Saturday, June 22, 2013

In defense of clever graffiti

I don’t condone graffiti, but if you’re going to do it at least make it clever.
Today I noticed that someone had spray-painted graffiti on a fence near my suburban neighborhood. It was the same sort of graffiti you’d see in the inner city – some kid spray-painting their tagger name. Not very interesting or original.
If you’re going to go through the trouble of vandalism, you should at least make a statement – social, political or humorous. I get a big kick out of the latter.
What follows are some examples of clever graffiti or creative vandalism that I’ve seen posted online.
Listverse has the “Top 12 Examples of Graffiti Humor.” Some are gems, but a few are pretty weak. One of my favorite recent examples was a sarcastic remark spray-painted on a public health billboard. (See photo above from HappyPlace.)
Adding funny remarks to billboards is a tried-and-true way to get laughs. Street artist Jilly Ballistic added computer dialog boxes to a number of billboards in New York City poking fun at the products or movies they were advertising. (See PSFK article and photo below.)


Ji Lee, a communication designer at Facebook, took aim at the ubiquitous advertising in New York City for his Bubble Project, which started in 2002. He puts blank speech bubbles on advertisements and invites passersby to fill them in with their expressions. (See sample below.)
In Dublin, Ireland, someone put dresses on billboards featuring a nearly naked Rihanna, who’s currently on tour promoting her latest album. (See article on Yahoo’s music blog Stop the Presses!)
And finally tech-savvy pranksters occasionally hack into portable electronic traffic signs. A sign in Los Angeles was changed to read, “LAPD anal probing. Guard your butthole.” In Winter Park, Fla., a sign was changed to read, “Smoke weed erryday.”


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