Paint, Counterpaint: Realistic Graffiti Artists Cover Their Own Tracks

“Why not cut out the middle man?” asks local stencil and wheatpaste artist Give Up, after noting one too many prized local works of graffiti unceremoniously painted over with dull gray paint by cleanup crews. His innovation: Spray cans set up to buff themselves.

Here’s his rig. On the right: your standard black can with a skinny cap, primed for graffiti expression. But it’s hooked up to a buff-gray can with a fat cap. Push the bar and the two spray at the same time — “so you can buff your own stuff as you go.”

Yep, that’s Give Up on graffiti. But didn’t he move on from freeform paint long ago? What about wheatpaste artists who want to get in on the zen action too? Ah . . . here’s another tool he’s got in in development:


For postering: a glue brush with built-in scraper.

Photos: Give Up

23 Comment

  • The dude is an innovator!

  • I always wondered who was behind “Give Up”.

  • GiveUp, I wish you would take your own advice already. I’m tired of my tax dollars being wasted to clean up after your “art”. My 8-year-old daughter recently asked me what all the razor blades mean and I told her it was a failed artist’s attempt to get back at the world.

  • so does give up mean refusing to grow up?

    at least try to elevate your vandalism concepts beyond early high school rantings.

  • Prized works of local works of graffiti? He will be one of them if I ever catch him creating “art.”

  • So you’d ignore art based solely from a query from your child? Open minded much? I personally like seeing “give up” everytime I drive under the railroad bridge on memorial, nice reminder you live in the city inspite of the park surroundings, maybe it’s an odd juxtaposition. If you really don’t like it, try moving to Cypress or Fairfield or something suitably remote and suburby. Go enjoy being homogenus sheep in little rows of clear cut/add water and stir homes/neighborhoods all with very polite names.

  • @cm,
    My taste in art is irrelevent. I’m only annoyed by the illegal aspect of it. When you spray paint or glue a print to someone else’s property it is vandalism (last I checked). Would you still feel the same way if you came home and found razor blades painted on your fence or front door? Do you have any idea how many people the city/county employs to un-do this “art”?

  • One man’s art is another man’s vandalism. Last time I checked, the law says it’s vandalism. Not art.

  • Speaking of against the law, so is speeding yet everyone does it. Or using your turn signal; apparently most Houstonians find them to be “optional” which also is against the law. Apples and oranges sure, expression versus recklessness, or vandalism versus minor traffic infractions. Not that I endorse graffiti by any means, it could be worse in terms of content, and after all this is just a joke anyway.

  • you know what I hate? Clouds. I mean, nothing messes up my perfect blue sky like clouds…

  • cm, I don’t think it’s apples and oranges. On the contrary, I find people are most outraged by crimes they can’t see themselves commit. For example, illegal driving doesn’t spark widespread anger–indeed, there is often more passion against increased enforcement of driving laws (red light cameras, for example) than over the crimes they are meant to curtail.

    If one day I started hearing people expressing the same level of outrage over littering as they do over graffiti, or as much outrage over illegal driving as they do over illegal aliens, I’ll look out the window to see if the sky has turned pink and cats and dogs have begun cohabitating.

  • “can’t see themselves committing” (got to change that–the gerund police might be reading)

  • From Nord:

    you know what I hate? Clouds.
    You and Joni Mitchell.

  • Speaking of funny, I found the recent gang tags on the Highschool for Law Enforcement (aka old George Washington Jr. High). Where thugs become future law enforcement…. Lovely that; though I’m sure it’s probably unrelated.

  • Though I guess it’s less funny and maybe a bit more ironic (to finish a thought).

  • It isn’t all alike. Some is garbage, some is adolescent angst and some is urban art, especially the wheat pastes and stencils.

    What rankles me is people who park across the sidewalks every dang day and those who put their heavy trash out a week or two early. Those acts are also illegal. Would love to see some law enforcement there!

  • PS- I think these two objects belong in the CAM.

  • money folks. the reason why people are more concerned about illegal aliens than illegal driving is because of money (which they’re not, unplug for a bit and stop following the media hype). the reason people are more concerned about vandalism is because it costs money unlike someone putting their trash out early, parking over a sidewalk, or failing to use their blinker. furthermore, if taggers met with a small-business owner that had to pay to have graffiti removed they’d better understand this.

    take some responsibility for your “art” because if it’s just plastered on an empty building/wall along with other trash then it’ll never be anything more than that. furthermore, it just makes people continue to associate graffiti artists with gun-toting hoodlums (and from my experiences at the proletariat it rings true) don’t places like aerosol warfare provide a place for this kind of stuff to be shown legally? it’s not like people hate graffiti as it’s already become common place in people’s homes and the places they shop.

    i’m just getting more and more tired of all this random urban “art” crap that means something to handful of people on facebook, but is just more trash for the rest of us to look at/pick up.

  • we’re not gonna let the cry baby yups take over the swamplot comment section are we?

  • Graffiti is not about You and your sensibilities , it’s all about the artist, so good luck trying to get them to not be as selfish as they are. Just like NOLA has the grey ghost, Houston has an army of beige ghosts creating just as bad/good buffs. Ebb & flow folks, move on.

  • Yeah, I’m sure their moms are real proud.

  • Next made the best tags, in the best places. That was a few years back. A couple still exist out there.

  • Heh, maybe their Mom’s like art.. :-)