August 21, 2015
Back in 2010, I published the post you’ll read below. Don’t worry, it’s short and I’ve edited it down just a bit. At the time, it was one of the little mysteries that seem to take a hold of you for a brief time, then just fades away as other things come and go. That’s life. And while the story was very interesting to me at the time, it was fleeting. But now it’s back. Here’s the original post, which I called Physical Graffiti since back then I had a strange habit of naming posts after Led Zeppelin albums. (See In Through The Out Door for another example.) And afterwards, read the major update at the end.
From June 28, 2010
I am not a fan of graffiti. Call it spray can art, freedom of expression, whatever, if you spray it on private property it is defacement and a crime.
I’ve also seen strange tags and mottos. This is one I’ve seen in at least three places in Brooklyn: “I NEVER WIPE!” or simply “NEVER WIPE!”
Is the “artist” making a statement about his strange bathroom habits? Are we being encouraged to follow suit? Your guess is as good as mine. But it beats the “I STILL KILL” I’ve seen around Staten Island.
Here is the first one I noticed:
It is sprayed on a wall alongside a bus depot across from Greenwood Cemetery. I have no idea how long it has been there but it feels like forever. I drive past it a few times each week and I can’t remember not seeing it. It is in a slightly odd location and cannot be missed as you drive down as the road does a bit of a zigzag and at one point the tag is right in front of you.
This is much more recent, within I’d guess the last year and a half. Unlike the previous one, this one includes the “I.” Does he work from a big stencil and the letter didn’t fit on the other wall? There is an identical tag on the other side of the lot, but without the arrows.
Avenue P (1)
Avenue P (2)
These two pictures were taken on the same block within fifteen feet of each other. As you can see, one is older and defaced. Did the artist do the second one after seeing how bad the first one looked? That brings up an interesting question- does this guy check up on his work? Does he replace work that has been damaged or defaced? Notice that one has the “I” and the other, presumably older one, does not. Is the “I” a recent addition? Also notice that these both lack the exclamation point.
If anyone has spotted any other “I NEVER WIPE” graffiti, please let me know.
And we’re back to 2015. Most of that graffiti faded away. The ones on Ave. P were painted over. The ones on the blue wall were destroyed when the wall was eventually taken down. A medical plaza stands there now. And the one near Greenwood Cemetery was covered by many layers of new graffiti, the most recent one being the Wu Tang Clan symbol. But just the other day, it was back. Never Wipe has struck again!
It’s back in the same place! Reclaiming its territory, I guess. And I have no doubt it is the same person responsible. Look at how precise the lettering is, identical to the older ones. But my favorite part? It has been upgraded. Never Wipe 5.0!
I don’t know if I missed 2.0., 3.0., and 4.0. but I am going to keep my eyes open for more Never Wipe graffiti.
The Return of Never Wipe! That would make a better blog title than The Return of Physical Graffiti but I’m stuck with it.