Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006
Art Attack
The Department of Public Works guerilla graffiti outfit in dawn raid on central London street. Photo: Steve Lazarides

Art Attack

Street artists in brazen reply to Greater London Authority's graffiti committee.

16th January 2002

In an act of audacious dissent a team of graffiti artists painted a 400 sqft picture on a wall in central London on the day the Greater London Authority (GLA) met to consider the 'problem of graffiti'.

The Dept of Public Works visited Clink Street SE1 near the London Dungeons at dawn on Jan 14 to create a massive work of graffiti art depicting businessmen in bowler hats throwing bottles and bricks. The large words across the top of the picture read: "Chequebook Vandalism".

One of the members of the Dept of Public Works, Kid B, told SQUALL: "The city is defaced and vandalised everyday but not by 14 year olds with marker pens. The criminals responsible are the over hyped megastores and ad agencies who erect ugly shops and huge billboards on every street corner. They make every town look like every other and ensure we live out our lives in the shadow of glossy images for products we don't need and can't afford. They give nothing back to the city other than a sense of frustration and powerlessness to young people."

Part of the stunning graffiti piece made reference to the chairman of the GLA graffiti committee, Andrew Pelling, as a man ripe for a reprimand. Another Dept of Public Works artist, Spoon Fed, told SQUALL: "The council and politicians have got it all wrong. The only problem with graffiti is that there isn't enough of it. Imagine a city awash with a million colours. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that looked different every time you stepped into it. A city that actually spoke back at you and felt like a living, breathing thing which belongs to everybody, not just the barons of big business. Imagine a city like this and stop leaning against that wall - it's wet."

In a brazen follow up to their action, Kid B attended the GLA committee meeting a few hours later and addressed the authority delegates from the podium. "They rather awkwardly thanked me for attending and speaking to them," said Kid B. "Then I slipped away just as the TV camera's turned up to ask Pelling what he thought of the Clink Street hit."

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