Street artists come out of the shadows for Victory Park showcase

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by JOBIN PANICKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jobinpnews

WFAA

Posted on March 21, 2013 at 10:48 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 21 at 11:30 PM

DALLAS -- You'll find it on city walls, on fences, even on city equipment. As if the world is the canvas.

"It's really a self-ego thing," said street artist Tony Slowmo. "I wanted people to know who I was. I've always naturally gravitated towards art."

Slowmo was one of several street artists who came out to a City of Dallas-sponsored showcase to sell and let the public view their art.

He admits he's put graffiti on city walls, and he's even used to Dallas bridges as his canvas for motorists to see. But police say the artwork can change a neighborhood.

"It gives that feeling of it not being safe and creates an impression of disorder," said Major Santos Cadena of Dallas Police.

Dallas police and the city scramble to erase it, but it comes at a cost.

"It's stifling economic development, it's costing taxpayers, and it's costing us to bring business to Dallas," said John Barr, who is charged with fighting the city's graffiti.

The city spends close to $3 million per year just to cover up the artwork -- that doesn't even include the cost of prosecution.

But what happened on Thursday at Victory Plaza is new. It's about embracing the art.

Daniel Dejong started street art when he was 14 years old, and on Thursday, his artwork was on display and legally.

"It made me realize I need to take it to a positive form," Dejong said.

"Other cities have tried it. They reported some success, and we're trying to replicate that in Dallas," Cadena said.

The city wants emphasize, if you see graffiti in your area feel free to dial 311 and let code enforcement know where the graffiti is.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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