Not a Smoked, but a Smoking Duck
July 8, 2011 10:12 PM   Subscribe

Is there anything to these examples of Kansas City graffiti?

I was taking artsy pictures of graffiti the other day, and found myself curious as to whether any of these stood for something, or had origins elsewhere (even art-wise), or just why someone would put these on a wall. I've tried looking these up through various searches, but was unable to find anything that fit.

Blue umbrellas [1] and [2]

A smoking duck and a smoking goose/another duck.

Some stencils of a few famous and well known iconic figures. And since I don't know, who is the purple stencil of? Who is the green-tie wearing chick? I know the other one is Wonder Woman.

An eye in a hand

and finally, this odd one that almost looks like Darth Vader as a melting waxwork.

I am -so- curious about these! Are they gang symbols? Just random stencils? Did someone start spray painting these elsewhere, and now it's a thing? And -why-, oh WHY, the smoking birds?
posted by DisreputableDog to Society & Culture (9 answers total)
Best answer: My guess is purple = Friday Kahlo, tie wearer = Anne Frank. Regarding the artist, I got nothing. The work of Banksy has popularized whimsical stencilarizing ...
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 10:20 PM on July 8, 2011

d'oh. Frida Kahlo
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 10:26 PM on July 8, 2011

Best answer: It looks like some Art Institute kids out stenciling in the crossroads area.

Gang graffiti in my neighborhood (midtown KCK) is never stencilled. Can't speak for other areas, but taggers don't usually take the time to paste up a stencil, let alone more than one for multiple.

I bet the proximity to the galleries answers the question. Your photo of the tattoo shop Wonder Woman is a wall near Mercy Seat, right? You could pop in and ask. I bet one or more of those guys is in on it.
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 10:47 PM on July 8, 2011

Yeah, those are almost certainly all stencils. I don't see gangs doing that kind of thing, since they generally are just tagging: I think this is an art project. I would also put my bet on Banksy fans. This stuff is not as involved as his, but they do seem to have the same spirit for public decoration.
posted by Gilbert at 11:27 PM on July 8, 2011

Seconding that Green Tie= Ann Frank
The others I don't know.
posted by SLC Mom at 12:25 AM on July 9, 2011

Best answer: Yup. The Anne Frank one looks to be this image.

Purple woman looks to me more like Salma Hayek than Frida Kahlo herself, but can't seem to find any similar photo (and paging through the Google Image search for "salma hayek" is making me feel a little sleazy).

Agree that this is probably not gang-related at all. That stuff tends to look more like this.

Some more umbrellas.
posted by DLWM at 2:20 AM on July 9, 2011

Definitely not gang-related. That almost made me laugh out loud when I read that. Probably college-age literary types with a joy in public mischief. The umbrellas could be a reference to Joyce's Ulysses since it was just Bloomsday. Smoking duck, I have no idea. Somebody probably adopted it as something of a trademark. I had a friend whose trademark character was a three-headed killer rabbit. The graffiti artist Dalek has his signature Space Monkey. Picasso had his bulls and minotaurs.

@DLWM: I love the I heart umbrellas graffiti.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 5:51 AM on July 9, 2011

posted by sneebler at 12:30 PM on July 9, 2011

I agree with S'Tella Fabula that it is probably just some Art Institute kids out stenciling. I often bike through neighborhoods around the KCAI and I see a lot of that kind of stenciling on various things around there (stop signs, etc.)
posted by whatideserve at 5:53 PM on July 16, 2011

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