Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

Graffiti on Graffiti

Last weekend, I somehow managed to get one of my friends from Berkeley to bike into the city, and we made a day of it. The trend continued this weekend when one of my South Bay friends arrived with his bike. While last weekend was more catching up with an old friend mixed with going through scenic biking routes in the city, there was more purpose to this trip: we were planning to bike to all the Banksy graffiti sites before they got taken down by the city. And yes, that makes this my third Banksy post since watching Exit through the Gift Shop (have you seen it yet?).

It was an interesting bike tour. At almost every place we stopped, there were others gathering or lining up behind us to take photos. It was almost like the streets had turned into an outdoor museum. However, what struck me about this particular tour was not the Banksy graffiti itself, but how his popularity had enabled another Street Artist to latch onto his success, and for those who have seen the movie, I’m not talking about You Know Who. The new leech, who goes by the name Otter, had chosen to graffiti onto Banksy’s graffiti. I could almost picture Banksy yelling, “Stop vandalizing my vandalism!”

This image depicts Otter's vandalism of Banksy's vandalism of a building.

Here, Otter creates a blue mouse with white a beret next to Banksy's black mouse with a black beret.

Otter changes the font for his signature, but keeps the mouse, so you know it's him.

After seeing “This Is Where I Draw the Line,” I thought we were done, but then I saw an Andre the Giant sticker on the same pole as the street sign for Haight. I wondered briefly if it was Shepard Fairey’s handiwork before reflecting on how one movie could cause me to see the city in such a different way.

Before he became famous for the Barack Obama "HOPE" poster, Shepard Fairey made his mark (literally) by adding this Andre the Giant sticker to random parts of cities across the globe.


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