Smile graffiti tagger branded ‘moron who needs to get a job’

Is it graffiti, is it art or is it neither? This question has crossed the minds of many Coventrians when faced with the ‘Smile’ tag that has popped up in locations all over the city in recent years.

A picture of one such installation, beneath an advertising board, surfaced online causing fervent debate. The picture attracted hundreds of comments, yet appeared to split observers almost down the middle with some considering it creative, others an unwanted eyesore and stain on the city.

The author of the post left no one in doubt as to which side of the argument they stand on, describing the tagger as a ‘moron’. “It’s pathetic and I don’t think anyone would call this art,” they said.

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“You’re not talented, you’re just a muppet that clearly needs to get a job. I’m in my early 30s and I’ve seen this since I was a kid so clearly this is an adult doing these toddler drawings. You’re making our city look even worse then what it is!!”

Supporting the author’s criticism, one objector said: “All of the people who are saying they like this and it makes them “smile” please attach your addresses to this post so as to encourage graffiti on your house and fences! Thank you.”

Another branded it ‘just another toy tag’. Presuming the tagger to be male, they said: “If he can do a throw up or a proper piece to prove he’s a decent writer then let him show us his skill.”

Smile tags have popped up all over Coventry in recent years
Smile tags have popped up all over Coventry in recent years

“I hate it too… every time I see it that Killers song pops into my head,” another said. “Does my nut in.”

This time last year we reported the frustration of Sherbourne councillor Jackie Gardiner who flagged the infamous tag after it was sprayed on a substation and gates by shops on Holyhead Road in Coundon. Cllr Gardiner said it had appeared after months of work had been carried out to get an old one removed.

Back then there was a tonne of support for the person behind the logos, which have been a hot topic of conversation since they first started appearing on fences, walls, sheds and benches across the city. And that remains the case today.

“Well I’m sure it makes a few smile,” one supporter wrote in response to the Facebook post that stimulated the latest debate. “I’m one of them,” was one reply. “When I’m having bad day and see that smile makes me giggle.”

One observer called for a sense of perspective and urged those opposed to the writing to ‘ignore it’. “This city has far bigger issues than a graffiti saying smile !!!! Have a drive round and see.” That same view was emphasised in another comment that turned the focus onto the poster of the picture, rather than the person behind the Smile texts.

“Instead of moaning about a smile tag, do something more productive in your life because I bet you whoever done the smile tag has made a lot of people smile around Coventry,” they wrote. “A small amount of people don’t like it but they should mind their business, unless someone graffitied on your actual house..”

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