Sam Harriman is a brewer and a comedian — two talents that spread mirth. But on Sunday afternoon he was understandably pissed.
Sometime after closing the night before, a vandal paid Harriman’s Sisyphus Brewing a visit. Spray painters have targeted a wall outside the Loring Park brewery before. But until that night they left the cool mural done by artists Adam Turman and Josh “Jawsh” Lemke alone. In a total dick move, taggers covered the wall with graffiti, defacing the brewery’s signature painting of Paul Bunyan hoisting a barrel.
“All it takes is one guy like this to not give a shit and ruin it,” says Harriman, still rightfully upset Wednesday.
Worse is that the $6,000 work of art was paid for by more than 100 Sisyphus fans through a crowdfunding campaign. It will cost another $1,500 to fix, but because of to the type of paint required, it can’t be done until after winter.
Rather than sitting around sulking, Harriman did a little internet recon on the possible culprit whose “Konqr” tag trashed the painting. Turns out a tagger of little honor going by the same name is the scourge of Cincinnati graffiti fighters. Wondering if it could be the same Konqr, Harriman reached out to Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, the group leading the charge on the city’s war on graffiti and Konqr in particular.
As soon as the group’s executive director Linda Holterhoff saw the picture of Sisyphus’ tarnished mural, she knew it was a match, she says. According to Holterhoff, Konqr started wreaking aerosol havoc in Cincy as a teenager. Over several years he’s caused around $100,000 worth of damage and currently has two warrants out for his arrest in his hometown, she claims.
Holterhoff say’s Konqr has become an inveterate traveler as a young adult, leaving his mark everywhere from Minneapolis to Puerto Rico. She believes he currently lives in Louisville. After tracking him for several years, Holterhoff says Konqr doesn’t abide by the mores of most graf writers who leave other people’s art alone.
“When you put a mural up they don’t usually do that. But he does,” she says.
Other images of Konqr's Twin Cities scrawling — including one on Muscle Bound Bindery — have emerged on social media.
Holterhoff has gathered a mountain of evidence against Konqr, though he’s gotten off with “a slap on the hand,” she says. Last year she told Cincinnati's WCPO-TV that mommy and daddy typically pay off his vandalism debts.
As for Sisyphus, Harriman plans to have the mural repainted — with an additional graffiti-resistant sealant — once the weather permits. He filed a police report, but isn’t confident the brat will get his.
“I still don’t feel like any justice will be done,” he says.
At least there’s still plenty of beer.