“Nothing against the city, they’ve got a lot to do, but it doesn’t mean the same to them as it does to the Northside people.”
Scott Ponder knows Northside. He’s lived there for 5 years and his livelihood has resided there since 2004.
Ponder owns the Northside Chop Shop Hair Salon, a hip hair stylist establishment in the heart of the community.
On Sunday, he looked outside his shop’s window and saw a large display of freshly painted red graffiti.
After unsuccessfully trying to figure out what the writing said, he went to pick his child up and saw the same red paint splashed all over a wall on the corner of what Ponder calls, “kind of like the Northside town square, a focal point.”
Ponder said he figured out what the graffiti said after deciphering the last part of the message: Rake’s End.
A band called the Exploded Skulls was scheduled to play at the West End bar on Monday, but after the graffiti act the previous day, the show was canceled.
A post from the bar via Facebook on Sunday, March 30 said: I've become aware of the graffiti in Northside advertising a show booked for March 31st at Rake's End -- definitely something we could not have predicted and that we of course do not condone, with its total absence of tact and jeopardizing our bar's otherwise good rep. I am sorting out the situation immediately with goals of responsible accountability, relying on help from the community rather than the police. Thank you for notifying the Rake about what has happened -- I will report any news on correcting this as the situation is resolved. ~Robert I.
Ponder wasn’t alone in his feeling that what the band did could be considered vandalism.
“Man this is just wrong, this is not cool at all,” Ponder said about seeing the graffiti.
Tricia Wilson: Graffiti advertising a show this week at your venue? Would love to see you cancel the show. Offender(s) should be charged.
Megan Kelley: Please get Exploding skulls to spend their own time & $ to clean up the **** they spit in out park, & cancel their show! Thank you! (I love ur place & want u to stay around!!)
Ponder sent the bar a message and told them even if they had to spend $1,000 to clean up the mess, it was something worth doing.
“Just knowing how important that corner is to the neighborhood,” Ponder said. “The Fourth of July parade is there, the farmers market is there, it’s the focal point.”
Rake’s End followed up their first post via Facebook later Sunday: I just talked to Jerome at the Rake = given the situation with that Northside graffiti we feel it's best for the bar, band, and community to cancel Monday's show. Rake's End obviously encourages a wide variety of strange and sometimes edgy arts, but cannot condone or be associated with illegal graffiti executed with insensitivity to our neighborhoods and neighbors. We have been told that the people responsible for this situation intend to make it right by cleaning the paint off ASAP, which should be a relief to all those upset by it today. Thank you for your patience and support in resolving this through respectful communication. The Rake is grateful to be a resource to our city's fantastic arts community, and stands against anything that could damage that. ~Robert I.
Ponder said the band associated with the Northside vandalism has a very prolific history of destroying property.
The band would try to “buff out” the paint but Ponder said he knew nothing would pull the spray paint out of the wall.
So instead of "standing around and complaining," he did something about it.
“I just took two hours of my life and fixed it,” he said.
He traveled to ACE Hardware, got six to eight cans of paint, mixed the color on the spot and re-painted the wall while neighborhood traffic passed him by.
It would be hard to tell the Exploded Skulls tried to leave their mark on Northside.
“I think I got it in the ballpark,” Ponder said. “If you’re driving by you never would have noticed it was there at all, which was the goal.”
WCPO reached out to Rake's End and the ExplodedSkulls for further comment but has not received a response.