WRITING ON THE WALL

A game of one-upmanship between a graffiti artist and the city of London, in photos

Obsession
Design
Obsession
Design

A street fight doesn’t need to be violent—heck, it doesn’t even need people. In this series of photos, UK graffiti artist Mobstr pits spray paint against the cleaning tools of East London street washers, to claim a city wall.

“I noticed that graffiti painted within the red area was ‘buffed’ with red paint. However, graffiti outside of the red area would be removed via pressure washing,” explains Mobstr on his personal website, about the electrical substation that he had cycled past for years. Just to see what would happen, Mobstr tagged the word “RED” on the wall. Soon it was painted over. Naturally, he kept painting—and so did the cleaners.

“I am glad they were as dedicated to their work as I was to mine,” he told Quartz. The cheeky back-and-forth below concludes with a charming détente.

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