Back in the ‘80’s when I first saw a documentary on New York graffiti I was surprised that some people went to jail for tagging subway cars or walls. I’m not sure why that surprised me, although I still think that if someone gets busted for graffiti it would make more sense to put their talents to good use doing some community service or something than it would to throw them in jail, which could just make the problem worse. Back in the ‘80’s I also heard a joke that’s stayed with me: a cop tells a kid, “A night in the slammer will teach you a lesson,” and the kid says, “Yeah, if I want to learn to be a junkie, hooker, or thief,” but that’s another story.
Every time I see graffiti, something that isn’t obviously there legally, I think about the risks the artist took, especially the risk of getting caught. And then I see something like the tag MENAS left and I’m even more impressed. This was going to eleven. I had to go by there at least a dozen times before I could get the picture above, and I could only get it from a moving car while my wife was driving. It shows up on Google Maps so here’s a picture that gives you an idea of its placement and how difficult that must have been.
Embiggen for the full effect. And here’s an aerial shot, also from Google Maps, although the red circle is mine, that also gives an idea of how difficult placing this tag must have been.
There’s also something to be said for the sharp, clean lines. Whoever Menas is they’ve clearly shown some skills, and a willingness to take some risks. Do they really deserve to go to jail for that?
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I don’t think Menas should go to jail, party because his/her name is so clever. Is the first name Dennis? Then again, what officer wouldn’t want to have that arrest on their record for the day. Honey, today I arrested a Menas, a Rehbell, a Thrhett, and Banksy.
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Now that’s hilarious. For some reason I was pronouncing the name “Mee-nas” but your pronunciation makes it so much funnier. And, true story, I saw where someone had tagged a building in my neighborhood with “Banksy”. I think it was a fake Banksy, though.
Thank you, Chris, as always, for sharing for the full effect of your embiggened perspective. I appreciate how difficult this is.
I’m so glad you’re here to embiggen this blog with the thoughtfulness of your comments.