The varying approaches taken to cleaning Toronto’s many graffiti-covered buildings, walls and streets have met with both positive and negative reactions. There have been coordinated citywide approaches where the focus is not necessarily on cleaning Toronto but instead on ways to work with the graffiti artists in the community. In contrast, the approach taken by a Kensington Market storeowner was a little less coordinated and certainly not approved by the City. When Luis Vega discovered an alleged vandal spraying his small food kiosk, he took the law into his own hands and after a short tussle Vega used his mobile phone to record an apology from the graffiti artist. The video was watched by almost 200,000 people after been uploaded to social media sites.
A different approach is taken by City Hall towards decreasing the level of graffiti in the city and reducing the impact it has on business owners. The executive director of the BIA talks about how collaboration between graffiti artists and other members of the community is the basis of a model to reduce levels of vandalism. The Toronto plan was created in 2011 and encourages collaboration between graffiti artists and property owners. The city now records the names of over 100 graffiti artists, and if an owner decides to commission a mural then this directory can be used to find an artist.
The city will provide materials such as brushes, paint and other items necessary to create the authorized mural. The artists then work with the owner to decide upon an image that will be representational of the area. However, the relatively new policy has not completely resolved the problem and tagging is still an issue. In the previous year tagging was removed from more than 210,000 square feet. The purpose of the murals is to provide a space where graffiti artists can demonstrate their skill and talent. But as the continued need to clean other areas demonstrates, this solution does not address the less socially acceptable graffiti. The problem now is with graffiti that does not have the permission of the property owner or is deemed not to have any artistic merit.
Related: Graffiti and Urban Blight Prevention
As for the owner of the food kiosk in Kensington Market, several nights after he recorded the clip another graffiti artist visited the market to tag more of his property. Other store holders in the area are sympathetic to the issues, and they understand how the presence of graffiti can deter potential customers from visiting the area. The community initiatives such as the collaboration between City Hall, local property owners and graffiti artists address only a small part of the problem. The wider issue is that those who tag property also claim this form of expression should be accepted as art. However, the law requires property owners to remove tags from their buildings, and this means the owners become liable either for a fine or for the costs of removing the graffiti themselves. These costs all add up for small business owners, and this is an issue we at Target Graffiti Removal understand. Why not contact us today to discuss an affordable solution to this problem?