Controversial graffiti muralist Sintex declared war on out-of-town artists this summer – and it’s getting ugly.
In August, Sintex painted over a large mural that honored Vincent Chin, a Chinese-American beat to death by two white men in Highland Park in 1982. The mural was painted by Baltimore artist Gaia as part of the popular Grand River Creative Corridor on Detroit’s west side.
Soon after, Sintex painted over another mural on Grand River – this one by Los Angeles artist Revok, who was working on the Detroit Beautification Project. Sintex painted an image of Tupac clutching a gun, next to the words, “I got the juice now.”
When the mural was buffed, Sintex painted a portrait of civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who strangely is holding a placard with the name “Sintex.”
On Instagram, Sintex, who is black, said “a race war” would erupt if someone painted over his Rosa Parks image.
“u gotta be a fuckin dick to go over rosa parks on rosa parks blv.. I am out here raining supreme over theese toys..they know they cant fuck with me.. they diss pac..my pi ru homies will see them fuckerz..and the rest of Detroit who loves pac..its going back up..prob over some fuck who doesn’t belong.”
Then this month, one of Sintex’s most notable murals– Art of War –in the Grand River Creative Corridor was defaced with a black, bubbly lettered, “Revok.”
At the Eastern Market this month, large-scale murals by Revok and his Los Angeles-based crew MSK were vandalized.
Sintex has been vocal on social media about his disdain for out-of-towner murals, saying more curated work should go to local artists. (A lot of it does. Check out the locally painted HopCat in Midtown. “The Z” parking garage in downtown and the Grand River Creative Corridor include local and out-of-town artists.)
When I tried to interview Sintex for a story this summer, he didn’t mince words. He was angry that I wrote a story about him painting over the Vincent Chin mural.
“I wished I kicked u in yo fuckin neck,” he wrote to me on Facebook. “Kill yourself better than what I am going to do.”
Here is the Vincent Chin mural.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.