DC Graffiti Artist "Borf" Arrested

Flickr image by BarkingMoose

The Washington Post reports that Washington, DC’s most famous graffiti artist has been apprehended.

The mysterious, ubiquitous and eminently destructive graffiti artist known as Borf was arrested yesterday after waging a months-long campaign that may have been intended to enlighten Washington, but mostly just confused us.

The man primarily responsible for Borf is, it turns out, an 18-year-old art student from Great Falls named John Tsombikos, according to D.C. police inspector Diane Groomes. He was arrested along with two other young men in the wee hours of yesterday morning after officers received a tip that graffiti artists were spray-painting at Seventh and V streets NW.

Approached by a reporter at D.C. Superior Court yesterday, Tsombikos refused to comment. One of the other men arrested, Richard Lee, 18, said, “Borf is dead.”

Well, yes and no. According to Tsombikos’s mother, Kathleen Murphy of Great Falls, Borf was the nickname for a close friend of her son’s who committed suicide about two years ago. The Borf face featured in his graffiti — which many who’ve walked through Dupont Circle would recognize, and which looks somewhat like TV actor Jerry O’Connell — belongs to that young man. Murphy suggests that for her son, the Borf face and moniker came to stand for all that he felt was wrong with the world.Turns out little Johnny fancies himself an anarchist. As the Post article notes, “[h]e decided he doesn’t believe in the state, capitalism, private property, globalization. Most of all, he doesn’t believe in adulthood, which he considers ‘boring’ and ‘selling out.'”

Borf’s a spoiled little rich kid, hopping around the world on daddy and mommy’s dime – something he apparently still believes in. His mom, at least, doesn’t seem particularly bothered by juniors juvenile antics. The DC Department of Public Works should haul them into court to pay for the cleanup costs. Maybe the Tsombikos family would take it a little more seriously if that happened…

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Flickr image from IWantAMonkey

All the Borf you can stand is available via the Borf Spotting Ring at [Flickr]

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