Let Us Spray | News | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Let Us Spray

All over the sprawling Salt Lake suburbs, the writing’s on the wall(s).



Page 2 of 8

{::NOAD::}Spaceships & Robot Rubble
A dry wind blows across the surface of a paint-encrusted brick wall. Clouds of aerosol grip the wall, then rise high in the air and disappear. The air fills with an acrid scent as Kier, atop a ladder, leans against the wall.

With spray can arching across the wall, he directs paint onto an image of a spaceship. The ship’s black outline is half completed and parts of it, still wet, glisten in the sun. The mural that spreads below him is an apocalyptic landscape. At the base, piles of junked robots lie in rubble. Nearby, a huge robotic head pulls bits of hardware from its skull.

Kier, a 28-year-old Salt Lake City writer, climbs down from the ladder. He walks with a limp, a remnant of an injury he suffered in a long-ago car accident. He stands 6 feet tall, his brown hair pulled back loosely under a headband. In baggy jeans and a white T-shirt, he resembles an average 20-something rummaging in his car trunk for a spare tire. But piles of spray paint cans fill his trunk. He sifts through them. “I’m kind of winging it with the color scheme,” he says. Behind him, the outline of the spaceship has the name “Yeti” embedded into it, in tribute to another writer friend of his.

Kier and fellow writer Stem are busy working on the mural when Yeti arrives. Straight hair falls across Yeti’s brow. He wears a T-shirt illustrated with a space shuttle blasting off, not unlike Kier’s mural. “There’s going to be blue streaks coming out of it,” Kier explains to Yeti, pointing to the ship. Then Kier begins adding yellow and orange flames at the tailpipe.

“I gotta have some big engines,” Yeti says, as he gazes up at Kier.

The mural on this Taylorville wall on July 4 is a collaboration among several writers who have been painting in Salt Lake County for nearly 15 years. In their late 20s, the writers have been on the graf scene since adolescence. They have jobs and families now, yet they persist.

Friends before they took up writing, Kier, Yeti (both in ARS) and Chew have left their marks for a long time and by extension, so has ARS. Unlike almost every other area crew in the past two decades, ARS has managed to stay tight. “Family first,” Kier says.

Whatever it was that drew them to graffiti when they where teenagers has kept a hold on them. They embraced a world of abandoned alleys, decrepit buildings and concrete overpasses—surroundings that few notice. This intimacy with the urban environment and their reaction against suburban stultification was what drew them to grafitti.