Skip Nav
Gigi Hadid
11 Apartment Styling Lessons We Can All Learn From Gigi Hadid (and Her Mom)
Decorating Tips
Study Finds Horrifying Link Between Scented Candles and Health Problems
Small Space Living
How Parisians Do Small-Space Living

Before and After: Banksy v. the Gray Ghost

If you read my roundup of alternative graffiti, you know about satiric, prolific, and pseudo-anonymous British graffiti artist Banksy, and also about Fred Radtke, the Gray Ghost, who has been painting over graffiti throughout New Orleans with gray paint since 1997. Although I lumped them both into one category of "alternative graffiti," the motivation behind it for the two is not the same. For Bansky, the medium is a venue for making political, cultural, and ethical statements, while Radtke considers his graywashing more of a public service, referred to as "Operation Clean Sweep." Not only do they differ in the end to their means, but Banksy actually recently took it upon himself to battle the Gray Ghost on his home turf. Above is an image of a wall in New Orleans, which was painted over in gray by Radtke, as it had been marked with graffiti. Banksy's caption reads:

I came to New Orleans to do battle with the Gray Ghost, a notorious vigilante who's been systematically painting over any graffiti he can find with the same shade of grey paint since 1997. Consequently he's done more damage to the culture of the city than any section five hurricane could ever hope to achieve.

To see Banksy's response to the Gray Ghost, stenciled on the same brick wall,

.

I must say, I agree with Banksy. If you consider graffiti an art form or a statement, isn't Radtke wiping out something of cultural and communicational value? If you consider it vandalism, isn't he eliminating a measure of the city's state of being and health? How can the issues related to vandalism be solved without evidence of the vandalism itself? If a home's exterior is white and it is splotched with gray, doesn't it still look tarnished? Tell me your thoughts!
Source

Around The Web
Small Apartment Makeover Pictures With Kyle Schuneman
Bedroom Makeover Idea
Small Bathroom Renovation Tips
Light Blue Refinished Dresser DIY

