10 years after his graffiti campaign, the artist known as Borf paints a new life
By Rachel Manteuffel :: August 13 (Original Washington Post article)
Read about Borf's arrest and sentence here.
John Tsombikos, 28, 10 years after his campaign of graffiti and cryptic messages covered the city. (Roger Erickson/For The Washington Post)
The artist previously known as Borf, though that was never his name, is 10 years older than he was when his whimsical, mysterious graffiti campaign in Northwest Washington got him adored and despised and incarcerated.
He’s 28, sort of. He lives in New York now. He won’t say where, exactly. He says that’s irrelevant. He says he does no work that would compromise his anti-corporate, anti-authoritarian principles, but also refuses to say how he supports himself or whether he lives in a place his parents own in Manhattan, as some records suggest, or if he is working some sort of soul-numbing day job, the kind he publicly sneered at, to support his painting habit.
He also won’t let you take a picture of him. You can only shoot his art, but not him. If he thinks you’re trying to sneak a picture, he turns away or holds a hand over his face. He’s reluctant to talk about what his art means, but in the end he will blurt something so revealing that it explains just about everything. He will hate these paragraphs if he reads them.