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Monday, February 6, 2012

Your tax dollars at work: supporting graffiti

An alert reader sends us this photo, from NW Tenth and Hoyt in the groovy Pearl District:

As someone who cleans up graffiti from time to time, we'd sure like to fill this researcher's ear. Graffiti is mental illness! But when you go to his website, it's clear that he's fishing for good things to say about the practice:

I have been photographing graffiti and street art for the past couple of years, and I am intrigued by the very high level of skill and the breadth of imagination behind much of the work. I work as a sociology lecturer and I would like to discover more about the people who create this art and also the people who document it through photography, so that I can learn more about this fascinating topic and put the images that I have collected into some kind of informed context.

Eventually, my aim is to create an article that takes an informed look at graffiti and the people involved in the creative process, which could then be published in a relevant academic journal. If you are involved in either creating or documenting graffiti and street art, I would like to invite you to complete my short questionnaire.

Is Portland State now about to start sponsoring vandalism? It certainly appears that way. Go by streetcar!

Comments (26)

The irony surrounding the taping of a flyer on a post in order to solicit input on graffiti is just too rich.

From reading this guy's website, it seems that if you don't like graffiti, you're just ignorant and unimaginative.

Wouldn't surprise me if PSU did support vandalism as some sort of artistic, creative expression. As long as it's somebody else's property, of course.

We shouldn't denigrate the misfits. If it weren't for them, many at PSU wouldn't have a job.

He should allow the urban artists to use his house and property as a canvas.

Some years back one of the most prolific (destructive) graffiti taggers was finally caught and forced to meet with people whose property she had vandalized, which is what it is, IMHO. Anyway if memory is right she was a Reed College student majoring in psychology. Oh and she was blithely UNapologetic and cavalier in her attitude.

Oh Boy! I cant wait to visit the website and tell the "researcher" what I think of graffit and "street art"!

Perhaps the researcher should take his/her survey solicitation to Lake Oswego.

I just completed the "survey". What a joke! All the questions were couched within the assumption that the reader actually liked and supported graffiti as an art form. Most readers do not take this opinion but rather believe that graffiti is most often an act of vandalism. This would make a great topic for a Portlandia sketch.

You know, I'm not even bothered with the idea of a paper on street art. I'm bothered by how every last bottom-of-the-class Sociology student thinks that there's something to add to the voluminous literature that's already out there. (Don't think I'm defending graffiti. If someone wants to pay a street artist to do the outside of a building, or even the inside, more power to 'em. I'm just desperately tired of the no-talent suburban taggers with no distinction between them and a spraying cat.)

A few years ago, I attended a PSU graduation ceremony at the Rose Garden for a friend who was getting a degree in Human Resources through the business program. Not knowing what to expect, I arrived early and watched the proceedings from the 300 level.

It took forever for my friend to get her degree because they handed out the degrees to the people like this vandalism specialist first. I have never seen so many worthless pieces of paper sciences, social work, urban planning, blah, blah, blah.

Sure, PSU has an engineering and a business school but it sure didn't seem like many people went to PSU for those degrees.

If you want to stop the kind of crap like this vandalism study, the light rail mafia, etc, you've got to cut the weed out at the root. The best place to start would be to take the weed-whacker to PSU.

The website says: "If there's a question you would rather not answer, you can skip over it."

I tried to skip over the first two questions, but they lied as both required an answer to continue. So I quit after the second question. If anyone is interested - I don't care much for graffiti.

I wonder if PSU or the PSU grad researcher will be paying the IRS taxes due on the gifting of the $50 visa gift card besides submitting all the IRS forms required?

My clock appears to be behind by one month.

If I deface a website is that graffiti?


Are you thinking of this person, identified in this 2004 PTrib piece only as a "Reed College student?":

"A Reed College student left the tag 'Maul' all over Portland in 1999. Charged with 44 counts of the unlawful applying of graffiti, the student paid nearly $3,000 in restitution, spent 400 hours performing graffiti cleanup and made four public apologies."

