Today, a commenter named Tom left a useful comment on my post about Provo street artist Leuven and the possible meaning of Leuven’s second piece on a corner store in the Joaquin neighborhood.
I had assumed the piece’s inclusion of the phrase “it’s fun to do bad things” was simply a commentary on the joy of doing graffiti — I even called the phrase sophomoric. But I may owe Leuven an apology: commenter Tom pointed out that it may in fact be 7-year-old Latarian Milton, who in 2008 apparently took his mother’s car for a joyride. (He was seven at the time, so he’d be around 11 today.)
In the video below, Milton actually uses that phrase at about 50 seconds in. Also, he bears a strong resemblance to the figure in Leuven’s piece.
I had actually never heard of Milton, though the video has 7 million views so I may be unique in that regard. In any case, it seems to me that commenter Tom may have solved this puzzle.
I guess this is both the joy and the challenge of guerrilla art in our society; it is both hyper local and broadly intertextual, filled with allusions that require a deep and broad awareness of pop culture. That this sort of thing is happening on the streets of Provo is fascinating and exciting.
On a related note, I talked to some people today who were moving stuff out of the store where the graffiti is located. They said the store may be up for sale soon. And finally, as of today you can still see the Jimmer piece, as well as what I’ll refer to as the “Milton piece.”