Graffiti comes in many shapes, sizes and degrees of criminality
, but a new photo project spotlights the street art that features things we put in our mouths -- and it has nothing to do with d*cks drawn on bathroom stalls
is a collection of food-themed street art found in New York City, from buttered toast to angry vegetables, and all the tasty tags in between.
At the helm of the project is 34-year-old Arthur Bovino, who was inspired to document food graffiti in 2006, after a friend pointed out a tag in Greenpoint which simply said "Egg Yolk." From there, he began noticing other menu items spray-painted and plastered on the streets of New York, as well as in Brussels, Copenhagen and Madrid.
The newly launched website contains more than 1,500 images of food graffiti, snapped over the last 18 months. The prevalence of cuisine as street art
might seem odd to some, but, as Bovino notes, "Food is iconic and memorable." Just ask anyone who's ever stared at a still-life with fruit.
"Food has long been part of graffiti's language," Bovino tells Asylum. "Conflict between taggers? Beef. A common word for plagiarism? Bite. Words, like 'Burn' (outdo competition), 'Ding Dong' (a subway car, named for the bell alerting people to closing doors) aren't necessarily food-inspired, but they're open to interpretation."
The most common food tags in NYC are pasta, soup and katsu
(a Japanese pork dish) with cupcake imagery not far behind. But according to Bovino, an editor at soon-to-launch food blog The Daily Meal
, much of the street art you run into depends on the neighborhood you're in.
"In the East Village, Pasta, Pork, and Soup rule. In Williamsburg, it's Egg Yolk," he says. "Brisk duked it out with Katsu on the Williamsburg Bridge, but Brisk practically owned the Brooklyn Bridge
Bovino's most prized tags are those he calls "Masa Words
," named after the $500 prix-fixe omakase meal at Masa
, a wallet-busting restaurant in Columbus Circle. Like the dinner, the tags are big bank and hard to come by. Knish, Bok Choy, Miso, Arepas and Bacon
all make the Masa gallery.
"It's kind of funny to see these while walking down the street," says Bovino. It's also makes you kind of hungry.