In late February, two young men were caught red-handed (or was it multi-color-handed?) by police tagging the side of a building at W. 41st and Lorain Avenue in Ohio with samples of their "artwork."
Ohio City firefighter Michael “Sporty” Kilbane described the scene in a Yahoo post:
Congrats once again to 2nd district police who caught another graffiti artist this morning just after 2 a.m. A second graffiti artist was caught by an unnamed Lt. from nearby Fire Station 4 when he climbed 4 stories on a fire escape to a rooftop where he discovered another vandal hiding along with his bag of criminal tools. The second “tagger” was talking on his cell phone to a third member of the crew who got away and was hiding in the bathroom of a nearby bar. These guys are responsible for quite a bit of the vandalism in our neighborhood so these recent arrests should have a big impact on keeping our neighborhood clean.
Russell Sanderson and Clark Adkins were arrested at the scene and pled not guilty before Cleveland municipal Judge Lauren C. Moore at a pre-trail hearing recently. But they agreed to apologize to local business owners at a meeting scheduled for last night.
Tremont West/Ohio City Neighborhood Safety Coordinator Andy Thomas sent out the following email:
Thanks to the cooperation and coordination among westside residents and CDCs, there was a great turnout for court watch during last Thursday’s pretrial hearing for graffiti taggers Russell Sanderson and Clark Adkins. Judge Lauren C. Moore decreed that Sanderson and Adkins must attend the next Stockyard Safety Committee meeting on April 2nd at 6:30 pm. They are required to apologize to attendees and listen to the concerns about how graffiti impacts our neighborhoods. This meeting is open to everyone, regardless of neighborhood.
About 40 residents and business owners showed up to hear from the contrite taggers. But when cameras from Channel 19 arrived at the public meeting, Sanderson and Adkins bolted without delivering the apology, apparently averse to publicity.
Sanderson hasn’t always avoided publicity. The nephew of Cleveland’s acclaimed Iron Chef Michael Symon, Sanderson provided mural art for the Strongsville location of Symon’s B-Spot restaurant, which opened last year. His work appeared in the photo accompanying an article in the Strongsville Post about the restaurant opening. The caption read:
It's a family affair for Michael Symon. The Iron Chef and his wife, Liz, opened B-Spot, their new eatery in the Greens of Strongsville on April 6. One wall is decorated with graffiti art. The work behind them was painted by Symon’s nephew, Russell Sanderson of Berea.
Apparently in the 20-mile distance between Ohio City and Strongsville, the definition of "vandalism" changes to "art." — Anastasia Pantsios