His job: Tagging the taggers
Terick Mastroianni is halfway through the Grand Graffiti Tour of Hamilton.
He’s a seriously snap-happy “tourist,” committed to photographing as much illegal artwork on city-owned property as possible.
No ward is too rural. No alley too dark. No hastily scrawled “tag” too small.
“You don’t realize how much graffiti is actually out there until you start looking,” said the city summer student, who admitted he was skeptical about the gig before his “graffiti-mobile” sedan got rolling in early July. “Now I think it’s lucky that I enjoy driving so much.”
By September, the 20-year-old will have documented graffiti in every ward in the city, logging pictures, sites and descriptions on a master cleanup list for public works crews.
Mastroianni is just one new weapon the city is busting out this summer from a growing anti-aerosol arsenal: It’s also fighting back with bylaw blitzes, police crackdowns, tree-planting — and even more paint, in the form of “positive” graffiti and murals.
The flurry of activity was spurred by a $30,000 “graffiti audit” last year that staff have used to create a new strategy to battle the freelance painting problem, said clean and green program co-ordinator Phil Homerski.
That audit by B.C.-based MGM Management identified 50 of the most “intense” graffiti problem areas in the old city — the majority in wards 2 and 3, particularly in neighbourhoods around the Pan Am precinct.
It also showed 10 prolific taggers are responsible for close to 30 per cent of all identifiable tags.
Despite the audit, it’s hard to quantify how bad graffiti really is in Hamilton.
Hamilton police say reported graffiti incidents have dropped between 2009 and 2013. Between January and May this year, they’ve responded to 46 graffiti reports compared to 70 during the same time period last year. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
Yo! A special shout out to my hommeys (hommies?) at Graffiticreator.net and their wicked graffiti generator which made the awesome graffiti in today’s cartoon a possibility.