Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Form of Illegal Self-Expression

Via MyFoxHouston -

A new form of graffiti is popping up around Houston, one that has nothing to do with spray paint.

It's called "wheat pasting," so named because of the paste used to plaster traffic signal boxes and other vertical surfaces with large sheets of paper which are pre-printed with the artist's message.

"That's something new that's just come into Houston," said Martin Chavez, who runs the graffiti abatement program for the Greater East End Management District.

"But we are starting to come across it right now; within the last 6 months we've seen an increase."

A street artist who goes by the name "Give Up" has been putting his message on billboards, often during the middle of the day, in full view of the public and patrolling police officers.

To anyone observing, it looked as if the illegal street artist was supposed to be there, changing out the billboard.

"I don't think they really pay any attention to this," said "Give Up," as he posted one of his recent messages, picturing a huge razor blade over his street name.

FOX 26 News obtained video of "Give Up" in the act of "wheat pasting" from a filmmaker who is producing a documentary on Houston's illegal street art scene.

"Stick Em Up" also interviews a former graffiti artist who calls himself "GONZO247." He told FOX 26 News he no longer does illegal street art, but he won't condemn "Give Up" for doing it.

"I don't want to see a McDonald's billboard," he said. "I'd rather see art on billboards."

But Houston city councilmember Sue Lovell points out that the city spends about a million dollars a year cleaning up graffiti.

"You know the bottom line on graffiti is, if it is not your property you can't do it; you're breaking the law," Lovell said.


Stick em Up! - Documentary of Houston's Illegal Street Art Movement -

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