Graffiti War Brewing In St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - There`s a graffiti war brewing in St. Louis. One victim was so fed up, he spray-painted vulgar responses right on the graffiti. He got the idea from an old Saturday Night Live skit, in which former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani walked around with police, painting the word 'sucks' under the "tags" or signatures graffiti vandals put on their works.

"Whoever did this did a great job," said Jeff Lockheed, looking at graffiti painted on his home in the past week or two.

Lockeed is the longtime owner of the very artistically 'in-tune' Venice Café bar in South St. Louis.
He`s an artist himself. He sees talent in the graffiti, just not on his or anyone else`s home or business.

"I wasn't alone. It was all along this whole street. Graffiti breeds graffiti. This thing grows. It can't stop," he said of the recent outbreak. "These kids are just trying to express themselves. I'm all for that. I'm that person myself to do other people`s property, to screw up other people's properties I think is off the charts, out of balance."

He was so furious, he responded with insults right below the vandals "tags" or signatures; like the vandal who's been painting what appears to be variation of Angry Birds, using the tag "brrr 2buck".
Another sloppy job on the front of his home drew his harshest response, albeit in chalk.
"All I could find is chalk," he laughed.

He wrote in response: "Whoever did this to my building, 'f' you !" he said.

The Brightside St. Louis organization prides itself on projects like its demonstration garden near Tower Grove Park, which highlights native Missouri plants and features giant butterfly and cone flower sculptures.

Brightside`s duties also include getting rid of graffiti; which takes a full time staff and around $300,00-a-year, just to keep up.

The money comes from a federal grant that would otherwise go toward beautification projects like trash cleanup blitzes, public planting efforts, and things like the demonstration garden.

Brightside staff doesn't endorse Lockheed`s harsh responses, but they certainly understand.
"There is some artistic talent," in some of the graffiti, said Brightside St. Louis Executive Director, Mary Lou Green. "[But] when you use it for vandalism and you cause thousands and thousands of dollars worth of damage, then all of that artistic skill that you have is just wasted; you're affecting other people`s lives in a negative way, that is just a shame. It`s just a shame that you`re using your artistic talent like that."

If you're a tagging victim in St. Louis, report it to Brightside at 314-772-4646, or http://www.brightsidestl.org/.
Green said the staff would have it gone within days, in most cases.

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