March 17 2010 12:00 AM

Graffiti, art, or trash?

I strongly object to City Pulse’s characterization (in an online-only story) of a local vandal as an “artist.”

As someone who grew up in a neighborhood where intimidating Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples and Latin Kings symbols could be found scrawled on every building and at every school bus stop, I prefer to call these malefactors something else: disgusting.

Yeah, it was clever that City Pulse sought the input of a medieval literature professor, the English Oxford Dictionary and the Bard himself for insight into the childish term “Powk” that is tagged throughout the Lansing area. But treating this manner in such a trivial — even respectful — light only further emboldens other pigs like Powk. (Yes, “Powk” as in “pork,” folks.) Remember, after all the fun is had, someone has to clean up the mess.

Please note there is indeed such a thing as a graffiti artist: has some pretty good examples — some legal, some not, and some tolerated. But whatever this lover of the other white meat is doing certainly does not qualify. It’s not art — it’s more akin to a form of public urination that leaves a stain on an already struggling community.

— Thomas Morgan East Lansing

As someone who enjoys and creates street art (trippy, right?), let me be one of the first with some ethos behind the subject to voice an opinion.

First of all, why is everyone so afraid of a few scrawled letters? I daresay I laughed out loud when I saw this was actually an article. Powk probably thinks he owns the town now thanks to City Pulse, when he has no idea what true skill is, as far as street art goes. He or she writes Powk pretty underwhelmingly, with no real respect for aesthetically pleasing typography. To him or her I say take a long stroll in SoHo, and come back a bit more humble, and hopefully inspired to improve, as any good artist would want to do for themselves.

If it is being implied that graffiti is a problem, let me be as cliché as Urban Outfitters itself and say, "blank walls equal blank minds.” The soul of Lansing speaks through many mediums, and one is through graffiti. Stop and look.

— Sherpa From

(To read the story, go to