Michael Flaherty

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The Litter Experiment

In 2010 Scanlon's Lane was the site of a strange dispute between a business owner, some artists and St. John's city council. The owner of a business backing onto the alley commissioned a group of local artists to create a mural on the side of his building. The artists created a lively, colourful landscape depicting a beach and palm trees. One city councillor objected to what he considered graffiti (the mural was spray painted in a definite urban art style). The business owner was put through the wringer for altering his bulding's appearance without the proper permits, which, I gather, would never have been granted if he had asked for them in advance. The instance was a clear case of an attempt by the councillor to censor based on his own artistic preferences, and showed his total ignorance of the difference between graffiti and a commissioned mural. All this considered, I thought Scanlon's Lane was an ideal site for one of my pieces of urban art. I like how the cup lasted so long in this confrontational environment, and I even felt a sort of acknowledgement when someone placed an old rotten paper cup next to my porcelain one.

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