Droning On.

So Washington state is trying to address the problem of graffiti by employing drones that will spray paint over it. The drones will cost about $30,000 each, not including the time and money that will go into training people, operating them, and filling the drones with paint for each outing. Naturally I have an opinion about this. It may not be worth much–it’s a lot cheaper than $30,000, though, and it’s based on my own experience of looking at graffiti and also sanctioned public art. Something I’ve noticed is that, for the most part, taggers will leave public murals alone. There are some exceptions. A Nashville mural for Gideon’s Army, a restorative justice program that works to reduce community violence, was vandalized because some people are terrible.

Mostly, though, the people who do graffiti want a blank canvas. There’s an area near where I work where I’ve photographed a lot of graffiti and it’s where I first noticed this. On one side of the street there are several empty buildings—the whole block is undergoing major renovation right now with some historic spots being torn down. The empty buildings have been tagged, scribbled on, even gotten stickers slapped on them in some spots. On the other side of the street there are several active businesses with murals that have been left as they are.

It’s not a perfect solution. As I said sometimes murals and other public art will get vandalized, and not every place that gets graffitied is necessarily a great spot for a mural. On the other hand $30,000 could buy a lot of art supplies with money left over to tap into local talent—giving some of those taggers a legal outlet—which would also be a way to brighten up cities. Sometimes the low-tech solution is better. Just consider what happened to a drone at a Renaissance fair.

Source: makeagif.com

I can’t find more information about what happened afterward but at some point that event was memorialized.

Source: imgur


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  1. theorangutanlibrarian

    whoa $30,000 for graffiti?? Sometimes public officials have such weird priorities!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I have a feeling drone makers have much better salespeople than the graffiti artists which is why public officials are willing to spend more on drones than public beautification.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s amazing! And I’m thrilled Montreal had the same idea I had, even before I had it. Some parts of Nashville have done the same thing, recruiting graffiti artists to create public murals that everyone can enjoy. It’s a much better idea than just trying to cover up graffiti.


    Another great solution, Chris. As always, I appreciate your artistry.
    ANN J KOPLOW recently posted…Day 4173: What’s missing?My Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I appreciate your artistry too, Ann, which is mostly musical–though I think your blog has quite the visual flair.


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