Just happened to see this work by the just-arrested Girafa on a train side-lined in Menlo Park. Note the slogan, Long Neck 4 Life.Here’s a less typical example from the same train. Here is an article about the arrest of Girafa, AKA Steven Free. They’re charging him with $40,000 in damages, holding him on a $100,000 warrant. He’s painted his giraffes in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, and Contra Costa counties. He works it to an extent that I would call it a compulsion. Maybe his lawyer can mount a psychological defense, saying that his graffiti is the result of obsessive-compulsive disorder.On the one hand, I enjoy Girafa’s art. I think he enhances the look of places. ( You can see pages of Girafas here.) On the other hand, he paints on people’s property without their permission. Some cities require property owners to remove graffiti. So in some cases, he’s taking money out of people’s pockets.This artist is in a heap of trouble. The $40,000 is just some of the ‘damage’ he’s done in San Jose. If you totaled up all the work he’s done in the Bay Area, it could easily go into the hundreds of thousands, maybe over a million, depending on how they calculate it.
I sure hope he has a good lawyer. If somebody organizes a benefit, I would gladly participate. Maybe now he’ll make the jump to galleries and quit his day job. What he’s done is not 100% right, but I’m on his side.