Late Saturday night, as I was waiting for the bus back to Treasure Island, a young tagger sat down next to me and introduced himself as Ben. He pointed out some sloppy graffitti on a nearby wall, and I agreed it was ugly. He pointed to 3 other walls and showed me his work, explaining that he recognized some nearby artwork from his network of taggers from all over the country. I didn’t realize some taggers were a nomadic sort, that left their marks in different cities. As we were talking, he left his mark on the curb next to us in yellow paint. He added extra to this mark, the name Chris with an arrow pointing to me! (picture). He talked about tagging like it was a noble cause…making marks on the walls that people build to protect their money, like fortune is something that should be shared and not hoarded.

I was watching an episode of COPS the other day where they arrested this preppy kid for graffitti. They asked him, how would you feel if someome came and wrote all over your parents’ house like this? He didn’t really have a good answer.

There was an aire of freeloading about the tagger I met. He admitted that he and the taggers he knows are like gypsies and thieves. He was wondering if he could find an abandoned building on the island with grid electricity so he could grow pot in it. Drugs are an easy way to make money, if you have nothing to lose by getting caught.

I have to admit that I think some graffitti is beautiful & artistic, but I disagree with the communist undertones, and with the idea that no one should own property. There must be a happy medium. I know of a European country where you may own property, but everyone can enjoy it. For instance, you could go have a picnic in a farmer’s field and it wouldn’t be considered trespassing. That takes a certain amount of trust, but that may just be what this country needs.