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SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A graffiti problem in San Jose has gotten not just bigger, it is super-sized – and much harder to clean up.
Instead of using spray paint, taggers mix house paint and water into stolen fire extinguishers and use the high pressure spray to tag the entire side of a building.
It’s called drip tagging, a name that is descriptive of how the graffiti tags looks once it’s up.
Emilio Rodriguez, a man who works in one tag-prone neighborhood, said even he was surprised by these super size tags.
“It’s obviously a bigger piece,” said Rodriguez. “It’s just starting to become more popular, I guess.”
Videos of drip tagging have popped up on YouTube. The technique is crude but effective for taggers who want to go big.
Armando Ruiz and James Cirineo own a San Jose graffiti-removal company and are usually busy with work like this.
”The advantage for [taggers] is they don’t put themselves in danger,” said Ruiz. “They can tag a building from ground level and get it up 23 feet high so people can see it on the street, what they really want.”
Their company, Graffiti Removal Guys, has been getting more calls to clean up drip tagging, most recently on a house on the Peninsula.
One drip tagger recently painted on a freeway flyover ramp – about 80 feet off the ground.
Meanwhile, younger taggers who can’t access a fire extinguisher are using super soaker-type water guns which are cheap and readily available.
Toy makers have been updating the old water gun into high-pressure devices capable of shooting a stream of water or other liquid 30 to 40 feet, often with pinpoint accuracy.
“The super-soakers is a new trend for the younger kids, they can’t get the fire extinguishers,” said Ruiz. “It’s just a cheaper way of doing it so you’re probably going to see more of that.”