The guys from 612 Authentic did a ride-along with me on a recent graffiti removal adventure and turned out the following video for MinnPost (you can go full-screen with the video by clicking the square icon in the lower-right after starting the video):
Here are a few “behind the scenes” comments:
1. Gabe & Jacob were going green. Their office is in the Longfellow neighborhood and they walked over before the shoot.
2. Yes, there is an extension cord running from the back of my car to under the hood. The paint sprayer uses a lot of juice. I’ve used previous models that weren’t as robust. Those could be run off smaller (400 watt) power inverters hooked up to the cigarette lighter, but the compressor based model requires a 1200 watt power inverter and that needs to run directly off the car battery.
3. Do building owners know you’re doing this? No. I don’t ask. Occasionally, a business owner will see me painting on their building and to date they’ve all given me similar responses: “I was just going to paint over that today.” They also assume I’m with the city and that they’ll be assessed for the clean-up. I don’t color-match, so they still have plenty of opportunities to take pride in their property. I think some of the challenges come from businesses who are leasing their spaces. They don’t seem to want to hassle their landlords. This leads to calls to the city with graffiti complaints (call it in to 311). The city then sends someone out to document it, then sends a nastygram to the property owner telling them to clean it up. I believe they have 10 days to do so at that point or they’ll face fines. In high graffiti areas, this policy pretty much ensures that walls will be covered unless someone steps up and paints them (or, better yet, a mural is put up).
4. Where were you in the video? I picked up paint at Paint Liquidators (3869 Minnehaha Ave Minneapolis, MN 55406) then rolled down 38th Street East and hit a few walls between Cedar & 35W. I came back on Lake Street and hit quite a few tags in the alleys on either side of Lake between 35W and Chicago.
5. What about murals? Murals help A LOT. There are many walls on E Lake Street that used to get hit all the time near South HS. They now have murals, so it’s very rare to see graffiti on the wall of a business between Hiawatha and Cedar. There are a few walls that could still benefit from murals. It’s pretty obvious which ones need them.
6. Why was I pushing my car in the opening scene? A wall in an alley to the South of Lake Street near the Taco Bell has a ton of large tags on it. I just rolled the car forward rather than turn it on to drive it 30 feet. It’s an eco-friendly touch to counter spraying latex all over town.
7. What kind of gear are you using? A Wagner Paint Crew Sprayer (Minnesota based company) (available at Menards but cheaper online), a 1200 Watt Power Inverter (available at AutoZone on E Lake St), an extension cord, and paint.
Update: There is a predictably polarized discussion of my antics on MNSpeak worth checking out.