A powerful Chicago alderman is stepping up his campaign to use public art to combat crime and graffiti — by turning a two-mile wall beneath the railroad tracks that bisect his ward into a giant canvas.
Completed Graffiti Removal Requests
- 2008: 172,197
- 2009: 172,989
- 2010: 161,336
- 2011: 137,459
- 2012*: 64,000
*Through July 30
Source: Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation
Budget Cuts and effects on people.
- City Hall’s budget cuts have hit the graffiti-removal program, eliminating nearly a third of the workers who scoured Chicago to clean public and private property spray painted by gang-bangers and taggers marking their turf.
- And business owners have taken notice.
- “It’s absolutely horrible,” says Arnie Wulfstat, who’s been waiting nearly two weeks for the city to remove the graffiti someone painted on the side of his building at 1259 N. Milwaukee.
- “I’ve called the city,” he says. “They used to come out within a week. Instead of cutting back, they should add to it.”
- The “graffiti blasters” program — one of Daley’s pet projects to beautify Chicago by providing free graffiti removal to homeowners and businesses — has been cut 25 percent this year, down to $4.1 million. It has 49 employees, 23 fewer than last year.
Video of Graffiti Removal
“When you tag do you tag so everyone can see it or do you just do it where you won’t get caught?”
Date: So EVERYONE sees my work. Right on the street sometimes.
“How do police go about stopping you? And if you had a legal place to do it would you strictly do it there?”
Date: Sometimes they start individual investigations. They investigated me from one of my pieces in my neighborhood from seeing it on camera.
They had pic of my face and my graffiti and were going into stores asking if I came in often. My barber told me. No I have a couple of legal walls I can go to but it’s different from illegal graffiti. It feels different”
“Are you mainly doing it for the fame or the rush?”
Date: Little bit of both.
“What’s your typical day like when you go tag? What time do you go?”
Date: I usually just go out and do my normal night. I just bring paint then once I leave a party for the night I’ll paint on my way home.
“Any specific time period to avoid people seeing you?”
Date: Usually Sunday-Thursday anywhere from 12-5am or 6am sometimes. Sometimes I’ll be painting while the sun comes up.