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Graffiti/Street Art vs. Advertising (part 2) – Ron English

We have messages flashed at us everywhere. “Buy this.” “Watch this.” “Drive This.” “Drink This.” This is in our so-called “public spaces”. But if you want to say something in these public spaces, it isn’t that easy. Write it on the wall or paint or hang your art outside and you are a “vandal”.  If you think money can buy the rights to say what you want.. wrong! Artist Ron English has tried renting a billboard for a piece, and got turned down. 

“Legally, I don’t have a right to do this, but I do as a proponent of free speech, I have an obligation to do this” – Ron English

Corporations don’t deserve free speech.. PEOPLE deserve free speech.” – Ron English

POPaganda: The Art and Subversion of Ron English.. 

photos:  Graffiti.Org

Our laws say that we can be subjected to their corporate messages with their words and images, but putting out your own words or images and you are a criminal. Basically “Read, Don’t Write.”  Read more on “Read/Write Cities” on


Graffiti/Street Art vs. Advertising (part 1) – Illegal Advertising
Graffiti/Street Art vs. Advertising (part 3) – the Graffiti Research Lab vs. Advertising
Graffiti/Street Art vs. Advertising (part 4) – Augor

Graffiti/Street Art vs. Advertising (part 1) – Illegal Advertising

Some people look at graffiti as an “eyesore”. But many of us don’t have such a problem with advertising. Just because it is paid for by some corporation, does that justify it being there? Is somebody’s mural (or even tags) really worse than a big billboard telling you what garbage to eat, crappy fashions to wear, car to drive, etc ? Or even worse.. I remember the day I was trying to quit smoking – waiting at a bus stop with a huge Newport billboard staring down at me – torture!. And that was a LEGAL ad.

Turns out, ALOT of advertising is ILLEGAL.

Illegal Ad on the flat iron building. I love this building. Imagine coming to NY as a tourist and seeing this landmark architecture. Yeah that would be a nice picture. photo: Municipal Art Society

Wanna go to the park to escape the city for a few or maybe a picnic with the girl? photo:

Some of this advertising is more than a visual problem. Here’s scafolding, with the weight of an illegal Helio ad, crushing a few cars.  Luckily noone was injured. photos:

Many of these posters that you see on construction sites are illegal.

Rockstar Games sticker (“IV”) going over the homie  “Rate“‘s tag. photo: Corporate Vandals blog

Tats vs NY
While these corporate vandals are doing whatever they want, we have assholes like media whore Al Sharpton painting over LEGAL graffiti.
photos: NY Daily News

“Consume, dont think about expressing yourself.” …Something is definately wrong here.

A few interesting facts..

– New York City arrested 3,786 graffiti writers last year. They arrested 0 illegal advertisers.

– Vermont, Maine, Hawaii, Alaska, and Washington D.C. bans billboards.

– Buenos Aires, Argentina recently removed 40 thousand billboards (60% of their billboards) to fight “visual pollution”.

– Sao Paolo, Brazil BANNED all commercial advertising in 2007. They have also LEGALIZED Graffiti.

Graffiti/Street Art vs. Advertising (part 2) – Ron English
Graffiti/Street Art vs. Advertising (part 3) – the Graffiti Research Lab vs. Advertising
Graffiti/Street Art vs. Advertising (part 4) – Augor

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