Borf busted!

sweetWho hasn’t noticed the tagger around town call Borf? The one who spray painted highway signs as well as walls, bins, and pretty much anything he could on a quixotic quest to tell us about Borf? Well yesterday, the police noticed him in action and we now can put a name and face to the graffiti – John Tsombikos , an 18-year-old art student from Great Falls, VA. An 18-year old they will throw the book at as an adult for defacing public or private property.

Now the debate about his painting being art or defacement aside (I happen to like some of his art), what strikes me most about the WashPost article on Borf are the quotes about his folks:

“he… cut cardboard stencils on his parents’ living room floor. He spoke sneeringly of ‘rich people,’ though sometimes when he parked in the city his parents gave him $14 for the garage.”

So not only did they know he was spray painting all over DC, they even gave him money to do so – Borf’s folks helped Borf to deface DC!! In lawyer terms that’s called aiding and abetting, and I say throw the book at Mom & Dad as well as son. He only recently turned 18, so I say the prosecutors should go after them as either parents (under 18) or accomplices (over 18), but either way, they should be out there doing community service right along with their tagging son.

Parents have a responsibility to control their kids, not give ’em $14 and tell them “go mess up DC, not your own suburb”.

14 Comments so far

  1. Charles (unregistered) on July 14th, 2005 @ 10:00 am

    Please erase the image above… the photograph belongs to myself and you do not have permission to use it. I don’t know where you took it from but it is liscenced under a Creative Common’s liscence…

    I do not agree with your posting of this news and I am not going to let you use my images to support your statement. Keep looking.


  2. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on July 14th, 2005 @ 10:15 am

    Apologies, Charles. I’ve pulled the image.

  3. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on July 14th, 2005 @ 10:16 am

    Or, actually, Wayan beat me to it.

  4. wayan (unregistered) on July 14th, 2005 @ 10:17 am

    Charles, you’d be amazed at the power of Google Image Search. While the press has the ability to use other’s images & text under the “Fair Use” guidelines, I’ll respect your request because I actually like some of Borf’s art and a good amount of graffiti in general.

    What really makes me mad about Borf is that his folks knew what he was doing and seemingly encouraged him to do it in the District. Not on/around Great Falls where they live, or on permission walls where we could all enjoy it, but on DC public & private property.

  5. Erin Myers (unregistered) on July 14th, 2005 @ 10:54 pm

    I actually found Borf’s work to go beyond defacement in many cases, and border on – gasp – art. Seeing new work by this guy never caused me to question why he was “messing up” DC, but gave me pause, and inspired wonder at the hours some people keep.

  6. chris (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 12:42 pm

    I’ve never thought of his art as vandalism, I’ve always thought it was something that added a little more personality to the city, along with a little bit of mystery.

    I’ve spotted a few “Free Borf,” graffitis in the Dupont Circle to Adams Morgan area last night.

  7. Julian Sanchez (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 1:40 pm

    (1) I looked at that creative commons license. It requires attribution but otherwise allows copying. So provided the photographer’s name is provided, Charles has waived any right to insist that his image not be used, regardless of whether he agrees with your post.

    (2) Why are “art” and “defacement” framed as mutually exclusive? If Picasso had put up the Guernica on the side of some unwilling person’s house, it would obviously still be (great) art. It would also obviously still be defacement.

  8. tomorrow (unregistered) on July 22nd, 2005 @ 1:43 pm

    Tomorrow, Saturday July 23rd

    MEET BORF at Dupont Circle

    Meet at 4pm in Dupont Circle for a celebration and discussion of public art, graffiti and vandalism. There will be sidewalk chalk, stencil cutting materials, free spray paint, hopscotch, handstands, millions of dollars, and the first in a series of communiques from Borf. Borf is not caught. Come tomorrow so we can talk about what all this shit means.

  9. Erin Myers (unregistered) on July 23rd, 2005 @ 4:27 pm

    Funny, I have pics of Borf’s work enlarged and hanging on the walls of my house… does that destroy some space/time art/defacement continuum in some galaxy somewhere? :)

  10. anonymity (unregistered) on August 4th, 2005 @ 10:37 am

    I find it offensive that you would go after his parents. The fact is his parents knew they couldn’t control him, they just didn’t want it in his area. So what? They give a damn about their area. Stop and think before you come to conclusions about someone’s parents.

    And long live borf.

  11. wayan (unregistered) on August 4th, 2005 @ 10:53 am

    Ah, that’s it. If I have a kid I feel I can’t control best to give him the car and parking money so he can wreck some other neighborhood.

    Anon, be brave, post where you live and I will personally give the hoods on my block taxi fare so they can come to your pretty street and spray paint your house. I don’t doubt you’d find that offenisve even though it’s exactly what Borf’s Mom did.

  12. AbuSe N.e.T.c (unregistered) on December 7th, 2005 @ 11:42 am

    Borf is a legend and who ever dont think that got problems. I might not no him but yeah i give him mad props for all his work in the dc area. Im a new tagger and hope to come out. you might see my tags or throw ups around dc md va. Mad props to all A.M Team and N.e.t.c NEVA ENDING THIS CRIME!!!!!!F*ck five 0

  13. dog (unregistered) on February 10th, 2006 @ 10:26 am

    Hey Borf
    Daddy’s money can’t keep you out of jail now, you rebel.


  14. wayan (unregistered) on February 10th, 2006 @ 10:54 am

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