LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Graffiti is popping up all over Central Florida. An artist, or two, are upping the ante by targeting a busy stretch of Interstate 4.
Large colorful graffiti can be seen popping up along the multilane highway in the Walt Disney World area. The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) want to find out who is responsible for the damage.
“Troopers we have assigned to the interstate noticed the graffiti at this location. They saw it at the entrance and exit ramps and reported it to FDOT,” FHP Lt. Kim Montes said.
The illegal art is spray-painted in areas that had recently been refreshed with new white paint. Troopers are not happy the state-owned property has been tagged.
“First of all, it’s against the law to be up there as a pedestrian. So whoever did this, you can’t be walking around standing on an interstate,” Lt. Montes said.
She said it’s not just illegal, but it’s also not safe along the busy road.
"Some might see the wall as being defaced, others see a blank canvas and viewers especially if someone is sitting in traffic for a while,” said Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, an associate studio art professor at the University of Central Florida.
She explains that smack dab in the middle of the Disney exits is prime time for a graffiti artist.
“When it comes to graffiti writing there’s always been a history of tagging and drawing murals in highly visible areas. That’s just a way of drawing attention to themselves,” Raimundi-Ortiz said.
She added that she is not surprised by the timing of these pieces either.
“You tend to see more graffiti seems to kind of explode more in times of crisis or social strife and this is one of those times. This is definitely a pressure cooker.”
“DANK SMALL” is what’s written on the larger piece. Raimundi-Ortiz said it is likely the artist’s street moniker. FHP reported the graffiti to FDOT Monday. By midday Wednesday, crews were already painting over it. Lt. Montes warns her troopers will arrest graffiti artists if they catch them in the act.
“Now that it’s on our radar, we’ll continue to look in these areas,” Lt. Montes said.
She said they could be charged with criminal mischief to start and will have to pay to have the walls repaired or repainted.
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