Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Prolific Graffiti Vandal Known As "Shock" Taunts Property Owners, Police...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

Anybody who pays attention to graffiti in Minneapolis knows one of the most prolific current taggers uses the handle "Shock." His tags are everywhere and have been for a couple of years, now. Of course, up here in North Minneapolis we don't have a lot of graffiti because, as everybody knows, the most prolific taggers are spoiled suburban emos, and most spoiled suburban emos are afraid to set foot in North Minneapolis unless they're in a car full of friends trying to score weed.

But I consider the North Loop neighborhood to be part of the Johnny Northside Dot Com beat, and recently in North Loop I came across the following message which Shock left for a property owner who--so it appears--had repeatedly painted over graffiti.

"SAVE YOUR MONEY, I'VE GOT NOTHING BUT TIME."

Why, I wonder, can't...

...prolific graffiti vandals like Shock be caught and arrested? I mean, honestly, they hit the same spots over and over. How hard would it be to set up bear traps? (Um, cameras! I meant to say CAMERAS!)

Actually, my main beef against graffiti vandals is NOT the fact they damage property. Even though "paint overs" look ugly, the amount of actual property damage is relatively little if property owners will simply accept the fact "paint overs" are the way to handle graffiti, instead of re-painting an entire building or tediously trying to match paint.

No, my beef is the fact graffiti vandals have very little to say except their made-up names, over and over, like the Pokemon characters my kid watches, sometimes, during Saturday morning cartoons. Like, OK, your fake, made-up name is "Shock." I get it. But, um, WHY is your name is "Shock?" What is so "shocking" about you? Nothing, as far as I can see. What you do is not shocking, but pointless.

If urban graffiti artists were saying something clever or thought provoking or politically radical, then I might think, "Well, this is the only way they can scream their radical message to the world." But graffiti is saying NOTHING of value or substance, absolutely NOTHING. In all the years "Shock" has been tagging, this message on this wall is the first time I've seen him use an actual SENTENCE.

So I want to say, "Come on, Shock, don't leave us hanging, here. Use more words. Tell us what is the freaking POINT?"

On another note, the City of Minneapolis has been tolerating "vigilante graffiti abatement" of the kind practiced by Ed Kohler of The Deets blog and, to a much smaller degree, myself. (Honestly, if I'd had some spray paint in my vehicle, I would have painted over Shock's message right then and there)

I think Minneapolis should make it easier to get graffiti cleaned up by volunteers. Property owners could designate buildings troubled by graffiti as "free fire abatement zones," meaning any good citizen would be authorized to paint over graffiti without bothering to ask or consult with the owner...like I was ready to do, then and there, with Shock's little missive to the world.

Minneapolis is a city filled with citizens who are both clever and concerned. Surely there is a way to win this petty battle against angst-filled suburban emos with too much time and paint on their hands?

26 comments:

No More NOMI Graffiti said...

Hardly a way to revitalize NOMI by painting over graffiti with non-matching paint. You think this looks like a ghetto now just wait until every wall has whatever paint slapped over writing just to keep inspections from issuing the property owner a ticket.

As well why are you encouraging further acts of vandalizm by making this person well known and giving "Shock" juick in the hood.

Johnny Northside! said...

Let me re-state for you:

First, NoMi doesn't have any extensive graffiti problem, as I stated.

Second, matching paint is obviously preferred.

Third, Shock is already the most prolific tagger in the city. How is one to call bullshit out in the open without writing about it? And how does "Shock" get any "(juice) in the hood" by being called a pathetic suburban emo on my blog?

NoMi Passenger said...

check this out

http://fiveprime.org/hivemind/Tags/minneapolis,shock

Anonymous said...

Here's my man Shock
http://fiveprime.org/hivemind/Tags/minneapolis,shock

Represent my homie!

kanoyes said...

Wow, thanks Nomi Passenger, I appreciate these colorful tags much more than the standard and boring scribble tags. Shock needs to keep his stuff colorful and leave the simple black tags to the amateurs.

Colorful and bold graffiti, now one can appreciate that over the barren puke-gray landscape we are fed to tread everyday. But then it probably comes down to an all or nothing. People who want a colorful cityscape or those who would prefer
an ashen oblivion. Is there a middle ground?

Roger Waters said...

This is a tough one. on the one hand, this artist is a talented artist. on the other hand he/she hasn't any respect for private property, and that's troubling.
I'm very sympathetic b/c of the raw talent I'm seeing, but ultimately... Shock needs to find another outlet, or look for special projects sponsored by the property owners. Seeing this stuff makes me want to own a wall to donate to the effort.

Meredith said...

One thing NoMi needs more of is public art. It is a crucial part of the West Broadway Alive! plan.

Shock is a very talented artist and I must admit that I like his work. However, I can see how someone might not want graffiti on their property.

Perhaps CM Samuals and some other NoMi dignitaries can make an offer to shock to have him do some public art and thereby legitimize his work. That way shock would have his art showcased and he wouldn't be putting it places where it might not be wanted (although who wouldn't want some great public art on their property).

Johnny Northside! said...

To Meridith:

No. No. No. No. No!!!!!

NoMi may need public art, but the LAST THING WE NEED as far as "public art" is more urban dystopian bull**** like the "distorted faces" hung on banners all over West Broadway, or the "tripping cows" which festoon the side of the Kemps Dairy facility.

