To police and myriad small business owners throughout central Madison, not to mention downtown residents and workers weary of the sight, the territorial markings left by the city's most prolific tagger are hardly true or real.
The annoyance and costs created by the self-declared "Trill" are the subject of a new short documentary by UW student Alex Martin, host of the Friday night show Booyakasha! on WSUM, which features hip-hop and electronic music. He interviews UWPD Lower Campus Community Officer Heidi Laundrie and Park Street restaurateur Khamming Baccam about their experiences in dealing with the tags.
Martin's three-and-a-half-minute video -- complete with a soundtrack featuring Paul Wall's "Trill" -- follows below
Though currently less ubiquitous than in the early months of 2006, the tags left by the attention-seeking "Trill" have generated considerable animosity over the last couple of years. Freelance writer (and Isthmus contributor) Nathan Comp crowned the tagger the "King of Lame," writing:
His moniker has become nearly as ubiquitous as the Golden Arches. Like his artistically challenged peers, Trill targets small, locally owned businesses, for whom the chore of removing spray paint is a costly one. Sadly, it isn't uncommon to see downtown business owners scrubbing the sloppy signature of a criminal from the walls of their establishment.
Similar sentiments were expressed around the same time by UW law school graduate Zachary Wyatt. He wrote:
I think what aggravates me most, as an appreciator of the art that graffiti can be, is how wholly un-artistic TRILL is. There is no consistency to the tags. There is no attempt to stylize the letters. It is almost exclusively sloppy, capital letters. I have seen attempts at more stylized scripts or block letters and they always look terrible. I guess Trill takes the path of least resistance.Wyatt suggested throwing the book at the "hack," while Comp suggested a more inventive form of retribution: "If it were up to me, anybody caught tagging would have the name of the business they vandalized tattooed on their body. Forever."
And not only are the tags ugly, they are everywhere. I assume that part of the point of tagging is to get your tag out there. The more markings the better. But there is definitely a saturation point. When the same bus shelter has the same ugly tag on it in five different places, I just want to scream, "I get it! You were able to hit this shelter. Move on."