We are in Einburgh, Scotland. Scattered around the city center are a number of traffic signs that have been given new life through amusing graffiti stickers. A keen eye but not only may spot a sumo wrestler, a spilled glass of wine, or a cat, but are just a few of the nearly two dozen total altered traffic signs.
They are the work of French artist Clet Abraham, 52, who hand-draws the designs, prints them onto sticker paper and goes out at night to place them. Clet first began placing his stickers in Edinburgh in the Spring of 2018, and has done similar projects in London, Paris, Barcelona, and Rome.
He has hacked signs all over the world and been arrested in Japan. He was caught by the police several times but has usually been allowed to carry on once he has explained to the police that he is “not a vandal”.
He said that he have been caught in Italy, London and Japan. His girlfriend is Japanese and when he was arrested he was banned from entering the country, she was banned from leaving the country for five months, and It was the worst day of his life.
The signs have been modified in such a way as to not interfere with a driver’s ability to interpret the meaning, and he is careful not not to cover up more than 10% of the sign.
He said: “I was in Edinburgh in March 2018 so it was very slow for there to be a voice about my work, I find it very funny. I think there are too many street signs in Edinburgh and so people don’t like street signs and therefore they don’t bother looking at them. It’s very crazy and bureaucratic to have that many signs. I never cover more than about 10% of the sign as I don’t want to disturb the meaning, which is very important to me. My work is about prohibition and therefore to cover the sign too much would mean it had lost its meaning. I’m against authority without discussion. While I’m not against signs they are a symbol of authority as they give an order.”
At this moment, no word from Edinburgh City Council as whether they have any plans to remove the artworks.
Locating the signs is a bit of a scavenger hunt, even though the majority of them can be found around St. Andrew Square, on South St. David Street, Thistle Street, and Union Street.
So why not remain anonymous like his fellow street artist, Banksy?
He said: “I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong so I don’t need to remain a secret.”
Source and photos: BBC