muckraker report

Art, vandalism or civil disobedience? “Fire extinguisher graffiti” splashed on Detroit buildings

The nearly 90-year-old CPA building on Michigan Avenue is streaked with turquoise paint, and its ornate, limestone entrance defaced.

On the east side, an abandoned dollar store and vacant house along Chene also were targeted with the same erratic paint patterns, presumably from a fire extinguisher packed with paint, over the past few days.

The motive is unclear. It’s hard to imagine something so ugly and obnoxious as art.

Is it just vandalism or is someone trying to make a statement on blight?

Remember when a group of artists painted the sides of houses bright orange in 2006 to draw attention to derelict buildings?

Whatever the case, the “fire extinguisher” graffiti adds to the increasingly juvenile tags that are consuming Detroit’s abandoned restaurants, schools, houses, churches and commercial buildings. Virtually nothing is off limits for some vandals.


Steve Neavling

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.

  • The People of Detroit

    I hope the person who is doing this, gets sprayed with something worse than paint.

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  • james

    ass hats

  • Christopher

    Let’s not give too much media attention to this, then it does indeed become art. I’m all for vandalism as art, but this is vandalism masquerading as “art”.

  • Bob

    Katie Craig promotes the fire extinguisher stuff with the Illumination Mural ( I don’t know whether the various similar pieces (mostly in their home Northend neighborhood) are associated or copycat, but I’ve always wanted to hear her differentiate her piece from these tags.

    • Bob

      edit: Illuminated Mural, got the name wrong

  • Darin McLeskey

    I hope they’re not trending towards my house. I don’t know if that little thing can handle any more graffiti.

    • Steve Neavling

      I hope not too. I live on Chene near Lafayette now, so I see your place almost every day.