A Calgary artist whose mural has repeatedly been targeted by vandals isn’t sure he has the will to rework the damaged artwork.
Daniel J. Kirk returned from working on a public art project in Fort McMurray this week to find a mural adorning the side of his Kensington studio had been vandalized for the third time in two months.
This time, he was not alone. Nearly 20 businesses in the neighbourhood were tagged over the weekend, leaving some owners with a costly cleanup job.
The war memorial at Poppy Plaza was also targeted, but had been cleaned by Tuesday.
Kirk painted a mural on the side of his business, Blank Page Studio, last September. It was first hit with some minor tagging about a month and a half ago, and had proved popular with local vandals since.
“The whole mural itself got kind of obliterated about three weeks ago,” Kirk said.
“Me and another artist decided to do what we could. We decided to do a collaboration with the graffiti work and integrated that into a piece as well.
“That maybe lasted two weeks and I came back and found it had been (tagged) again.”
The latest effort was two hastily-drawn words in large “bubble” letters, intended to cover as much of a surface as possible in the shortest time.
Kirk was confident he could rework the mural again, but wasn’t sure he had the will.
“For me to put energy and time into reclaiming that work without any guarantee it’s not going to happen (again), it’s kind of hard to figure out what to do.”
The community needed to have a conversation about how public artists and graffiti artists could coexist, he said.
Police were still investigating the Kensington vandalism spree.
Const. Dave Ladic, the Calgary police’s graffiti co-ordinator, said investigators had obtained security footage from a business that showed there were at least two people tagging in the area at around 3 a.m. Monday.
“There were two distinct tags,” Ladic said.
“A number of properties were hit, all down 10th Street, including the 10th Street bridge and the war memorial as well.
“I’m guessing they walked down Kensington and vandalized everything as they went.”
Ladic said he recognizes the tags, which have previously appeared in the city, but police are still trying to identify those responsible for them.
It was not clear if the properties were specifically targeted, he said, but called the acts — particularly against the war memorial — “awful.”
The Oak Tree Tavern was one of the businesses struck by vandals, with staff posting photos of the damage to its Twitter page and urging anyone with information to contact authorities.
Kylee Briggeman, a server at the tavern, said the graffiti vandalism has happened at the establishment in the past.
“There’s the opposite wall in the parking lot there where there’s been black spray paint all over there, all over the Dumpsters, and we’ve had to repaint that wall several times,” she said.
Kensington Business Revitalization Zone executive director Annie MacInnis said about 20 businesses were tagged over the weekend, and some residences, too.
Smaller, independent businesses, found it hard to wear the cost, she said.
“If it’s a slow day … their whole profit for (that) day might be taken up in the cost of cleaning up.”