South Hill Neighbors Faced With Graffiti As Art

SPOKANE — Is it graffiti or is it art? That is the question people in one South Hill neighborhood are asking after a massive mural showed up on the front of one homeowner’s fence.

As far as the city is concerned a wall at 14th and Lincoln is legal, constitutionally protected freedom of expression on private property. Some neighbors say it doesn’t fit and some have already filed complaints with the city.

“It looks like the side of a railway car,” Martin Nelson said.

Artist Tim Piper sees the mural in a different light.

“I have a problem with the kids that write their names on the walls. Impress me. Do something incredible with art,” Piper said.

Like it or not the mural Piper painted at a South Hill home is 30 feet long, six feet high and was all done with eight shades of spray paint.

“It is natural, inherent to create to paint on walls, to leave our mark,” Piper said.

That’s why the owner of a South Hill home wanted Tim Piper to paint the mural and leave his mark. So Piper left his mark by painting a history of graffiti on the homeowner’s wall.

“From the caveman up through the Egyptians to the renaissance up through new graffiti, American graffiti,” Piper said.

Piper hopes his 170 square foot mural sends a message to spray paint toting teens that “writing your name is not so impressive, do something pretty with it.”

He also was hoping that neighbors would like the mural as well but so far some aren’t that impressed.

“The artwork belongs on the other side of the fence,” Martin Nelson, who lives around the corner from the home, said.

“I think its a cool piece of art, but I don’t think it belongs on a fence in a neighborhood like this,” he added. “[T]his just brings an urban railway motif to this neighborhood and it doesn’t fit. It doesn’t match.”

Editor’s Note: The owner of the home where Tim Piper painted the mural declined to identify himself for this story.