Graffiti shot at Heppenstall, a defunct steel mill located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh
I was flipping through the Post Gazette and ran across this article about a tagger that was arrested and fined for his graffiti at $560,764.50 in property damages. Two points in the article are very interesting. Daniel Montano has a home here and in San Francisco. The other? To quote --
Only 50 percent of graffiti is reported in Pittsburgh. For years, the city was considered a blank slate for many in U.S. graffiti community. Enforcement was considered weak and the abundance of vacant warehouses and cramped hidden alleyways -- many of them in the Strip District -- offered a canvas for many miscreants wielding a spray can.
The Heppenstall complex and the Armstrong Cork buildings are both within walking distance of my home. I have visited both on several occasions. The Armstrong Cork building has been renovated and is now a loft and business complex. It has been getting more and more difficult to get into the Heppenstall complex. Recently, I noticed bulldozers on the site and there has been talk about turning the five or six block strip into a mixed usage complex. Both sites have been well-documented from deterioration to the proliferatrion of graffiti.
There is a huge divide of perception of grafitti, even among those that follow and create it. Most taggers seem to find havens, like these abandoned buildings, to express their creative energy. Some use whatever blank wall is available. I am of the former philosophy, believing that there are enough abandoned buildings to provide blank canvases that taggers can utilize without intruding on vital and operating properties.