With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Who is Sapo?

To us, Sapo sounds like some sort of Eastern Europe Bloc spy outfit, but in Northern Hartford, Sapo is running amok with paint. One of the more prevalent taggers in the North End, Sapo doesn't really contribute much besides getting the name out there. 

Sapo's most visibile work is along Windsor Street, the site of the above and below pics. 

This sort of isn't exactly what we would call public art. The only thing noteworthy of these particular pieces is the sheer size and brazenness of the work, coupled with the fact that they have remained up for so long. It's basically a big F.U. to everyone who drives by. 

How is it that such a visibile pox is allowed to remain on display for so long? Well, believe it or not, graffiti is actually not illegal in Hartford. While most other municipalities have somehow managed to outlaw graffiti, our fine city's antiquated code does not. 

The issue has come before Council, but has been voted down, often with the rationale that private property owners are victims to graffiti and therefore shouldn't be held responsible for it. Following that line of thought, a property owner would have no responsibility to clean raw trash thrown on their yard. Annoying....yes, but also part of being a responsible property owner. 

Forget the public art argument. You might paint the Mona Lisa on the side of a building, but the simple fact of the matter is, without express permission to paint on that building, it is private property and there is no right to paint the Mona Lisa on it. The owner may not want the Mona Lisa on the side of their building and that is their right, same as it is your right to paint the Mona Lisa on your building. One thing we think we can all agree on is that Sapo is no Da Vinci.


  1. Why would there need to be a separate grafitti ordinance when unwelcome graffiti is vandalism and can be enforced as such?

    1. Tony C I think they mean that there isn't an ordinance requiring property owners to remove graffiti from their buildings. Because the property owner is a victim to the graffiti they shouldn't be burdened with the responsibility of removing it.

  2. Sapo is Portuguese and Spanish for toad..... i somehow believe it stands for somethin else. Like SOTB is Stand On The Block.

  3. This SAPO is just piggybacking on a better-known tagger/artist Jean-Michel Basquiat who was known as SAMO in the dawn of his artistic career in 1980s Brooklyn/Manhattan. Even LA's Mr Brainwash offers more in terms of art than SAPO.

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