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Free Girafa | by Thomas Hawk
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Free Girafa

Heard from my friend Troy Holden today that apparently San Francisco based graffiti artist Girafa has been arrested.


From the Mercury News:

"San Jose police Thursday announced the arrest of a suspect they described as one of the most prolific graffiti artists in the Bay Area.


Steven Free, 30, of San Francisco was arrested Tuesday on a $100,000 warrant, charging him in 10 felony cases in San Jose involving $40,000 in damages


Free used the tagging moniker "Girafa," and the cartoon character of a giraffe, police said.


During a search of his San Francisco home, officers discovered thousands of pictures of graffiti with the "Girafa" moniker and cartoon characters of giraffes on several of his social Web sites.


"He was just causing a lot of vandalism around the Bay Area, anywhere he would find a spot, he would use this moniker," said San Jose police officer Jermaine Thomas."


This is too bad. Girafa is one of my favorite graffiti artists in San Francisco. It amazes me that someone could be charged with 10 felonies for sharing their art with the world and making the world a more beautiful place. Girafa's work mostly ended up on abandoned and shut down businesses. It is always a treat for me when I run across one of his paintings.


Artists like Girafa don't belong in prison. They are a part of our cultural landscape. Troy has a great collection of Girafa images that you can see here. There is a group on Flickr devoted to his work here.

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Taken on March 25, 2009