Some local history:

"The Portland Tribune, Aug 20, 2004, Updated Oct 30, 2009


Graffiti removal plan inked

Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement has elected to sign a new contract with the nonprofit Youth Employment Institute for citywide graffiti removal, a month after trying to end an eight-year association with the organization.

The office and city Commissioner Randy Leonard, who oversees the agency, last month sought a new contractor to replace the institute, which has provided the service by employing youths since 1996 and had a contract through June 2007.

After intervention from Mayor Vera Katz, the office allowed the Youth Employment Institute to redraft its contract proposal and address the city agency’s largest concerns, namely higher pay for employees, a way to move up in city employment and ways to clean more graffiti. Leonard’s office confirmed to YEI on Aug. 13 that the institute would continue providing the service."

I have been keeping my neighborhood clear of paint vandalism for years. I use cheap paint from Metro, usually only $6 or $10 per gallon. If you keep at it, the knuckleheads eventually give up.

I just posted something on the Professor's web site. It is all a matter of perspective. If I paint on other people's property, then i too must be a graffitti artist. I consider myself a minimalist after the great Kazimir Malevich. He did this wonder in 1913

'Sure, PSU has an engineering and a business school but it sure didn't seem like many people went to PSU for those degrees.'

A long time ago, I got a BS degree in accounting from PSU. It was a pretty good school back then. The way they behave now, I'm ashamed to admit it.

I just completed the "survey". What a joke! All the questions were couched within the assumption that the reader actually liked and supported graffiti as an art form.

That is simply not true.

I'm bothered by how every last bottom-of-the-class Sociology student thinks that there's something to add to the voluminous literature that's already out there.

Is that really specific to sociology or this subject? Every undergrad has to come with grips with the fact that no matter what paper they write, w're likely only poorly paraphrasing information and asking questions that have been answered in the past by people a lot smarter than me. The chances of actually thinking an original thought are slim. Someone has written a dissertation on nearly ever transient thought I've ever had. That's just how it is. There's a lot to learn.

I had the pleasure of returning to my house at about 1AM and finding a wall covered in a spiderweb painting. I strapped on my .357 and painted it over.

No vandalism after that...

All this started OH! so many years ago when the Socialy Elete decided to elevate a local NYC "tagger" to God Like Status.....KEITH HARING... and the dealers made a boat load of money off him and his "ART".
Sounds like this "Sociologist " wants to publish a coffee table book of photos ...complete with revelent psyco-bable and personal anecdotes.... [forgive the spelling ..I am at work.]

It's ridiculous to single out PSU here. The proportions of types of degrees is roughly similar across all our institutions. At UO, liberal arts degrees outnumber business degrees by about 4:1, somewhat higher than PSU's 3.5:1. The point is, there is no appreciable difference in the proportions of types of degrees across our institutions, except for programs that don't exist at a particular place.

Actually reader the survey does come from an assumption the person taking it agrees with and likes street "art".

Jack (or anyone so inclined):

If you're feeling vengeful, you might want to report the individual (and the University) for the code violation of pasting a flyer on the street light.

There's a distinction between street art and graffiti that I see gets conflated by many people, mostly those who are pro-graffiti.

Graffiti is the illegal act of defacing someone's property, public and private.

Street art is of the same cut, just approved by the property owner.

I don't take issue with business owners (i.e., actual owners of the building, not tenants) allowing the painting of their building so as long as it gets reasonable public input.

Seeing other city's graffiti, I have to say that Portland's is some of the worst in terms of quality. I mean, it's bad.

But hey, I'm not a sociologist who's an apparent expert on art like this individual, so I must be ignorant of this topic.

I tried to comment on the post, but quickly got blocked by the personal info.

Ironic how the Internet started out as a libertarian free-for-all but instead quickly degenerated into an Orwellian experience.

This was probably next to the "Keep the Streetcar Free" posters I've seen popping up around PSU (but make the bus riders pay for the "free" Streetcar rides).

Thanks Gardner but my memory is still that at a meeting she did not apologize. Maybe she did later. Then again the operative words are "my memory."


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