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  • 02Sep

    'Paint Straight' Showcasing Graffiti Taggers’ Art

    From NYT

    Tionna was tagging a bus shelter near her home in Brownsville, Brooklyn, a couple of months ago when the police rolled up. They caught her green-Sharpie-handed, somewhere in the middle of Mzztiinkabab3z, her pen name.

    As part of her probation, Tionna, 14 — the authorities would not release her last name because she’s a juvenile — attended a weekly art program started by the city Department of Probation, called “Paint Straight.” On Wednesday afternoon, she and eight other young taggers had an art opening at the department’s office in the Family Court building in downtown Brooklyn.

    Paint Straight, run by two graffiti artists, Rafael “Tatu” Perez and Tynneal “Tyrox” Grant, is intended to demonstrate that young people “are not criminals for wanting to show off their artistic talents to the world,” the Department of Probation said.

    For her untitled piece for the show, done in acrylic, art marker and collage, Tionna, who starts at Brooklyn High School of the Arts in Boerum Hill next week, pulled out all the stops.

    “First there’s land, and grass and sky, and I put a lake, and I have two people standing on the lake as if they were Adam and Eve,” she said. “I have Care Bears in the picture, and a spirit that represents God, and I have my tag name, bursting out.”

    Tionna said she had retired from tagging bus shelters.

    “We’ve been writing on walls and stuff since caveman times,” Tionna said. “But there was no rules back in Neanderthal times. This program helps me tag legally.”

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