Street art’s Endless Canvas makes good with community

Artwork in Special Delivery’s art show which drew an estimated 5,000 people to west Berkeley on Sept. 8. Photo: dyannaanfang

The organizer of an underground graffiti show that attracted thousands of people to west Berkeley on Sept. 8 has helped ensure that tagging that appeared on many neighborhood buildings after the exhibition has been covered over.

The Special Delivery Bay Area 2012 event, which was orchestrated by Endless Canvas, saw dozens of street artists blanket the interior of the Carbon Warehouse in the former Flint Ink building at 1350 Fourth Street with graffiti and spray-painted artworks. Its organizer, who declines to reveal his name, told Berkeleyside that, once it was apparent that tagging had been done after the show, he personally walked the neighborhood cleaning it up, along with “a large group of muralists who were featured in the exhibit who volunteered on their own accord to buff out the amateur tagging around the neighborhood.”

“Five thousand people showed up from across the country with their families … to view the Special Delivery 2012 mural exhibit,” he said via email. “There wasn’t a single fight, no one got injured, and out of hundreds of graffiti artists who came to respectfully view the artwork only a few young kids who don’t understand the ethics of the culture caught tags.”

The graffiti documented by Berkeleyside on many walls around the 1300 blocks of Fourth and Fifth streets on September 9 was no longer visible on Sept. 17.

The Endless Canvas organizer added that the organization is offering to create murals for local businesses. “We stress that we support art and beautification of the community. Beyond removing the tagging from the neighbors (much of which existed before our exhibit) we are offering to organize community murals for any business interested.”

The organizer did not respond to further questions about whether the group had asked Special Delivery artists and guests to respect the neighborhood ahead of the event. Neither did he say whether anyone had taken them up on the mural offer.

The Special Delivery show will be open to the public on Sunday Sept. 23 and Sunday Sept. 30 from noon to 6:00pm. Alcohol and bags are prohibited; cameras are allowed, and donations are welcome. For details, including the names of the artists involved, visit the Special Delivery website.

Berkeley buildings defaced after underground graffiti event [09.10.12]

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  • Chris

    That was fast. If it was done to the neighbors satisfaction, then Bravo!

  • TizziLish

    I’m curious about the changed wall colors. Was that reddish brown wall that now looks gray always gray?  Was the very pink-looking wall always gray?


    Kudos to the organization behind this interesting tagging art show. It is wonderful that they stepped up and did what they could to ameliorate the damage, even though they were not really, in my opinion, legally responsible for the vandalism. Class act.

  • Kathleen

    The clean up is certainly appreciated.  I am pleased to learn that the next public exhibition will be during daylight hours for the benefit of attendees and neighbors.  

  • GC


  • Charles_Siegel

    “out of hundreds of graffiti artists who came to respectfully view the
    artwork only a few young kids who don’t understand the ethics of the
    culture caught tags.”

    He seems to be claiming that the “ethics of the graffiti culture” forbids tagging other people’s property.  Does anyone believe that?

    I appreciate the clean-up, as we all do.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Notice that the street is a different color as well as the building.  It is just a photographic effect.  The buildings really did not change color.

  • Will

    To answer a question raised in the article, the website for this event did specifically ask attendees not to vandalize nearby buildings.

  • The “before” images were probably taken later in the afternoon so a red color cast shows up in the images if the photographer doesn’t adjust their camera or exposure to compensate for it. The “after” images appear to have been taken on an overcast day, either in the morning or early afternoon and so the color cast is more neutral. 

  • Aress

     The graffiti community does make attempts, in most cases like this where there is an organization trying to bridge the gap between the legalities of art and illegal nature of free speech that damages private property, to police their own.  It very well could have been a free for all, but it wasn’t.  There were isolated incidences.  For having 5000+ attendees, I’d say the dozen or so tags were the most minimal of fall out to be expected.  Although the community of graffiti is odds with what is on or off limits to paint on.  The “ethics of the graffiti culture” are complex, and outsiders tend to view that notion as hypocritical or difficult to swallow.  However, they are what they are, and for Endless Canvas and the owner of the building to step up like they did shows that the community DOES have ethical obligations, when necessary.  There is also an obligation to the artistic endeavor they have chosen, so it is a double edged sword, and a veru nuanced art medium.

  • Charles_Siegel

     You say that “the community of graffiti is at odds with what is on or off limits to paint on,” and you think that proves that it is a “very nuanced art medium.”

    Are you serious about that?  Some taggers with vandalize other people’s property, and some will not.  And you seriously claim that this proves graffiti is a nuanced form of art? 

    I presume that, for this reason, you consider graffiti more subtle and nuanced that Michelangelo, who didn’t vandalize other people’s property without permission. 

    And I presume that you do not think it is logically possible that a group of people could do low quality art, and that some people in this group would vandalize others’ property while some would not.  This group must be made up of “nuanced” artists; it couldn’t be that the group just happens to include some criminals.

  • Kelly

    I’m really disappointed that the media outlets have chosen to mostly ignore the amazing accomplishments of this event and show.  You have something really great in your midst and you choose to ignore it.  What an amazing mix of ages and cultural groups this show hosted so peacefully.  A grass roots, free event, focused around art.  It was a truly great celebration!

  • TheHeaddog

    The crew behind Endless Canvas are a class act and didn’t deserve the bad publicity brought on by a few disrespectful morons.  I say give them a HUGE round of applause for making things right in the hood’. 

  • Official SPECIAL DELIVERY Bay Area 2012 VIDEO by Mapache Films…