Graffiti is a very controversial subject right now. Some people see it as a beautiful and expressive new form of art, while others see it as mindless vandalism. While it is reasonable for most building owners to want their property to remain clean, the subject is far more murky when the graffiti occurs in an abandoned or unowned area. One street artist based in London started an experiment on an old brick building that turned into a year long battle between him and municipal authorities.
Mobstr is a street artist known for his sarcastic themes and clean graffiti style, who documents his works on his website. The building that was the site of this graffiti war was a brick building with one small section of the building painted a faded red. Mobster explained that “I cycled past this wall on the way to work for years. I noticed that graffiti painted within the red area was ‘buffed’ with red paint. However, graffiti outside of the red area would be removed via pressure washing. This prompted the start of an experiment. Unlike other works, I was very uncertain as to what results it would yield.”
The battle between Mobstr and a city worker who was determined that the building look tidy was captured through a series of images. Though Mobstr was the primary painter, he occasionally was joined by a few of the other graffiti artists within the area. It started out simply enough, with Mobstr painting the phrase “RED” on the lower, left hand corner of the red wall. It was quickly covered up with a blotch of dark red paint.
He continued to write the phrase “RED” on various parts of the red wall, and other artists within the area would also add works on the rest of the building. Each time, the red part of the wall was painted, and the brick part of the wall and the metal doors would be pressure washed. Then Mobstr took it up a notch, and painted “RED” on the brick part of the wall, just above the red area, and that was washed off instead of being covered up.
Mobstr decided to see whether the building was washed every time it was painted. He wrote “PRESSURE WASH” on the brick, and “PAINT RED” on the red wall. The “PAINT RED” was covered up, but it took so long for the worker to pressure wash off the “PRESSURE WASH” graffiti, that Mobster had to add a message asking “WHAT ABOUT THIS?” on the red part of the wall.
The worker responded by painting the red wall, and going above the red line to paint over the “PRESSURE WASH” message. Mobstr then taunted the cleaner by writing “YOU WENT ABOVE THE LINE” on the newly red area of the wall, and adding “RED?” on the brick part of the wall. The brick was pressure washed again, and once again, Mobstr added “PRESSURE WASH” and “PAINT RED” to the building.
The worker was clearly fed up with repeatedly cleaning the building, so he decided to paint the entire building red instead. Mobstr got the last laugh though, as he painted “Well that’s one way to end it. Thanks mate, it’s been fun” across the building.” And that was the end of the graffiti war. Watch the video here to see the hilarious interchange for yourself.