Artist Draws 'Clean' Graffiti from Dirty Walls

Some British Officials See Moose's Handiwork as Vandalism

Moose draws on a dirty tunnel wall in Leeds, England.

Moose draws on a dirty tunnel wall in Leeds, England. Alex Coley © Symbollix 2003 hide caption

itoggle caption Alex Coley © Symbollix 2003
Moose draws on a tunnel wall in Leeds, England.

Moose draws on a dirty tunnel wall in Leeds, England. Alex Coley © Symbollix 2003 hide caption

itoggle caption Alex Coley © Symbollix 2003

A British street artist known as Moose creates graffiti by cleaning dirt from sidewalks and tunnels — sometimes for money when the images are used as advertising. But some authorities call it vandalism.

Moose, whose real name is Paul Curtis, tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that he got the idea when he saw that people had written their names with their fingers on dirty tunnel walls in his hometown of Leeds. Moose does some freehand drawing, but also uses the grid from wall tiles to create perfect shapes and letters.

The tools are simple: A shoe brush, water and elbow grease, he says.

British authorities aren't sure what to make of the artist who is creating graffiti by cleaning the grime of urban life. The Leeds City Council has been considering what to do with Moose. "I'm waiting for the kind of Monty Python court case where exhibit A is a pot of cleaning fluid and exhibit B is a pair of my old socks," he jokes.

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