February 04, 2015 - 2:39 PM
‘WE’RE NOT GETTING URBAN ART, JUST SCRIBBLES’
KAMLOOPS - The graffiti removed by the local task force in 2014 could have covered nearly two and a half Canadian football fields, and that was before taking into account tagging on more than 630 utility boxes as well.
How does the Graffiti Task Force know it was that much? They measure. They do carry tape measures and take note of the size of each tag they paint over. In 2014 it totalled more than 151,000 square feet, up just slightly over the year before.
While the amount of graffiti has not grown significantly it was a particularly bad year in what was targeted. Tags were often found on tot lots, daycares, sculptures, murals and memorial benches and taggers were even scribbling over or covering other tags, something uncommon in the graffiti world.
Taggers have become even more brazen than usual. They often post about their escapades online and will threaten each other, and the task force, in their tags.
“We’re not getting any nice art, we’re not getting urban art. Just the scribbles and the horrible stuff,” task force director Ronnie Bouvier says. “I’ve had to call the police more than ever before.”
She has reached out to a group of retired graffiti artists in the hopes they would create proper urban art in the city. Based on what they’ve seen this year though even the artists don’t want to take on the project, because they are sure it will get wrecked by the taggers.
“We need urban artists to not give up,” she says, “But they don’t want their art vandalized. And I can’t blame them.”
Usually there are several weeks of the year where no new tags are found, but in 2014 there were only three days with no new tagging.
“It is up. It’s not going to go down. It’s awful,” Bouvier says. “No one is taking any responsibility. They need to go through restorative justice. We’ve had that in the past and it worked.”
Bouvier estimates more than 3,000 square feet of graffiti has already been removed by task force employees this year, and that was before the group agreed to help out the Brock Shopping Centre remove a large amount of graffiti this week.
She hopes two big community clean up events later this year will help bring awareness to the need to keep on top of this type of vandalism.
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Taggers continue to vandalize buildings, tot lots, fences and utility boxes around the city.
(JENNIFER STAHN /InfoTel Multimedia)
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015