hugovk at GMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 23 08:37:09 UTC 2013
Earliest I found is in an April 2006 reply in Usenet's misc.legal to
someone owning a pressure washing business who used a stencil to
pressure wasd his company name and phone number in the street gutters.
The phrase was used many times, along with "Reverse Graffitied" and
"Reverse Taggers". The first:
A Complaint/Request that you REFRAIN from Engaging in "Reverse Graffiti"?
A bit later, the term was widely used by the media to describe the
work of graffiti artist Paul "Moose" Curtis. The earlierst I found is
this September 2006:
Soap Not Spray Can: Reverse Graffiti Art.
Paul Curtis aka Moose is no regular graffiti artist. In fact, he's the
He created his street art by *cleaning* the dirt and grime off of surfaces!
Curtis himself wasn't originally keen on the term. From December 2006:
The British artist Paul Curtis is not sure what to call his version of
vandalism. “People call it ‘reverse graffiti,’ ” he says, “but I
prefer something less sinister: ‘clean tagging’ or ‘grime writing.’ ”
Earlier stories about him, such as this July 2004 piece, use "clean
graffiti" and not "reverse graffiti".
In fact, this 2012 article says he's been at it since 1999:
In his forties, the ‘clean artist’ began tracing patterns and slogans
onto dirtied surfaces in
1999 and has pioneered a ‘reverse-graffiti’ movement that now sees
street artists worldwide draw attention to pollution and urban grime
cutting through muck to inscribe imagery on sullied surfaces.
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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