Since 1971, Rush-Mor Records has been a Bay View beacon standing on the corner of Potter and Kinnickinnic avenues. In 1994, Dan Duchaine and Bill Rouleau bought Milwaukee’s oldest and longest-running record store. Despite the shop’s high-traffic location and abundance of blank space on its façade, Rush-Mor’s longtime owners have been fortunate to have never been victims of graffiti. That is, until now.
Sometime between Friday night and the early hours of Saturday, the store’s exterior wall and a portion of its 15-year-old hand-painted sign were struck by a tagger, who left his or her illegible signature on Rush-Mor in white spray paint. While trying to scrub away the paint Saturday, Rouleau says he wanted to leave the person responsible “kind of an open letter to make him think” about what they did. The sign posted above the graffiti reads:
“Hey Bay View check me out. I’ve got no artistic talent or new ideas and you know I’m not getting laid on a Friday night, so this is what I do instead. I am a loser. My name is…”
Rouleau assumes the tagging was “an isolated act of bad judgement and cowardice by someone just passing through under the cover of darkness” and that it “seemed like some random act from a drifter from parts unknown, not anybody from around [Bay View].”
Being Wisconsin’s largest city, Milwaukee is no stranger to the work of vandals. However, this is a rare case of a tagging victim going on the offensive and calling out the person (or people) holding the paint canister.
“This stuff happens all the time, so I’m not sure why this is even noteworthy,” Rouleau says. “What’s ironic is I love graffiti. But tagging just seems so juvenile. It’s like cheating. You’re not getting recognized for anything other than just being a jerk. It’s a lazy path to notoriety.”
It seems like people know the work of the Bay View tagger now, as well as what they were (and weren’t) doing Friday night. Well done, Rush-Mor.