The Great Graffiti Paint-Out

by on June 21, 2009 · 25 comments

in Environment, Labor, OB Flashes!, Ocean Beach, Organizing

OCEAN BEACH, CA.  Saturday, June 20th, was the first (for some) Great Graffiti Paint-out for Sunset Cliffs, marred by countless taggings.

Twenty people showed up bright and early and proceeded to paint clean the entire stretch from Orchard north to the Pier. Special thanks go out to Ed Baer, Lou, and Jon Carr for making this happen. Cheers to you!

Others who showed up – thanks from the community to: Haley Porter, Shawn Conrad, Bob Edwards, Lisa Porter, Doug Porter, and other whose names will be found out.

Video courtesy of Steve Perez

Here is the first batch of photos – from Doug Porter and Pat James. More to come.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Dave Gilbert June 21, 2009 at 1:40 pm

You guys rock! I wish I could have been there, good on ya!


avatar Patty Jones June 21, 2009 at 8:47 pm

I’m so freaking proud of you all!


avatar OB Joe June 21, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Shawn Conrad caught on film! and they got your good side, too.


avatar mr fresh June 22, 2009 at 7:44 am

right on! community activism feels (and looks) great!


avatar jon June 22, 2009 at 8:27 am

Hey guys, we made an appearance in the Reader too…


avatar doug porter June 22, 2009 at 8:41 am

yaaaa! we made the Reader! Does that mean we get free botox or something?


avatar lane tobias June 22, 2009 at 8:45 am

watching that video really pounded home just how bad the tagging was. it was not pretty, and you guys did an awesome job. Since there is no doubt going to be some kind of return fire, I will gladly volunteer for the next one.

again, thank you so much for your hard work. Im sure the mimosas tasted extra sweet saturday morning.


avatar mr fresh June 22, 2009 at 8:49 am

too bad for those who missed the “safety meeting”, lol.


avatar jon June 22, 2009 at 9:07 am

Doug – The Reader has offered your choice of a free medical marijuana evaluation, a travel size packet of cialis, or two strategically placed botox injections.


avatar jon June 22, 2009 at 9:15 am

Lane – The videographer Steve did a great job and it was nice to have him there. He obviously had to edit quite a bit of it, there was a part of my interview where I stressed that we were not out to hunt taggers, just clean up our town and by doing so, chase them out. I also mentioned that we wanted to try to put together some sort of sanctioned graffiti art event where these guys could express themselves and share their talents in a more productive non-destructive way. There were only one or two very small sections that we painted over that showed any hint of artistic quality. 99.99% of it was just garbage.


avatar annagrace June 22, 2009 at 10:26 am

OB does it right! A job well done & a great video. (I’m trying not to think too hard about underwear as yet another form of beach bilge….)


avatar Shawn Conrad June 22, 2009 at 3:42 pm

I don’t have a bad side. Gratz everyone. It was really satisying knowing that I was helping when Frank and Lane were not.


avatar Dave Gilbert June 22, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Doug, I think you should hold out and insist on their T-shirt with the backwards “R” on it! ;)


avatar PSD June 23, 2009 at 6:02 pm

You guys are awesome, a million thanks to each and every one of you! I’m just now getting my computer back online after a week (stupid me acquired a virus), I had no idea this actually came together. I’m decidedly on the hook to volunteer next time the group gets together…


avatar DL June 23, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Thank you all so much for doing this. I live directly above where you were working and spend the majority of the day yelling at the people down there to please clean-up after themselves, to please stop carving into the rocks, and to please stop urinating in the tide-pools…the transient problem around the cliffs has gotten so bad that this morning I found a case of toilet-paper hidden by the bushes/restroom. Let me know how I can help on the next event.


avatar DL June 24, 2009 at 6:35 am

Just an FYI…they tagged the walls last night. This sucks.


avatar jon June 24, 2009 at 7:51 am

Hi DL,

I know. I saw it this morning. We won a major battle last weekend with the great paint out, but we all knew this was just the beginning. As I type, there are a few dedicated community members with paint from Saturday that are already headed down there to paint over the new stuff. We have the same color paint so the colors will match well. Our paint was donated. These guys have to buy (or steal) their own. Let’s make sure we waste their money by covering it up right away. We have a pretty solid network over email and phone contacts to help get the word out immediately. If you or anyone else would like to join the street team please send your contact info to

This will get you on the email list and you can report new activity, or if you’re really motivated, we can get you a bucket of paint to store at home and you can help by painting out small new tags as they appear. Together we can make a difference.


avatar OB Joe June 24, 2009 at 8:38 am

Great job you guys. IT is an on-going problem. And remember, OB does have homeless people. I don’t think it’s the homeless doing the tagging, for afterall why would a homeless person go buy spray paint and tag something. So, there could be several sources of all the trash. I hope this anti-graffiti wave in OB does not become a NIMBY movement against the homeless, PLEASE!


avatar jon June 24, 2009 at 8:55 am

Hey Joe,

I have no problem with the homeless. I DO have a BIG problem with mess of litter and trash left behind by them. I have the same problem with litter bugs that aren’t homeless. I agree that the homeless are most likely not the source of tagging. So, I would like this to be more of an awareness issue. I don’t want to harass any of the homeless that are out there. But if they’re leaving a freakin’ mess all over our shoreline, then something has to be done about that. It’s just as important to me for aesthetic value as it is for the environmental impact. We picked up a LOT of trash out there, and frankly the tide pools looked a little worse for wear with all the urine and trash, etc…

So while I don’t want to wage any sort of battle against the homeless, I would like to promote a little more awareness about the litter problem along the cliffs. That includes Graffiti as litter. Live and let live, yes. But when you’re living all over me and our ocean with trash and filth, we have a problem.


avatar OB Joe June 24, 2009 at 9:11 am

jon – well said. I just wanted to raise this part of it and throw it into the mix.

trash, litter, taggings, rock etchings, human urine in the tide pools. I also understand that the great people who picked up garbage last Saturday found a lot of Ben and Jerry ice cream containers … what’s up with that?


avatar jon June 24, 2009 at 9:17 am

LOL! Are those things recyclable?


avatar jon June 24, 2009 at 10:47 am

If you just had too much fun on Saturday and can’t wait to paint over tagging again, North Park is doing the same thing July 11th. North Park and OB have always been complimentary to each other in my mind.


avatar Gary Gilmore June 24, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Whoever donated the paint should get a little recognition. It was a generous & neighborly gesture. If they’re a business or a service provider I’d like to patronize them. Also: if you could tell us what colors & brands were used to cover up the tagging we could continue to use the same colors so things don’t get to looking too patchy. Jon, I like what you said about North Park. I’ve always felt the same about that neighborhood.


avatar jon June 24, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Thanks Gary,

The paint was actually donated through a city program that one of the other organizers named Ed knew about. He is apparently getting more soon. We still have a few gallons that were dispersed between some of the volunteers from the day. It’s difficult to match the colors exactly because it’s so expensive to do and that’s a whole lotta wall! But we are trying our best. And pretty much everyone agrees that it’s better than the tagging that was there before.

Sometime in July the Urban Corps of San Diego is “supposed” to take over maintaining the wall, and at that time, they will have better resources to be able to match paint. For now, we are just trying to keep it under control and try our best not to be too “patchy.”


avatar nomorelitternomoretagging June 26, 2009 at 10:39 am

Thanks to everyone who pitched in to help clean up the cliffs. There is still much to be done. E-mail if you want to help keep Ocean Beach beautiful! We are looking for volunteers to help out in a variety of ways. Let us know if you have any clues as to who might be responsible for disrespecting our streets and beaches! REWARD AVAILABLE


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