Disclaimer: Graffiti is illegal, and you should not participate in it. It is a defacement of public property and a contributor to urban blight. That being said, many works of graffiti are done by talented artists who may not otherwise have a venue for their work, and cultural commentary on that work can often be fruitful.

I was standing on a corner in San Francisco a few weeks back and noticed “make” scrawled in white marker on a newspaper stand. I was fascinated. Was this a command to others, a modest suggestion, or simply a word chosen at random for this particular tag?

Being curious, I began searching for other instances of the “MAKE” tag. It turns out there are dozens, stretching from here all the way to Japan. I would like to think that the idea of making is somehow in the underworld zeitgeist and being expressed in this graffiti. Of course, I may be a little over-optimistic, too.

Here are 10 of the best ones I’ve found. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

View All

Michael Colombo

Michael Colombo

In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens’ educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.

  • tonyv

    Thanks, MAKE, for once again glorifying vandalism!

    • http://pushtheotherbutton.wordpress.com Michael Colombo

      Please note the disclaimer and how these images should be taken in context.

      • tonyv

        Your disclaimers are a cop-out. Please don’t give vandals the satisfaction of seeing their ‘work’ on the web.

    • http://jakespurlock.com/ Jake Spurlock

      More like glorifying things that are awesome…

  • Krusty

    Poor form :(

  • https://www.facebook.com/stevenaleach Steve Leach

    Hmmm.. In addition to being destructive vandalism, several of those may or may not say ‘Make’ — it’s impossible to tell. (Some seem to start with H, some M, some W, etc…) Who knows what the kids who scribbled that stuff were trying to write. One is much more likely to say ‘Wake’ and another appears to say ‘Mako’ — perhaps they were TRYING to write ‘Make’ but simply failed.