A Different Take On Golden’s Anti Graffiti Campaign

Bad old days. What subway trains looked like in 1979.

The Brooklyn Ink recently interviewed one Bay Ridge artist who thinks Senator Golden’s campaign to “shame” graffiti writers on Facebook may backfire on him.

The news blog caught up with Michael McLeer aka Kaves – whose fame includes creating rap and rock tracks with his group Lordz of Brooklyn (now known as the Lordz), as well as a successful tattoo business – at the Hell’s Kitchen launch party for his latest piece, one that will grace the label of Beaujolais Nouveau from distinguished winemaker Georges Duboeuf.

Kaves is also planning on traveling to Los Angeles in January to work on a painting for an art show organized by the heavy metal group Metallica. He traces his current legit career path back to being a ten-year-old graffiti bomber in 1980’s Bay Ridge.

McLeer thinks that by posting their work on Facebook, Golden could merely be feeding into the young taggers’ appetites for infamy.

From Brooklyn Ink:

“The reason why kids get an adrenaline rush doing graffiti is because they are looking for some sort of notoriety, some sort of fame,” Kaves explains. “They [the Senator’s office] don’t understand… the more notoriety the kids get, the more amped up they get that they got their names on the most wanted list!”

Kaves goes on to say that the senator might be more successful in finding legal avenues for young graffiti vandals to use their talents; such as graffiti parks or internships. He offered his services in helping the Senator find a different outlet for the graffiti writers’ youthful exuberance and creativity – even suggesting an apprenticeship at his neighborhood tattoo parlor Brooklyn Made Tattoos (312 93rd Street), a storefront that has ironically been one of the targets of the recent graffiti.

It seems in this local front in the culture wars, beauty may be in the eye of the beholder.

“I went from being a Bay Ridge kid writing my name on a handball court to becoming the first American to paint his graffiti on a most prestigious, celebrated wine bottle,” Kaves told Brooklyn Ink. “However, in my neighborhood, they look at my wine label and call it ghetto.”

What do you think is the answer to curbing graffiti in Bay Ridge? Would graffiti art programs and special internships unjustly coddle criminals?

What about Golden’s current Facebook campaign? Do you think it will just encourage more graffiti?