Is it still graffiti if you’re painting on your own property?
Bianca McCollough’s neighbors seem to think so.
After McCollough, a graduate student from Olathe, KS, turned her garage door into an homage to vintage British comedy hallmark Monty Python, she was overjoyed at the end result.
According to WNEM, McCollough turned to painting her garage door as a form of stress relief.
“I let the inspiration take me and it took me to Monty Python,” she said.
The painting, which depicts a man’s silhouette high-stepping across a background of blue and gold, references “The Ministry of Silly Walks,” one of Monty Python’s famous sketches.
Now, the mural McCollough painted has grabbed the attention of the city of Olathe, after several of her neighbors complained the mural was ruining property values in their neighborhood. The city sent her a letter to demand she paint over the mural or remove it some other way, as her artwork was technically a violation of Olathe’s municipal code.
I think that what we’re trying to do is balance the concerns of the property owners when it comes to their property values with her ability and her right to express herself,” said Erin Vader, a city employee.
Nearly 70% of American say a garage’s organization (or lack thereof) is a reflection of its owner — it’s safe to say a garage’s exterior appearance matters just as much.
In response to the city’s letter, McCollough hasn’t taken her mural down — in fact, she decided to paint another one on the side of her house itself, WNEM reports. The city of Olathe is currently reviewing its graffiti laws; in the meantime, McCollough said she plans on adding to her new mural until a final decision is made.
“The whole reason I moved into a neighborhood without a homeowners association is because I don’t want people telling me what color my house should be,” she said. “But now I have the city trying to limit my freedom of expression, freedom of speech. Who are they to judge what is art and what is graffiti?”