Shock would be a talented artist...if he were THIRTEEN. Furthermore, his bad behavior should not be rewarded with an approved venue. To this idea my response can be summarized in one word:

NO!!!!!!!!!!

You express your opinion well. And I vigorously disagree with it.

Patrick said...

Shock should be put in stocks and the public allowed to paint his face and private property.

kanoyes said...

Meredith has a good point. There are some great urban art displays in Milwaukee from homegrown artists consisting of painted/graffiti style murals.

In Duluth there are unofficially sanctioned graffiti areas. The kids let out their angst there and the rest of the city doesn't suffer. Perhaps, something similar could be done in NoMi.

Johnny Northside said...

But, once again, North Minneapolis doesn't have a major graffiti problem, EXCEPT for the periodic marking of gang territory. So if there's going to be a designated graffiti area, it doesn't need to be in my neighborhood. Shock should tell us where he is from, and then we can have it in Shock's neighborhood.

Also, I doubt if sanctioned graffiti areas keep any graffiti at all from spilling into the rest of the city.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

One of the things we've daydreamed about in Hawthorne is getting the rusty railroad tracks near Broadway Pizza painted with some kind of a mural that gives incoming/westbound traffic on Broadway a sense that they're coming to someplace special.

The two main obstacles such a proposal faces are 1) getting enough money set aside in escrow to be able to rapidly fix the mural due to real or perceived fears that a graffiti-ist would deface it, and 2) every proposal for a mural is urban dystopian bull****.

People like Shock may or may not be artists, but they certainly aren't community assets as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Shock paint with an electric anal probe where the sun doesn't shine. I catch you in my neighborhood and we'll be using your paint for lube.

Anonymous said...

Lol I know shock he's painted all over the usa and europ he is not an emo kid from the burbs he is a very local twin cities artist, clever sayings like the one in the picture are directed tward the city. It makes me sick when a graffiti writer paints his/her name on a rooftop or streetside and it gets painted over(not tlking about tags but beautiful peices with lots of color). Don't u all in north want something cool to look at aposed to crack dealers n such..

Johnny Northside! said...

We want law, order, and respect for property. We'll deal with any crackheads on our own with no help needed from your emo friend, Shock, who you say you know but, really, I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Graffiti is NOT ART!!! Quit trying to glamorize this over-aged punks hobby. If "shock" had any confidence or courage he would present his work in a positive way. So far all I see is garbage that needs to be cleaned up. As for his message to the city, they aren't the ones who pay for it, WE ARE. So if you think "shock's" work is worth a couple bucks then just pay him to spray paint all over your own house/garage, but don't encourage him to keep spreading his garbage on private homes or businesses.

Gilbert said...

Obama provides Predator drones free of charge for foreign nations to which we bring precious freedom. Why can't we have drones to at least monitor the streets in NoMi? If necessary, the drone could have bombs to prevent killings.

NoMi Passenger said...

John, I don't know why you even publish stupid troll comments like Gilberts.

And Gilbert-troll, I don't know why you think we can't tell your stupid comment is fake and artificial and calculated. But, so glad you have dedicated your precious time to monitoring every single word going up on this (and other) blog(s). I can't imagine anything better for you to do. I mean, it's not like life is finite or anything. Don't worry about creating your own. Better to just keep devoting it to John Hoff.

Marjorie said...

Gilbert may be a troll but NoMi definitely needs more cameras. Did I say CAMERAS?

Stationary cameras would be nice, but if the MPD had mobile cameras the size of hummingbirds that could whiz around and keep an eye on the thugs or look inside of abandoned properties crime could really be diminished.

Anonymous said...

I think if everyone devoted their life to John Hoff the world would be a far better place.

Unconcerned Citizen said...

I would like thank Shock for making my drive to work every morning a little bit more interesting. I love seeing his tags. I saw one of his pieces in Barcelona Spain a while back and have been a fan ever since. How many other mpls artists can you say that about? And Mr Johnny Northside all these blogs do is make ppl want to go out and crush more walls. Don't get me wrong I see where you're coming from but your blogs do nothing but give the mpls graff writing community a good laugh.. so in a way thanks

Anonymous said...

this is hilarious. NoMi is clearly very disconnected from his city to think he knows that there isn't much graff in north. Also, none of the graff is nearly as "emo" as this entire post. Cry me a f***ing river. Welcome to urban life hombre.

Anonymous said...

It took the anonymous contributor at 2:03 only seventeen months to respond to the article. That is a new record, ladies and germs. I take it you were busy huffing your preferred product. Don't use your own shit, Man!!!!! You'll never make any money!!!

Anonymous said...

Having been an urban explorer in the area for a few years and having run into many graffiti "artists" while they are in the act. I can assure everyone that they are children, aged 14-20. Legitimate and mature artists perhaps started with graffiti but have certainly moved beyond the childish practice of p_ssing your mark onto your neighbors property.

I also suspect that the "friend" of shock was actually shock himself, scouring the net to see who is talking about him.

Anonymous said...

U are a fuckin douche bah johnny northside. Get out of my fuckin city. Ill be thinking of you as I hit broadway tonight... I think my "handle" will be your name tonight.

Anonymous said...

Your a fucking idiot Johnny northside. If all you see is the writing on the wall then it's people like you who push vandals to keep painting.