Graffiti is a common sight in any city, but St. Petersburg, FL, is grappling with a particularly… cheeky…tagger. The Florida city has a “butt graffiti” problem, with images of three-cheeked backsides popping up all over downtown. Yes, three-cheeked butt graffiti is a thing. Give yourself a moment to take that in.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the first instances of butt graffiti may have appeared in April. In the months since, the anonymous tagger (or, possibly, taggers) has “decorated” downtown St. Petersburg with dozens of butts. Some of the tags are done with markers, others with spray paint. Some are small, adorning pay phones and trashcans, while others fill up whole walls. And these aren’t your standard backsides: Most are drawn with three cheeks, but a few have as many as seven. (Yes, seven! What is this seven-cheeked creature?! What do all of these butts mean? Is butt graffiti just for cheeky giggles and stupid puns, or does it have more profound aspirations?) (Or should I say, "ass-pirations"?) (I’m sorry.)
St. Petersburg already boasts a lot of beautiful, elaborate murals across its downtown — so many that you can take whole street art walking tours — but the array of butt graffiti that’s been cropping up is unauthorized and, as authorities point out, illegal.
“The bottom line is whoever is doing this is destroying property,” St. Petersburg Assistant Police Chief Jim Previterra told WFLA. “They are marking up the beautiful downtown area of St. Petersburg.” He added, “It’s causing the city to have to go around behind who this is and clean up, and we have to dedicate more resources to it.”
Regina Williams, who runs St. Petersburg’s graffiti abatement program, told the Tampa Bay Times that the program is aware of the butt graffiti showing up around town. Although she “chuckled” about the tags, she also emphasized their cost. “Graffiti is vandalism, and it takes a lot of work to clean up,” she said.
If caught, the person (or people) behind the butt graffiti epidemic could face criminal charges, though, as the Tampa Bay Times points out, taggers can be difficult to track down.