A graffiti thug’s letter to himself.

Dear self,

OMG! Did you see today’s Post-Gazette. Page B-1? Right smack there on the cover of the local section? It’s like a 5 by 7 full color photo of that awesome piece of art you painted on the steps to the Carnegie Library! And the title of the photo? “Graffiti writer paints poetic.”

Not, “Loser vandal vandalizes prestigious library” or “Rash of graffiti upsets locals” or “Police promise to crack down on graffiti after vandals strike library.”

No! You’ve been branded a “writer” and a “poet”.

You’re not just an artist anymore, you’re now a badass poet and I can guaran-effin’-tee it that the entire city of Pittsburgh is just dying to know who you are. This city eats that anonymous shit right up. Look at PittGirl!

You’re now a hero to the entire street-art community! This is why we do what we do. The chance to be famous. To be somebody. The chance to see our art in the newspaper and to have that newspaper speak to college literature professors about what our motivation might have been for that particular choice of a quote.

And more importantly, the entire city is now waiting with bated breath for when is it that you grace them again with your carefully chosen words.

I mean, now that you’re famous, you can’t let them down. Your next piece has got to be bigger and better. Can I suggest painting T.S. Eliot’s “I think we are in rats’ alley, where the dead men lost their bones” on the steps leading up to the City/County Building?




  1. Alison
    July 30, 2008 8:01 am

    my library! noo!!!!!!!!
    wow. i can’t believe that. what makes someone deface a library? what did it ever do to them? unless they can’t read. However, thats unlikely since they wrote such an emo quote on the side of the steps.
    dont cry emo kid. or at least leave the library alone.

  2. Jason T.
    July 30, 2008 8:32 am

    I was going to write a letter to the editor, but I decided to spray paint my criticism on the side of the Post-Gazette building instead.

    I’m just expressing my “alienation,” and I hope my remarks stir their “whimsy.”

  3. unsatisfied (no longer Jeff Reed's Puke)
    July 30, 2008 8:42 am

    building on jason t’s comment, maybe we could create/spraypaint a petition on the side of the PG building that we are against graffiti/spraypaintpoetry/thatkindashit.

    oh, and by the way….

    I’ve been on vaca for a week, so I’ve been trying to catch up on the local news n’such — as well as the illustrious burgh blog

    and, maybe I missed it here….


    NOTHING on here about the return of the weather goddess/superbabe julie bologna to pittsburgh???????


  4. Messier
    July 30, 2008 8:43 am

    don’t be fatuous, pittgirl. notice the brilliance of the ‘yin-and-yang’ eyeballs, dripping with a single tear… I can see through them! Oh I feel the angst, the conflict with society!


  5. Monty
    July 30, 2008 8:43 am

    Nice cliche on the yin/yang. Creativity inspired Spencer’s Gifts. I wonder if the artist has a RATT t-shirt.

  6. Christina
    July 30, 2008 8:56 am

    If this is the kind of thing that inspires and excites creative and intelligent minds in our city, like, ‘Ooh, a graffiti ‘artist’ knows a quote by TS Eliot, and for him to spray these words on a library, of all places, which might house books by said poet — how inspiring!’

    Now, I love TS Eliot and his poetry is among my favorites, so, great. Awesome. Someone else enjoys him, too. But lifting the quotes and spraying them onto a building? It just seems lazy and boring to me. Oh, woe is me. I am so alienated. I must spray these lines onto a building to show my deep pain and my disdain for the human experience. I wonder, had he painted lines from a song by ‘Panic At The Disco’, would it have been so fascinating?

    Let’s talk about an artist who actually had creative and original ideas – Jean-Michel Basquiat. Do you think that he started by spraying poetry quotes with smiley faces and yin yang eyes on libraries? No.

  7. Mark Denovich
    July 30, 2008 9:00 am

    Well at least a normal human can read the message in the graffiti. It’s about 1000x more relevant than scribbling “mook” on everything. (Although 1000 x 0 still = 0.)

    My father used to recount the following… I think it applies to graffiti (and probably blog comments too :) )

    “Those who write upon the shit-house walls roll their shit in little balls… Those who read those words of wit, eat those little balls of shit.”

  8. Dan (Not Onarato)
    July 30, 2008 9:08 am

    Emos….need to be beaten about the head and shoulders

    Thats just me though…

  9. lovesthenorthside
    July 30, 2008 9:08 am

    the headline in the online edition: Line from T.S. Eliot poem intrigues literature buffs

    how about: line in post-gazette infuriates decency buffs

    there’s a bitch that needs some chocking.

