The Globe and Mail ran this piece today about grafitti's cost to businesses across Canada. In Calgary alone, it costs business $10M a year. But the graffiti-removal business is booming. I'm not so concerned about the business cost, just the aesthetic cost to our neighbourhoods.
Just to be clear: I'm not talking about murals; they're fine. It's those cryptic little squiggles that adorn every square inch of blank wall, every stop sign, every Canada Post pickup box, every Hydro panel, etc., etc. This is not art. This is mindless, obnoxious idiocy.
In Toronto, the city fines businesses if they do not remove graffiti from their property. This is unreasonable because 1) it doesn't work; and 2) the City's own property (park benches, park signs, stop signs, etc.) is covered in tags, and Toronto hasn't done much to keep on top of this. Clean up your own tags first, then bust the businesss owners!
The theory is, if you remove it right away, the little shits will be discouraged and won't do it again. Alas, this is not so. The elementary school in our neighbourhood is bombarded with tags all the time. The janitor vigilantly removes every tag within a day of its appearance, but the tags are newly applied the next night. So keeping the walls clean doesn't work.
The National Post did this multimedia piece before Christmas (scroll down to "Let Us Spray" and click on link). The video tries to be an "edgy", closeup look at at a "graffiti artist" as he "works". The interviewee claims that he grew up poor so he had no voice, but graffiti let him find his voice. Most of the taggers in our neighbourhood are from comfortable homes, so they can't use that excuse. I just hope the little snots grow out of the urge to tag, and soon.