The Gray Ghost of New Orleans



Street artist Banksy visited New Orleans in 2008, decorating various buildings with his distinctive paintings. He encountered an enemy who became known as the Gray Ghost.
Fred Radtke made it his mission to erase every bit of graffiti in the city long before Banksy’s arrival, sweeping down the street with his paint roller in hand. The anti-street-art crusader passed quietly through each neighborhood, obliterating all traces of spray paint with his own signature splotches of gray – hence his nickname. Some locals celebrated his dedication to keeping New Orleans clean, while others decried his assault against free expression.

The Gray Ghost upset some property owners because an original Banksy work increases the value of a building considerably. Banksy responded by incorporating the Gray Ghost in some of his works. The battle with the Gray Ghost eventually came to an end in court, but today only one original Banksy image remains in New Orleans. Link -via Rue the Day

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I'm from Seattle, which I suppose is artsy. I haven't been to a ton of major cities, but maybe that's one reason I really love graffiti art.
I -hate- word graffiti, crappy scribbles, names. But:

Look at this http://www.flickr.com/photos/a-necessary-evil/4570364270/in/faves-7anya/
This is near home and fantastic.
I like this stuff. I can't say I agree with other types of graffiti in inconvenient places that businesses don't want. But I don't see any reason not to have it in ugly corners and freeways. So long as it looks like art more than crap. Mural instead of advertisement.
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Radtke was busted for painting over a commissioned mural. He trespassed and defaced property. I can't imagine the anger of being a property owner and having some self-appointed jerk painting my wall with battleship gray paint.

Banksy may have committed similar crimes, but he actually raised the value of the property. If the owner didn't want the mural, he could paint it over. Radtke never gave the owners, remember, the OWNERS of the property a chance to decide.

I love the murals in Palo Alto, as do most of the residents. I hope Radtke never visits.
http://www.anigami.com/jimwich/jimwich_archives/jwpicts_9_2001/GB_Murals/GB_Murals.html
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