Neighbourhood markings

Today’s walk began with the discovery that we have a budding Franz Kline in our local tagger pool. His markings mock the post office’s attempt to defeat graffiti defacers by defacing themselves first.


The rest of the tags in the picture are within 20 metres of that post box. Better weather seems to bring out the nocturnal spray cans.

Local business associations organize in their marking efforts, hopefully branding street signs to lure tourist dollars.


Publicly sanctioned murals are another attempt to define neighbourhoods. This one is on the Beach Hill GO train underpass. The theory is that taggers will not deface the work of street artists they respect. Sometimes it seems true for a while, but not always and not for long.


My walk took me through the local ravine and inspired enough photos for a slide show (above), but I spotted a plaque there, that I’d never noticed before. Another marking.


The white stuff may have been left by chalk or by birds, leaving the words hard to read, so here they are:

In memory of William Williamson (1857 – 1949) manufacturer, builder, alderman and Justice of the Peace who contributed much to the life of the City.

This land was donated by his family.

To come full circle, and back to the first kind of markings, I observe that stealthy autographeurs are well aware of silos of authority that they can use to their advantage. Some surfaces will last longer than others. Here’s a prize example … an almost immortal art surface … because city clean-up crews have no jurisdiction over railway lands.


Hydro poles are also good for long tag life. The city doesn’t clean them and Toronto Hydro leaves them alone. Stores, on the other hand, are short-life because shopkeepers are fined if they don’t remove graffiti quickly.


Tokyo is a pure opportunist. He’ll take his place on a public message board, a hydro pole or roadside retaining wall. He’s a hard worker, too. If city crews scrub him and a location is highly visible, Tokyo will be back, PDQ.

Oface is still busy around here, but he must be getting pretty long in the tooth. A new guy, JACK, has appeared but “Jack”? Nobody is using “Snot” or “Puke” or “Wartz” or “Weasel”. Just “Jack”? I don’t see a big future for him.