New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
Eurotrash making marks on subways
BY PETE DONOHUE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, December 10th, 2006
Subway graffiti is back - and Europeans are to blame.
Most of the major graffiti attacks on trains are being carried out by twentysomething Europeans who want to leave their marks where the graffiti culture was born, experts said.
They come from Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Denmark and Norway to spray-paint their murals and elaborate tags - called "pieces" - on trains, fully aware that the Transit Authority will scrub them clean within hours.
The Euro-taggers don't care that New Yorkers won't see their work on the rails: their main goal is to take photographs and videos of their handiwork to bolster their reputations on the other side of the Atlantic.
"The majority of the heavy graffiti is being done by foreigners," said recently retired NYPD Transit Bureau Lt. Steven Mona, who until September 2005 was the commanding officer of the Citywide Vandals Task Force.
"We've always had foreigners, but in the last five years we've seen an increase."
When Mona and his team reviewed last year's graffiti hits, they estimated that 70% were carried out by Europeans.
That includes the graffiti group "MOAS," or Monsters of Art Scandinavia, which painted its initials on trains stored on "layup" tracks on Utica Ave. in Brooklyn.
Another tag spotted on a train hit on Utica Ave., "Biser," is identified on the Internet as being from Germany.
The NYPD wouldn't reveal the nationalities of arrested graffiti vandals. But another expert said the phenomenon is well-known.
Sgt. Bobby Barrow, who retired from the squad last year after nearly two decades in the Transit Bureau, agreed the bulk of the big hits are being done by tourists whose idea of a vacation is slinking around the city's tunnels and desolate railyards.
"There's a huge subculture to this," Barrow said.
Lady Pink, who started spray-painting trains in the 1980s and became the city's most famous female graffiti writer, said New Yorkers are bored with tagging trains.
"Painting to take a photograph, for us who live here, is kind of the wussy way out," she said. "The point is to have it run [on the tracks and be seen]."
In 2002, a 24-year-old man from Poland and a 25-year-old German were caught with cans of spray paint and a videotape showing each defacing subway cars.
The two men spent short stints in jail but were released. They never showed up at their next court appearance.
"New York City is not a Disneyland for vacationing Euro-vandals," said Queens City Councilman Peter Vallone, chairman of the Public Safety Committee. "Judges need to send a message by setting bail at arraignment."
The Daily News reported last week that subway graffiti has taken off this year, with vandals heavily tagging and scratching 162 cars - more than triple the number defiled in 2004.
The 162 subway cars each required at least eight hours of cleaning or repairs, according to the TA, which classifies each incident as a "major hit," including spray-painting train exteriors or scratching drivel onto train windows.
So... is graffiti as art really that dead in US? it's very much alive on europe.
and none of that "how is this music related"-bs, this is HIPHOP.