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

Join The Conversation
art-blooger23 art-blooger23 5 years
HALLOWEEN.....2010 NEW ORLEANS...."THE GRAY GHOST" VS BANKSY!!!CHECK OUT DOUG MCCASH, ART CRITIC FOR THE TIMES PICAYUNE. IN IT THE "GRAY GHOST" PAINTED AN ART PIECE WHICH IS UP FOR SALE FOR $10,000 (US) DEPICTING GRAY SQUARES LAYING ON RED LETTERS SAY BA......SY! THE ART PIECE WAS DISPLAYED FOR A WEEK IN NEW ORLEANS, AND WILL TRAVEL TO LONDON, ENGLAND FOR A WEEK. ONLY IN NEW ORLEANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
art-blooger23 art-blooger23 5 years
HALLOWEEN.....2010 NEW ORLEANS...."THE GRAY GHOST" VS BANKSY!!! CHECK OUT DOUG MCCASH, ART CRITIC FOR THE TIMES PICAYUNE. IN IT THE "GRAY GHOST" PAINTED AN ART PIECE WHICH IS UP FOR SALE FOR $10,000 (US) DEPICTING GRAY SQUARES LAYING ON RED LETTERS SAY BA......SY! THE ART PIECE WAS DISPLAYED FOR A WEEK IN NEW ORLEANS, AND WILL TRAVEL TO LONDON, ENGLAND FOR A WEEK. ONLY IN NEW ORLEANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
CMG CMG 7 years
Those of you who support what Radtke is doing don't really know what you're talking about. The Gray Ghost is despised here in NOLA. He has taken it upon himself to paint over private murals that business owners commissioned. The gray paint is an eyesore, and he is quite literally insane. There is a local artist called NOLA Rising that painted inspiring messages all over the city when we returned from having evacuating Katrina. His messages were positive and beautifully and tastefully done. The Gray Ghost has managed to wipe out all of NOLA Rising's art, and he will surely do the same with Bansy's because he fancies himself some sort of super hero and defender of walls. Honestly, he's crazy.
doogirl doogirl 7 years
I wholeheartedly agree 100% with maebyfunke! Personally I hate the gang related graffiti. Recently on my cul-de-sac that I live on in my small town, some jerk went around and tagged the group mail box, and some fencing. I've already started to wash the paint off. I just don't want to look at that! It's not their place to choose for me what I want to look at! I don't want or like that crap in my neighborhood. It's ugly and has ugly connotations. Paint ON Gray Ghost!!!
CocoChic CocoChic 7 years
:rotfl: I love Banksy.
CocoChic CocoChic 7 years
:rotfl: I love Banksy.
baltimoregal baltimoregal 7 years
Gray Ghost also painted over signs of encouragement and paintings done by local artists. BOOO!
maebyfunke maebyfunke 7 years
There's a theory on urban crime called "Broken Windows." It goes something like this: "Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. When problems are fixed when they are small, they don't escalate into something too large for a communtiy to repair itself. Clean up the sidewalk every day, and the tendency is for litter not to accumulate (or for the rate of littering to be much less). Problems do not escalate and thus respectable residents do not flee a neighborhood." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windows I lived in New Orleans last year and volunteered with the public defenders office and from what I saw, the city needs all the help it can get in the area of crime and violence. Gray Ghost is a private citizen doing what he can to fix a problem that no one else in the community seems to care about. He should be commended for taking pride in his communtiy, not denigrated because his contribution isnt artistic enough. He's sending a message that gang graffiti, and gang violence for that matter, will not be tolerated - at least not by him. Paint on, Gray Ghost.
maebyfunke maebyfunke 7 years
There's a theory on urban crime called "Broken Windows." It goes something like this:"Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. When problems are fixed when they are small, they don't escalate into something too large for a communtiy to repair itself. Clean up the sidewalk every day, and the tendency is for litter not to accumulate (or for the rate of littering to be much less). Problems do not escalate and thus respectable residents do not flee a neighborhood." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windowsI lived in New Orleans last year and volunteered with the public defenders office and from what I saw, the city needs all the help it can get in the area of crime and violence. Gray Ghost is a private citizen doing what he can to fix a problem that no one else in the community seems to care about. He should be commended for taking pride in his communtiy, not denigrated because his contribution isnt artistic enough. He's sending a message that gang graffiti, and gang violence for that matter, will not be tolerated - at least not by him. Paint on, Gray Ghost.
macgirl macgirl 7 years
I really don't agree with what Radtke is doing. How can you call it operation clean sweep when you're not cleaning it, you're covering it with non matching paint? If my house is red and I get graffitied am I all of a sudden happy that there's a gray splotch on it? I do believe the quicker you remove the graffiti the better your chances of keeping people from doing it there again. I don't think the gray square would discourage them the same way though.
macgirl macgirl 7 years
I really don't agree with what Radtke is doing. How can you call it operation clean sweep when you're not cleaning it, you're covering it with non matching paint? If my house is red and I get graffitied am I all of a sudden happy that there's a gray splotch on it? I do believe the quicker you remove the graffiti the better your chances of keeping people from doing it there again. I don't think the gray square would discourage them the same way though.
sundaygreen sundaygreen 7 years
I simply don't like graffiti done by people who are not talented. Banksy is talented, and all his pieces are interesting and make you look twice. I actually think the 'gray ghost' is also kind of cool.
sundaygreen sundaygreen 7 years
I simply don't like graffiti done by people who are not talented. Banksy is talented, and all his pieces are interesting and make you look twice.I actually think the 'gray ghost' is also kind of cool.
ohkate ohkate 7 years
graffiti when used in gang wars or to show where one's territory is is not art. but the graffiti that banksy does has a ...higher purpose. personally I love driving around nyc and dc and seeing beautiful well done graffiti. I would like to say that the artists should work with the owners of the buildings in order to create murals but that kind of defeats the purpose of the graffiti.
Latest Home & Garden
X