Thursday, July 14, 2005

BORF is dead; long live BORF

From the Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/13/AR2005071302448.html

The Mark Of Borf
With Graffitist's Arrest, Police Put a Name to the Familiar Face

The mysterious, ubiquitous and eminently destructive graffiti artist known as Borf was arrested yesterday after waging a months-long campaign that may have been intended to enlighten Washington, but mostly just confused us.

The man primarily responsible for Borf is, it turns out, an 18-year-old art student from Great Falls named John Tsombikos, according to D.C. police inspector Diane Groomes. He was arrested along with two other young men in the wee hours of yesterday morning after officers received a tip that graffiti artists were spray-painting at Seventh and V streets NW.

Approached by a reporter at D.C. Superior Court yesterday, Tsombikos refused to comment. One of the other men arrested, Richard Lee, 18, said, "Borf is dead."

Well, yes and no. According to Tsombikos's mother, Kathleen Murphy of Great Falls, Borf was the nickname for a close friend of her son's who committed suicide about two years ago....Murphy suggests that for her son, the Borf face and moniker came to stand for all that he felt was wrong with the world.

Many who saw Tsombikos's graffiti -- including a huge five-foot-high Borf face that appeared on a Roosevelt Bridge sign this spring, and a 15-foot "BORF" above a Dupont Circle cafe -- might suggest that, far from making the world better, he cost the city of Washington a lot of money.

Dennis Butler of the D.C. Department of Public Works said the Borf tag prompted almost daily phone calls to the city call center. "He's just all over the inner city," Butler said.

"Citizens are ecstatic about him being caught," Groomes said.
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Yeah, we're "ecstatic." We want all of our public spaces to be completely bland and featureless and uninspiring of thought. We far prefer a blank wall to one with a piece of art that might provoke a thought or a giggle or a shared joke with a friend, or even a bit of secret solidarity with the chutzpah of an anti-authoritarian rebel. We don't want any challenging shared public spaces for public use; we want shopping malls. Thanks for protecting our interests. Thanks a lot.

From the words of a colleague at my think tank: "I think the people who work here are generally Borfers who just express themselves in a different type of graffiti."

4 Comments:

Anonymous wi11iam13 said...

i knew it was only a matter of time...another tiny movement down the spiral of doom...

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help me Dude, I'm lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new plasmatv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)

8:36 PM  
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