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Grass or Gas: City Hall on Graffiti

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Time for another tale in the epic saga of San Francisco graffiti abatement: in a recent report issued to the Board of Supervisors, City Hall claimed that taggers (writers, artists, or what have you) will be guaranteed a greater degree of court punishment should a single judge be appointed to review all cases. (Imagine prosecuting the same offense over and over again. Zzzzz ...) City Hall also recommended that the legislation in place now, which allows graffiti artists to effectively "cut a deal" in order to receive a lighter sentence, be wiped out altogether. Get ready for the numbers: 25 public works employees have removed 700,000 feet of graffiti between 2006-7 at a cost of— prime your minds here—$3.4 million to the city (read: us).

We'll resist launching into a tirade about Ed Koch and New York City in the 1980's. (Graffiti or Reaganomics? Ah yes, graffiti— of much greater concern to the public good.) Rather, allow us to consider another angle: in a far off land called Brooklyn, New York there lives a lass named Edina Tokodi, an "eco-minded" graffiti artist. Rebel, rebel Tokodi throws up chipper silhouettes of deer, bunnies, chickens and other woodland creatures. The catch? Hers are emit grass, not gas— or rather, good gas; they're fashioned of sod and moss. Says Tokodi of her work:

"I am curious about how people receive them, if they just leave them alone, or if they want to, take care of them or dismantle them. This is what makes my work similar to graffiti, although I am searching for a deeper social meaning and a dialogue with memories of the animals and gardens of my past in a small town in Central Europe."So we're wondering, San Francisco: Last year Gavin Newsom offered a $2,500 reward for any snitchery leading to a sticker slapper known as "BNE." Do you think he'd place the same bounty on Bambi— especially if Bambi sounded like Tokodi?
· Board schooled on graffiti tactics [SF Examiner]
· GREEN GRAFFITI by Artist Edina Tokodi [Inhabitat] [Image courtesy Inhabitat]