There once was a street artist who decided to take things to another level. And his name was not Banksy. His name was Roadsworth, or Peter Gibson, as he was later presented by the police. His art consisted in painting. It was based on the premise that a painter needs not create from scratch. The city's canvas is full of beginnings, sketches, potential paintings. As Dali, when lying in the hospital bed during his last months, kept seeing new things appear out of the stones that made up the wall he saw through the window, so did Roadsworth see the streets as an undiscovered land. And discover he did.
Until in 2004 the Montreal Police (the plot of our story takes place in Montreal, Canada) decided he had crossed the line.
They stepped in.
As the folks at Wooster Collective put it,
Roadsworth was arrested for over 80 counts of mischief and is now facing up to $250,000 in fines for his street liberations.The CitizenShift site has the whole story with pictures, films, and some text. For the street-art curious, there is a decent links page. The site seems to defend Roadsworth, as do Wooster Collective. I would defend some of his work, but there seem to be several works which as a driver (or pedestrian) I would simply find dangerous. They go beyond a subtle intervention (as is the case on the first picture you see) and change the street signs quite drastically. And that, my friends, seems like a naughty thing to do. Especially, since Roadsworth really doesn't seem to have anything against the fact that Montreal has street signs to direct the traffic. And if he doesn't, why subvert it? Unwilling sabotage?