and if they were supposed to be doing it? The two taggers were working from a big duffel bag of cans in broad daylight as people poured out of of the subway stop, which led me to believe that they had some legitimacy, or at least weren't too concerned with any repercussions. At the same time, I don't think they were authorized by the Crow Hill folks, and this does make for more work on the mural later down the line. But I was in a hurry, and as I mentioned above, the organizers didn't seem to concerned, so I just kept going.


  1. The organizers are concerned.

    As someone who has a panel in the mural, we are all a little troubled by this. It has prompted the association to send out an email to all involved artists asking us if we can move up our painting dates to this coming up weekend to avoid more tagging on our mural space.

    The thing is, anyone could have applied and gotten a panel. Instead of ruining it for others. These tags will be painted over and the artists who bothered to go through the red tape to get a panel will be granted their panels.

    The dates set for painting are September 18th and 19th. And some artists will be painting this weekend, from what I gather.

    BTW, the Pulp & Bean isn't authorized to tag that public property either.

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