New York

Joseph Waldo, Notorious “Moustache Man,” Nabbed By NYPD

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Moustache Man, the graffiti writer who scrawls “moustache” in cursive on people’s upper lips in subway ads, has been apprehended by New York’s Finest. Joseph Waldo, 26, was taken into custody last night, for the grave crime of scribbling a mediocre graffiti tag on advertisements with a marker.

Police say Waldo made it easy for them to catch him after a “two-month investigation” because of his recent online braggadocio. He’s being charged with felony criminal mischief, misdemeanor criminal mischief, making graffiti and possession of graffiti instrument. Because the NYPD is sooo bored, with no real criminals to chase, so why not throw the book at people who doodle with Sharpies?

Waldo gave an interview to Subway Art Blog back in May, telling them he planned to continue his moustache-making “For fucking ever.” His explanation of his work:

At it’s simplest level, it’s a quick joke meant to give commuters something to smile about while they’re waiting for the subway, coming off from a long day at work, or getting stabbed on the D train. And that’s certainly how it started. But for me it’s evolved into part of this broader movement of subverting advertisements. Especially in New York, where we’re bombarded with ads everywhere we go, it feels more and more like we’re part of a one-sided conversation. We’re getting these ridiculous images and dumb catchphrases shoved down our throats (“Good Afternoont!”), why shouldn’t we be able to talk back? So many ads are so laughably stupid that a cartoonish moustache just seems to fit. On another level, it’s a return to hand-written form in a technology driven age where we type so much that some of us have actually forgotten how to write cursive.

Also it’s about war or something.

Can’t tell if this guy takes himself too seriously or if he’s just pretending to take himself too seriously. Either way, good luck to him. New York’s graffiti penalties aren’t too pleasant.

[Gothamist / Subway Art Blog]

[rgray@villagevoice.com] [@_rosiegray]

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