Sunday, July 02, 2017

!*?%&#= TAGGERS!!

I've never belonged to a gang, had "rivals," fought for "my part" of town, or had no qualms about destroying property. A lot of graffiti taggers consider themselves artists. It used to be that taggers would leave more-traditional artists alone; ruining real art — especially crossing out someone's signature — was basically unheard of (in Tucson, at least)… it was an insult to your brother or sister artist.

Half an hour ago, I pulled into the parking lot near Epic Rides' new mural by Joe Pagac. Needless to say, I was horrified. This majestic mural took three months to finish.

If for some reason you haven't seen the mural, we've posted three long blog entries here showing the mural taking shape. The most recent one was Murals being made, part 46c: Tucson's biggest.

Here's an "editorial." I avoid politics or (most) strong opinions on this blog, but I'm just so angry…

[There are suggestions farther down.]

I aim to be impartial (especially on our Tucson Art pages!), and I won't participate in feuds between artists. But I decided to make an exception here becase this trashing of a beautiful mural (just a corner, but the corner with Joe's signature!) was despicable. What if the panel with donors' names at the bottom right coner were trashed? I've heard that taggers' styles are often well-known in an area, maybe gang-turf related, and officials know whodunnit… I think the problem may be finding (and punishing) them.

I thought former Sheriff Arpaio's outdoor tent city, keeping inmates in Phoenix heat wearing pink underwear, was cruel and unusual. But I'm getting the idea. "Artists" of this style deserve that punishment and more. Restoring murals and being forced to buy the paint, while wearing loose painting clothes (pour water on the clothes to keep them cool) with a pink hat and underwear (over the painting clothes?)? Probably that will never stop gangs tagging art and other property, so here's another idea.

Luckily, the mural is too tall to trash completely. And I saw a photo of Joe clearcoating the mural to protect it. I've heard (maybe from him?) that the tags on a clearcoated mural can be powerwashed off. If so, how about crowdfunding an effort for a company like Graffiti Protective Coatings to protect new murals? Michael Schwartz is trying the same thing for Tucson Arts Brigade murals (though I think it's only for TAB murals). Citizens and businesses who own powerwashers might loan them to artists.

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