Poster Boy Is Caught, or Is It a Stand-In? - NYTimes.com
Anyone who rides the subway regularly knows that the newest form of graffiti is not about spray painting or scratching, but cutting and pasting. This utterly low tech method can have an incredibly powerful effect- like when the face in a movie ad is cut away to reveal another image from an earlier ad. I think palimpsest is the word for this leaking through of one time to another. Creepy is the other one. Layers and layers and layers of ads meant to entice us over and over again to buy stuff we neither need nor can afford.
That's why Graffiti Boy and other political cut and pasters make a point of interrupting ads with political messages. "Do not lean on the door" becomes "Do not lean on the poor." Morning commutes become moments when the logic of buying is interrupted and we have some space, some breathing room, to think that maybe we don't have to buy it.
Then again, graffiti of all sorts is a crime- considered a theft of property. Forget the fact that advertisers have stolen all our public spaces- the state is, alas, on the side of Madison Avenue. And so Graffiti Boy was arrested. But perhaps his desire to interrupt consumerism is not that unusual. Perhaps, as he claims, he is not the only one? Perhaps everyone can be Poster Boy, at least until we're caught.