  10. wineplz
    July 30, 2008 9:28 am

    At least it’s not gang graffiti like what I get to look at all the time…though our local papers still seem to treat it like art as well. Can’t crush the fragile egos of the creative.

  11. Messier
    July 30, 2008 9:41 am

    Mark Denovich, I lol’d! Touche.

  12. Eric W
    July 30, 2008 10:50 am

    Mark, don’t dis bathroom graffiti by comparing it to tags and junk like this. At least bathroom graffiti is entertaining. Who doesn’t like a battle of wits scribbled in a bathroom stall?

  13. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    July 30, 2008 11:21 am

    Art is subjective so I’m not going to weigh in on the “artist” part. As for poet, he’s definitely not. More like a plagarist! He didn’t even cite the source of his thievery. Stealing someone else’s work doesn’t make him a poet. Maybe a better educated punk than others, but still a criminal.

  14. Brian
    July 30, 2008 11:35 am

    The fact there’s yin yang eyes proves whoever did this isn’t terribly meaty in the brain.

  15. Thee Dude
    July 30, 2008 11:48 am

    Some graffiti is even sponsored by the government. In McKeesport, a mural of faces is/was made. As stated in the Tube City Almanac…


    “When the mural is complete, it will be sealed with a protective anti-graffiti coating supplied by PPG. The MLK project also has a $5,000 maintenance fund for each mural that will provide ongoing repairs for the next 10 years.”

    So…they are covering graffiti with anti-graffiti paint? To be honest, it’s a great idea, great of the kids, too. But couldn’t the paint and volunteers been used to cover up bad graffiti elsewhere? Maybe retouch some of the old fading businesses that used to paint their name on sides of their buildings?

  16. JamieO
    July 30, 2008 3:43 pm

    My favorite piece of graffiti – yinz remember all those “Jesus Saves” stencils that were spray painted all over Pittsburgh back in the 90s? There was one spraypainted in a Civic Arena bathroom, and someone wrote below it “but Lemieux scores on the rebound”. Hee!

    My least favorite – I was waiting on a bus one cold January night, by myself, in Oakland to go back to Point Park College after visiting my then girlfriend. Written on the traffic light box thing on the pole in front of me was “humans are the only animal that befriends their victims before they eat them”.


  17. Nel
    July 30, 2008 5:02 pm

    Don’t ya hate it when someone scribbles on the Li-berry

  18. Bram R
    July 30, 2008 7:40 pm

    Like it or not — and there’s not much to like — but like it or not, this blows a huge gash through the argument of “We’ve got to give graffiti vandals serious jail time in order to deter other would-be graffiti vandals” line of argument.

  19. hhein01
    July 31, 2008 10:06 am

    i think everyone has forgot the fact that the vandal got the quote wrong, it doesn’t read how it does in the poem and the “artist” didn’t attribute the quote to t.s. elliot but to the name in the title of the poem, maybe if these “artist” actually checked something out of the library instead of vandalizing it they would have got it right. no matter what any one thinks it is not okay to “tag” on a building that provides services to the city like the library does. if one has something to say they should get involved within the city and let their thoughts flow that way, a more constructive way. it won’t be long till these losers are caught, their are cameras all over the building and they were on them.

  20. Burgh Wanna Be
    July 31, 2008 12:51 pm

    I am totally appalled & offended that someone would do this. Maybe it’s because I worked in my public library from the time I was 15 until I was 21. To this day I still do some volunteer work for them. When they get caught, I hope they throw the “book” at them.

    I hope I do not see this when I make my trip to the “Burgh” in the next couple of weeks. They have this area in the geneological section called “First Families.” I believe that they have info on a part of family.

  21. Spud's dad
    July 31, 2008 6:43 pm

    What happened to the P-G’s (proper) cheering of the decision to put Daniel what’s-his-face in jail until after he’s 30 and fine him more than he’ll make in his life? Usually the P-G isn’t *quite* as hypocritical as that.

    Also, seen on a T-shirt at the Police concert Mon. night:

    “Shakespeare hates your emo poems.”

    I’m sure good ol’ Tom Eliot agrees with Will on that on.

    One more and then I promise to shut up:

    “I knew T.S. Eliot. You, sir, are no T.S. Eliot.”

  22. Thee Dude
    August 1, 2008 6:45 am

    I was driving down Eden Park Blvd. when I noticed a deer crossing sign that had a black strip under the belly of the buck’s silhouette. Is this graffiti or a concerned citizen wanting to show a proper, anatomically correct deer?

  23. emoboy
    October 21, 2008 6:48 pm

    Hey, Look at the pictures of my new emo hairstyle
    at http://tinyurl.com/59ps64