Graffiti: Art or Abuse?

50-foot wall on busy street gets tagged

By Matt Bartosik
|  Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010  |  Updated 1:00 PM CDT
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Graffiti: an urban form of creativity and self-expression, or disrespectful vandalism?

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Graffiti: an urban form of creativity and self-expression, or disrespectful vandalism?

That's the question several Gold Coast residents are discussing after a 50-foot-wide brick wall was tagged early Monday morning.

The vandals/artists left their mark on a coach house in the 900 block of North Clark Street, that has been under construction for nearly two years in the fairly busy Near North neighborhood.

Residents have had a variety of reactions. Some are annoyed with the mural, calling it "tragic."

"I’m devastated these people decided to create a home around a historic building and overnight it was trashed," Madalyn Freund told the Chicago Tribune, referring to the 1900s-structure the coach house is attached to.

Others, however, view the graffiti as eye-catching art. Police explained to site project manager Eric Schlomann that the markings were not gang-related.

"It was someone trying to provide us with free art," Schlomann police told him.

And many are simply surprised the vandals/artists were able to take on such a huge endeavor unnoticed, just a few feet away from busy Clark Street.

While the City will pay for the removal of the spray paint, Schlomann is still disappointed with the inconvenience.

"It's more of a nuisance than impeding the construction process," he said.

What do you think? Urban art or appalling damage? Leave your comments below.

Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign. 

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