By Sherman Farralone, Quilt staff
DATELINE: OWENSMOUTH AVENUE
• Frantic Youths to Neighborhood Council: We're Running Out of Things To Tag
• Unvandalized Areas Are Facing Imminent Extinction, Say Experts
• Related: Looming Threat of 'Economic Collapse' Terrifies Area Spray Paint Retailers
• Severely Endangered Status of Surfaces Not Already Marred By Paint, Indelible Ink and Stickers Could Trigger 'Graffiti Apocalypse'
• SFV Association for the Preservation of Desecration Identifies Possible 'Last Untagged Public Space' in Canoga Park
• Facing the Unthinkable: Could Sharpies and Paint Pens Soon Be Used Non-Destructively For Purposes For Which They Were Originally Created?
• Related: West Hills Offers Canoga Park Large Donation of ‘Ready-to-Tag’ Newspaper Boxes and Decommissioned Park Benches In Hopes Of Keeping Taggers ‘Over There’
THE CANOGA PARK Friendly Neighborhood Council
|"Our porn boxes, toilet seats, retail store windows and awnings have all been tagged. There's almost|
nothing left. What do I tell my little brother, who hasn't even started to tag yet?" —tEEnypEEn, tagger.
convened for a rare emergency meeting last night to discuss a significant threat to the culture of Canoga Park: Local taggers are in dire peril of running out of places to hit.
“With our current rate of defacement, my tagging crew — all of our tagging crews! — could completely run out of things that don’t belong to us to mark with our names and, in many cases, specific gang affiliations, in just a few days, an’ shit,” said local tagger DAИK, whose name means “disagreeably damp and musty.”
|"Our gas meters, traffic signs, more of our porn boxes and the front doors to our local senior center.|
With these already hit, we need, nay, we demand new surfaces to tag!" —Evan Schwinn, tagtivist.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I appeal to your sense of community, your sense of civic pride: We’re at the tipping point here,” implored local tagger LOeR who brokered a truce permitting rival taggers to appear at the meeting “without starting no shit with each other, yo” and whose own well-known tags have graced everything from billboards to panel trucks in the West Valley. “If something isn’t done immediately, we simply won’t have any places left to tag. And that truly, truly would be a tragedy of unprecedented proportion an’ shit.”
|According to experts, this utility pole on Topanga Canyon Boulevard may|
be Canoga Park's last untagg— ...Oops, too late. Nevermind. Staff photos.
One by one, local taggers stood up to address the council and ask them to ponder the future of a Canoga Park with nothing left to tag, and also to use keys and paint pens to mark up the podium.
|Heartbreaking Scene: With almost nothing left to hit in|
Canoga Park, renowned local artist pOOpyPantz is forced
to tag his own paint cans. Photo courtesy pOOpyPantz.
‘PuBe’ discussed the emasculating shame he would suffer “if, you know, my girl walk down Sherman Way and not see my name on a parking meter, lamp post or bus stop an’ shit.” ‘SpOOge’ decried the lack of new residential construction in the area, and “how I long to once again feel that can of pressurized enamel become an extension of my own arm as I mark up virgin stucco walls, newly-installed siding and portable toilets an’ shit.” And ‘Fee-C’ shamed local merchants and apartment house owners for not bothering to re-re-re-repaint their steel fire doors anymore. “Some of those tags have been up there eight, ten months,” he explained. “Most of those guys are long dead or in jail, and these people don’t even have the common decency to paint over it an’ give us more room to work an’ shit!”
By the time the young men — a cross-section of Canoga Park's best & brightest — were finished making their heartfelt pleas, there wasn’t a dry eye in the entire Canoga Park Community Center, though some suggest that it was due to noxious aerosol paint fumes in an enclosed area with poor ventilation.
“The ability of so-called ‘taggers’ or urban artists, as I call them, to permanently ‘vandalize’ or enhance, as I call it, public and private property is extremely important for the lifeblood of an area such as Canoga Park,” said main speaker Evan Schwinn, whose Twitter profile, Facebook page and biographical blurb beneath opinion pieces on Huffington Post describes him as both an NPR and Power 106 listener. “Tagging is the means through which area youths communicate. And it’s most definitely art in its purest form. If Canoga Park runs out of things to tag, it is effectively censoring artists, and if Canoga Park supports censorship, I for one would not want to live in Canoga Park.”
|"Our trees, our curbside furnishings, our obsolete communication kiosks, our parking signage and|
mirrored retail windows: all effectively consumed and exhausted. Man, f_ck dat!" —w33ping pUstule
Schwinn, who lives in Santa Monica, is a familiar presence at various “urban art” events in the West Valley and has made friends with some of the local crews, even earning their trust enough to go out on tagging missions, or frolics, as they’re called.
Says DAИK of him, “Dude’s the whitest guy I know, even with the flannel jacket an’ that New Era snapback he got at T-Mart...shit, he’s tryin’ way too hard. But he bought me a case of Krylon from Home Depot last month, so, uh, I guess he’s cool..”
|Tagtivist Evan Schwinn, "during my short-lived pipe|
phase, following Movember 2014. Pipe-tember I think
we all called it." Photo: Evan Schwinn, via Instagram
A digital marketing project engineer working for an investment real estate firm based on LA’s Westside, the tall, blonde Schwinn says he enjoys traveling to the West San Fernando Valley to see some of his favorite artists’ latest pieces.
“I live north-of-Wilshire in a $4,800 a month two-bedroom apartment,” he says with an unusual mixture of pride and embarrassment. “So obviously that’s not the same, uh, atmosphere as around here. And that’s why this magnificent art form must continue to flourish! ...Um, over here.”
Schwinn then narrated a PowerPoint presentation to those in attendance to show the extent of the dire situation the area faces to, as he said, “let the images speak for themselves an' stuf— ...uh, pardon. An' shit.”
Head of Canoga Park’s Neighborhood Beautifization Committee Donald Culross eventually took the podium to allay mounting fears and prevent an already tense situation from developing into a full-blown panic. “Please, people, please. We’re going to get through this,” he implored “Look, ‘The Village at Topanga’ opens in less than a week and then you’ve got acres and acres of brand new, pristine real estate to, er, decorate.”
|"With our fire doors, crosswalk buttons, buildings, and even more of our porn boxes already tagged|
and no more spaces made available, Canoga Park is really turning its back on us." —Li'l Twat, tagger