KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Ross: Maybe graffiti would be nicer if it was more cheerful

Jul 5, 2023, 7:50 AM | Updated: 7:51 am

graffiti cheerful...

A man cleans graffiti from the exterior of a boarded up storefront. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

I had yesterday off, so I didn’t feel obligated to think any deep thoughts, but on my way to West Seattle, I did see something that I feel I need to mention.

Driving south on Interstate 5 toward the West Seattle Bridge, I glanced to the left at one of the more crowded graffiti galleries along the highway and actually saw something that didn’t enrage me.


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A very skilled artist – had painted the word “GOOEY”

I’ve been a long-time complainer about graffiti, but I have to admit, “GOOEY” was very well done. It was like a parade of rainbow gummy worms, but it wasn’t menacing, it had no agenda other than to represent gooeyness, and the best part is that unlike “STIGMA,” it was cheerful.

And on a perfect sunny day, I couldn’t bring myself to hate it.

I did a little search just to make sure it wasn’t code for something nasty and up popped a comment published in The Stranger a year ago that mentioned “GOOEY.”

I don’t know if it’s the same “GOOEY,” but the commenter, whose name was Dale, came to the defense of street artists.

He wrote, “I think the street artists would probably make higher quality work if they didn’t have to do it quickly … with the knowledge it would soon be painted over. All criminalization does is create rushed art and lost potential, which … feeds the self-fulfilling prophecy of “graffiti should be illegal because it’s ugly, [even though the reason it’s ugly is that it’s illegal.]”

Or so wrote Dale a year ago.

I actually think most of it is intended to be ugly, whether it’s rushed or not.

But I still like “GOOEY.” I say if you’re going to deface concrete, at least show your versatility by putting up something cheerful once in a while.

In fact, if the city adopts my idea of covering up graffiti with plastic ivy, I would even cut a little window for “GOOEY” to show respect. Talent is talent, even when it’s illegal.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: Maybe graffiti would be nicer if it was more cheerful