Gangplank Turns a Tag into The Chandler Urban Arts Project

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When Gangplank, the Chandler-based co-working and event space was tagged, its collaborative occupants decided to take matters into their own hands.

"The city painted over [the tag] with regular brown paint, but that just means it'll be right back up in a few days," says Mike Benner, Gangplank Jr. Initiative Head. "There's an unwritten rule that you don't tag over a nice piece."

So they asked Johnny Biewald (aka Jevvy Jev) and Nate Houtz (aka Nasty Nate) from Tabu Tattoo to take over the back wall.

"It was this great spontaneous thing," Benner says. "We didn't expect the huge positive response. It's turned into this great interest in urban artwork that we're hoping to run with and help local artists."

Gangplank plans on hosting a monthly competition among urban artists, using two other blank building walls as canvas. "We're going to create more time-lapse videos and let people vote on them," Benner says. "Whoever wins gets to stay on and compete in the next month. "It'll keep everything fresh."

Benner says that the Gangplank crew didn't want to waste time and resources finding out who tagged their building -- they'd rather spend their money on art.

Gangplank also plans on holding classes on urban art technique and style. "The art not only adds some appeal to the area, but it can actually get the kids involved and teach them how to become artists."

"A lot of graffiti artists come from lower income areas and don't have a way to express themselves, so they have this art form that is truly theirs," Benner says. "The more people we can get involved in this project, the more positive it can be."

Check out more about the Chandler Urban Art Project here.

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