'Collectors' snap up Detroit street art

Feb. 26, 2012 at 2:44 PM

DETROIT, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A Detroit-area street artist says he doesn't mind people taking down his signpost works but isn't going to make it easy for them to do their collecting.

Brian Melvin, an out-of-work carpenter from Wyandott, told the Detroit News, he fixes his whimsical painted signs to utility poles with a little gusto so that whoever takes them down will have to put some thought and effort into it.

"I put it on with bolts, and I bend them over so it's really hard to get off," said Melvin. "So if you want it, you've got to work for it."

Melvin goes by the moniker Deco23 and has been slipping into the hipster neighborhood of Woodbridge near Wayne State University to mount colorful wood signs featuring grinning characters expressing off-the-wall and sometimes obscure messages.

The News said some of the plaques are snapped up within in a few days but others remain firmly in place although the paint may have faded. Melvin said the art was meant for people who may not have the money or time to visit an art museum or gallery.

"People don't have money to buy art in this economy," he said. "I put my artwork out there for you to enjoy it, for you to have it for free."

Melvin added the exposure has also inspired paying customers. He said his sales had increased and a commission for a mural was in the works.

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