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Instead of Tagging Real-Life Surfaces, Graffiti Artists Can Use a New Simulator

Fake bombing has never felt so real

smithsonian.com

Is graffiti a legitimate art form? Street artists like Blu think so—he was so enraged by a gallery that tried to put his work in a museum instead of on the streets that he removed his work from Bologna in a fit of pique. But many cities beg to differ, and places like New York have waged long wars against the taggers within. Now, writes CityLab’s John Metcalfe, a new graffiti simulator offers another option for street artists who don’t want to risk arrest or attack while honing their craft.

It’s called Kingspray Graffiti Simulator, and Metcalfe writes that it’s coming to the Steam digital distribution platform on June 13. Kingspray gives street artists a variety of urban locations to use as canvases and offers a virtual experience complete with dripping spray paint in a multitude of colors. 

As Tech Times’ Anu Passary notes, the game lets players choose everything from the time of day to weather conditions. Designed for the Vive virtual reality headset, the game adds another layer of realism to faux graffiti writers as they make their marks on an imaginary city.

They can even play streaming radio while painting to keep up their artistic spirits. After all, in this virtual reality world there’s no chance of being jailed for making art like the pair of international fugitive taggers who recently made waves when they hit Australia with plans to make the streets their canvas. 

Despite ongoing attempts by cities to curb graffiti—like the Los Angeles City Council’s recent plan to offer a $2,000 reward to anyone with tips on taggers—street art is slowly breaking free of its illegal cachet. There’s Banksy, of course, whose murals have become an art world phenomenon. And new documentaries expose the history of everything from “wall writers” in Philly to women who know their way around a can of spray paint. It remains to be seen, however, whether graffiti simulators like Kingspray will lessen physical street art or just help would-be muralists plan their next bombing raid.

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