Thursday, July 29, 2010

Alex Hoff Seeks Out The Brilliant Street Artistry Of The Graffiti Tagger Known As "SHOCK"--Sarcasm Font! (Summer Visitation 2010)

Blog post and photos by John Hoff,
unless photo is otherwise specified

Recently, I was writing about the prolific graffiti vandal known as "SHOCK" and how graffiti vandals use social networking to document their acts on the internet...and how their use of social networking is so extensive that if authorities really WANTED to find the pathetic suburban emos responsible for graffiti, it wouldn't be very difficult. See, for example, the video above which some commenter on this blog drew to my attention.

I wasn't quite through picking on "SHOCK," though, and I thought I'd continue my critique of him...

On the last weekend I spent with my son, Alex, during our 5 weeks of summer visitation, we went on a little excursion to random places and I told Alex, "Keep an eye out for SHOCK's tag. I need a picture."

My son always takes these "lookout" missions seriously, at least when he thinks the mission is fun and he's into it, like when we go on "shoe patrol." Alex will watch intently for something and not break his watchfulness until that thing is found. So it wasn't very long before he found SHOCK's tags, including the one pictured above.


Tell me how this is art. Tell me how this is meaningful. This overgrown child scribbles his self-inflicted nickname on, well, everything. Currently, he is (quite arguably) the most prolific tagger in the Twin Cities. And here's why I bring that up...

The authorities have clearly made a decision to ignore taggers and concentrate on bigger crimes. And this makes economic sense. But the taggers have obviously figured out the lack of police priority, to the point they are happily documenting their crimes on the internet. So here is what I suggest:

Every year, or maybe every six months, or (during times when budgets aren't so tight) every three months, the authorities should figure out which Twin Cities tagger is both overly-prolific and well-documented on social media and GO AFTER THAT PARTICULAR TAGGER TO MAKE AN EXAMPLE OUT OF HIM. (It might be helpful if various do-gooders made a point of tracking down the identity of the taggers via social media and just present their evidence to the police, social-media vigilante style)

This will send a chill through the tagger community. They will figure out it's best not to brag about your deeds on social media. They will think, "Better not to be TOO prolific, better not to overdo things." Perhaps they'll make a tactical decision to concentrate on the rail yards and STAY AWAY FROM THE REST OF THE URBAN LANDSCAPE, the part under the control of city authorities.

Driving the taggers away from the use of social media will help break the cycle which creates taggers. Clearly, social media contains "tagger propaganda" which encourages children of about my son's age to become taggers themselves. But thank God I never have to worry about my son. I never need to think, "When I come home, will Alex be away with his tagger buddies, wearing his pants below his ass and listening to emo bands like Hawthorne Heights?"

On a happier note, here are some photos of that excursion with my son who is NOT a tagger, NOT an emo and, God willing, never will be.

Contributed photo, xoxo

Here we're at the Jimmy John's on University Ave. in St. Paul. For the past half a decade, my son has refused to eat any Jimmy John's sandwich except a plain ham 'n' cheese, no condiments.

At a small Asian deli in Frogtown, I got some cheap chicken wings, only to be surprised by some kind of noodle stuffing. How did they even get those noodles INSIDE the chicken wing? Naturally, Alex wouldn't try this dish. Actually, my son is willing to eat a small bite of almost any new and exciting food...if somebody will pay him a dollar.

Contributed photo, xoxo

We went through all kinds of Asian grocery stores, looking for cans of bugs. (Bamboo caterpillars, ant larvae, that kind of thing) I was disappointed I couldn't find any cans of bugs to resupply my collection of canned insect cuisine. We did discover, to our amazement, that chickens have paws. Who knew?
A low-cost "exotic foods excursion" never fails to turn up something interesting and amazing. Here is a can of artichoke drink. Ah, cool refreshing artichoke drink. You're probably wondering what it tastes like? Well, it tastes similar to the white fungus drink sold in the same store, only not as sweet. I prefer the white fungus.


Anonymous said...

Is there any significance to the apparent discrepancy in spelling...
"Shock" vs. "Shok"?

Johnny Northside! said...

I'm not even asserting this is the same Shock. I merely offer this video as an example of "tagger social media."

Trudrud said...

Anybody remember an old Saturday Night Live bit about taggers where they stenciled in thing like "sucks" under the tagger's name? We should make some stencils to add to the tagger's signatures. I would love to see some addition to Shock's work. How about SHOCK "is a talentless boob", or SHOCK "is a grown man who still lives in his mom's basement and collects star wars toys".
I like graffiti art, but shock isn't a good artist. What makes me sad is that somebody removed the graffiti painting of the cellist that was sprayed on the Washington Ave side of the Gateway Parking ramp. I really liked that piece for the brief time it existed. Shock, take a lesson from that artist -learn some technique and get some talent. Then learn how to do more than sign your super-cool, extra-awesome, sure-to-impress-the-ladies self-applied name onto stuff that isn't yours.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Hey now, Tudrud, what's wrong with collecting Star Wars toys?

veg*nation said...

lol--and what's wrong with emos?! i wouldn't mind graffiti of hip, sarcastic anime characters, but yeah, this stuff is deeePRESSing. :)

Twin Cities Brightest said...

First of all you sound very ignorant. What, you read three articles online recently and copy pasted what they said graffiti writers look like and do? How do you know what shock's goals and life dreams are? How dare you comment on an art form you clearly don't understand. You aren't an art critic, and certainly not for graffiti.

And as far as your son goes, looks like he the kid who will play with star wars action figures and be living in your basement till age 30.

Oh and to the most relevant point, you didn't even compare and contrast your original point which was linking shock and the social networking sites together? The video you show if from years ago, do you have any other verification that shock is being to prolific in his internet posting? NO.

Weather you understand or not, you can't deny that shock is more famous in this city then you, me, and most other people and he got there for free and that makes him a super hero.

Anonymous said...

Shock is an ass clown of the highest order.

Anonymous said...

eats it

Anonymous said...

Writing your name in big letters on boxcars and under bridges is the lowest form of "art" imaginable.

Keep living the dream!

Johnny Northside! said...

Yesterday I called in some of SHOCK's graffiti on the West Bank.

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with NOMI and I do not expect it to be covered here. If MLK has nothing to do with NOMI neight does this.

Johnny Northside! said...

I think you meant to type "neither" in your last comment. You appear to be the same "can't type for crap" commenter who has popped up on some other threads and has a fixation with whether this blog should cover the dog park issue in MLK park in another neighborhood.

As I stated before, that issue has plenty of coverage from other media and, at this point, I feel my covering it would be redundant. As for this story about my son: I often write about how affordable housing in North Minneapolis has allowed me the stability to live near my son--even though he lives in an affluent suburb I can't afford. This post is an example of that.

The bigger issue of graffiti and how it impacts the whole city, and focusing on one prolific tagger in particular, that's just me being an extra-good citizen. If a bunch of other media were writing about the tagger known as "SHOCK" and how prolific he is, I'd probably not jump on the story.

Just like I'm not jumping on the dog park story.