Street Artist Tags With Impunity In Uptight Singapore

A street artist has been tagging with impunity in Singapore, known for its harsh rules to keep streets clean. How did he do it?

Singapore, known for its strict rules in order to keep its streets from being "dirty," has seen an uptick of street appear.  The city-based nation considers graffiti illegal, and will not only jail taggers and fine them, but also beat them with canes as a form of mandated corporal punishment.  This was best demonstrated on a young American, who earned international attention for the caning back in the 1990s.  The artist this time, Ernest Zacharevic, managed to bypass the law completely in a somewhat clever (though non-rebellious) way:  By getting permission.

Ernest Zacharevic, a visual artist who has done drawing and video work, has expanded to street art in the past couple years.  The artist has hit up several spots in Belgium, Italy, and Malaysia, including a very recent image that caused controversy in Malaysia due to its Legoland satire.  Tagging Singapore would be no simple task, given the corporal punishment law, but Zacharevic sought to tag there for precisely that reason.

After giving it much thought, Zacharevic started planning and casing for spots in Singapore, especially along the eastern portion of the city nation.  However, his appearance caught the attention of a couple local businesses, particularly AMC Asia, a marketing firm, who asked to paint street art on their walls.  From there, other businesses started asking for Zacharevic, and in turn he started painting more murals along several walls.

Strangely, Zacharevic's actions were met mostly with adoration by Singaporeans.  Singapore authorities, for the most part, left the artwork alone, because of Zacharevic's successful subversion.  They did object to one set of murals being done on a conserved building, but backed off when they saw it as being "tastefully done."

Granted, this method of posting materials will not cater to most taggers, especially the likes of Banksy and some members of the Wooster Collective, who prefer striking secretively and anonymously.  But art is art, after all.  If this is one way to do it, so be it.

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