Graffiti related newspaper articles

Art is in the eye of the beholder

September 08, 2009 - Herald Sun

Fiona Hudson


TO a graffiti vandal, it's the equivalent of a madman running through the Louvre with a knife at night slashing the Mona Lisa and other canvases.

A secret squirt squad is systematically defacing illegal "artworks" daubed along Melbourne's train lines by painting the letters "CTCV" over the top.

The anonymous vigilantes are bombarding hundreds of sites across the rail network with their simple tag, prompting cries of foul play from graffiti crews.

Outraged vandals have accused employees of train operator Connex, and also the transit police, of somehow orchestrating the blitz as some sort of bizarre tit-for-tat campaign to wipe out street art.

Internet forums are filled with wild theories about what CTCV stands for - favoured suggestions include "Cops Trashing Crap Vandalism" or "Connex Taskforce Crushing Vandals".

Victoria Police and Connex strongly deny any involvement in the "slashing" campaign. They point out that graffiti is a crime -- even if it is over the top of another miscreant's existing mess.

Regardless of who is behind the mischievous CTCV spree, the bleatings from the "artists" behind much of the visual pollution that blankets our city are revealing.

In the clandestine world of spray-can art, tagging over another person's work is considered a major insult. So the wide-reaching, systematic campaign to ruin many of the murals and works that have helped Melbourne earn a reputation as an international graffiti hub has seriously annoyed the "artists".

"This (CTCV) is annoying because there were some AWESOME pieces of work . . . and now they have all been destroyed. I want revenge," one disgruntled art fan wrote on a message board.

Others have even grumbled that if CTCV is some sort of "black op" by police, Connex or the government, it's a poor use of taxpayer dollars!

The graffiti vandals seem oblivious that their bellyaches mirror those frequently levelled
at them by those in the wider community who consider their modern-day cave paintings visual vomit.

Those four simple letters, CTCV, seem to have made the point far more effectively than any existing control measures: tagging looks awful, and it's bloody annoying when someone scrawls all over something you own or like.

Incensed wall-writers, so used to being hunted themselves, are planning stings of their own to catch the unwanted additions to their ranks.

"Video surveillance will be your downfall, just wait. We are watching, waiting & planning," warned one graffiti fan.

Of course, it's entirely possible the CTCV tags are the work of one or more outlaw artists trying to make a name for themselves, or perhaps the work of a disgruntled civilian.

No matter who is behind them, the CTCV tags certainly haven't made Melbourne any prettier. But, given most citizens can barely understand the jumble of hieroglyphics the "artists" squirt on walls, a few extra unintelligible strokes are worth it for the pain it is obviously causing the vandals.

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