Taggers on the silver screen?

The owner of the Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company is considering showing the names and mug shots of vandals on the big screen as part of a campaign by local businesses to fight graffiti.

At a December meeting at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce dealing with downtown issues like graffiti, panhandling and litter, Asheville Pizza owner Mike Rangel said he would consider showing the photos and names of arrested graffiti vandals before movies at hs Merrimon Avenue cinema.

“It’s definitely something we’ve been kicking around,” Rangel told Xpress.

Rangel is not yet prepared to take the step though, saying it is important for his and other businesses to form a coalition to fight graffiti. A big step might be an agreement from theaters and other businesses to ban anyone caught tagging buildings. “So they know that, if they get arrested, they are no longer welcome,” Rangel said.

Meanwhile, the chamber is putting together a follow-up meeting, possibly by the end of the month, and hoping for more involvement from area merchants. Another idea floated in December was the distribution of brochures with the pictures of arrested vandals so business owners would know who to look for — and to make it easier to stop them at the door.

“If the community is moving in that direction, we would definitely bring that to the table,” Rangel told Xpress.

According to the minutes of the meeting, getting local businesses involved is only part of a larger scheme as well. Other strategies include putting pressure on taggers through their schools and in the courts and to work out some sort of system to quickly clean up graffiti.

Brian Postelle, staff writer


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20 thoughts on “Taggers on the silver screen?

  1. Thomas

    The tag in the photo looks pretty good, actually. But not, I’m sure, to the owner of the building to which it was applied. That’s the dilemma of graffiti art.

    I wonder if there is a way to create a public art project for graffiti artists to paint on designated spots? These walls could be refreshed periodically by painting them a solid color — after having first been photographed and archived for posterity.

    Hm, maybe the job of painting them blank could be designated community service for vandals arrested for tagging non-designated locations.

  2. Piffy!

    “Designated graffiti walls” are always seriously lame. That idea is not new. It is boring. Why cant people just accept that graffiti is going to exist? Especially in a nation where arts programs are one of the first to be cut in public schools.

    You cant get rid of Graffiti. Just stop trying.

    Also, Gosh Durnit, stop calling a “piece” or a “Throw-up” a freaking tag!!! Seriously.

  3. good graffiti is sweet

    Honestly, very cool to see what tags are around lately. Maybe they could just show the mug shots of those who have ugly tags?

  4. zen

    It’s a good idea, Thomas. Channel the energy of people who really feel the need to communicate in this way.

  5. dave

    the above image is either a “piece” or a “throw-up”, but certainly not a “tag.”

  6. September Girl

    If you own a business or have restored a historic building or have installed a piece of sculpture, then graffiti is just crime. The solution is to paint over or clean off the “tag” within 24 hours.

    The solution is to lobby for and donate to arts programs. And vote for candidates who support arts in schools.

    Murals are great ideas, but random tagging is ugly and often tied to gang territory.

  7. LOKEL

    I do not think that posting the photos of the “alleged” taggers will be a deterrent …. these “artistes” want to be known for their work (that is why many sign them with a “tag”), and would probably consider it as advertising or a complement!

  8. Patrick

    Taggers are LOSERS! Wait till you are old enough to own property, then have some little punk like you deface it, see if you like tagging, btw gay term, then.

  9. brebro

    That’s true. That kind of public exposure works better for “Johns” caught with prostitutes rather than taggers who only work surreptitiously to avoid being arrested. If they are already arrested, then showing who they are after the fact is probably not going to faze them, they would most likely welcome the notoriety. No, I think a simple index finger amputation for a first offense, entire hand whacking for a second infraction would suffice.

  10. Reality Check

    Here, here Patrick! Let’s not coddle the vandals. They are defacing private property. Those that work hard to own and operate a piece of property have every right to be very upset when someone defaces it.

    I have to agree though that the vandals won’t be deterred by the mug shot showings. Modern kids are all about fame for any reason … not like the old days where notoriety for criminal or other ‘stupid’ actions was a disgrace to the perp and relatives.

  11. I agree that giving that kind of exposure to vandals masquerading as artists is the wrong approach. There are so many artists here trying to get a foothold in an oversaturated scene. Why make infamy via criminal acts a way to gain that kind of notoriety?

    I think the penalties for vandalism should be increased exponentially. Like the size of my college loan, for example. Put an albatross like that around the neck of someone painting on public properties, and find the means to tie that debt to their social security number so they can never escape it. Let the potential of not paying the debt interfere with car purchases, credit card acquisition, etc.

    Let the vandals know loud and clear that when caught, they are going to owe like $25,000 or more like the college graduates trying to figure out how to pay on that for 25 years. And then you will see people stop painting on other people’s stuff.

  12. Reality Check

    When that boy got caught in Singapore a few years ago and they ‘caned’ him, many ‘on the street’ interviews about that story revealed that caning was a significant deterrent to that type of crime. If I recall correctly, it was a crime involving spray paint. How about it?

  13. elaine shade

    idiots who paints graffiti on other peoples property should be made to clean all the graffiti off of all the buildings. they should deface their own home.


  14. Piffy!

    Jason Martin, you think a $25,000 fine for petty crime is reasonable? Wow! Just because your bitter about your own self-obtained debt? I mean, punish the crime, sure, but that fine is higher than some major crimes. Get a little perspective, huh?

  15. Graffiti wont stop because you dont like it

    There are many city approved structures i can think of downtown, that are much uglier than any decent graffiti that happens to make its way to the walls. I think the ugly graffiti artists should be punished for lack of skill and imagination.You want an artistic community, but then complain about the side effects?
    its too bad the artists dont focus theyre works onto more appropriate surfaces, like public offices, government buildings and those god awful billboards advertising the mountain top communities. Come to think of it, if i was a graffiti artist, i would be hitting Biltmore Village on the regular.
    The major problem downtown isnt misplaced graffiti, its misplaced people begging for handouts. Someone needs to step in and clean that problem up Rudy Guliani style, that will help the business downtown more than fining an artist who couldnt possibly afford the fine.

  16. bad art

    Most graffiti is ugly and unimaginitive. And these people should be fined for lack of talent and skill. In Asheville, the graffiti is rarely beautifull. What I’ve seen around here is not art.

  17. doughnut gangster

    the picture w/ the article isn’t from asheville

    some of the people arrested in asheville for damage to property (graffiti) were not convicted and were dismissed of all charges yet still their faces have been published in papers and posted online,

    the brew and view should get some new seats

    accurate information^^^^^^

    some people should be fined for, voicing ignorant opinions


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