Spray It, Don’t Say It

January 6, 2009 Published in the February 2008 issue of Seattle Met

SEATTLE ISN’T EXACTLY what you’d call graffiti-friendly. Take a look at our graffiti policies. The city established a 24-hour hotline to report graffiti, provides free paint to cover it, and awards citizens $1,000 grants for ideas to rid our streets of the stuff. Heck, we’d probably have renowned British graffiti artist Banksy run out of town on the hood of a Prius to nowhere if he ever so much as shook an aerosol can around here.

But while officials are busy demonizing an art form, folks in Georgetown are giving graffiti the respect it deserves. Check out the wall at Fourth Avenue South and South Michigan Street, where 14 of the city’s best graffiti artists covered 160 feet of concrete with koi, dragons, the bust of Socrates, and a deer leaping out of the wall.

The collective took on the project (after securing permission from the owner of the building, a sign-painting company) to help change misconceptions. “There is so much more to it than vandalism and gang graffiti,” says Daniel Kogita, who goes by the handle King Khazm.

Adds fellow artist Jeff Jacobson, “Hopefully we can put something else with this much impact closer to downtown.”

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