Artist or Vandal?

Submit any found latrinalia to 

Latrinalia is a type of deliberately inscribed marking made on latrines: that is, bathrooms or lavatory walls. 

Man, not nature, makes dirt and one can say that dirt, like beauty, lies in the eyes of the beholder … Using words, dirty words, some individuals finally do give vent to the impulse to sully walls. Since “dirt” is supposed to be deposited in the clean white receptacles found in bathrooms, what more flagrant act of rebellion than to place symbolic dirt on the very walls surrounding the receptacles!

-Alan Dundes, from “Here I Sit: A Study of American Latrinalia

Artist or Vandal?

The usage of texture and two different felt pens bring this piece to life.

Location: Vancouver Island University Cafeteria in Nanaimo, BC.

This little guy has character. I can almost hear him scurrying up the walls like some sort of creature from a Super Mario Bros video game or something. Extra points for making use of the chipped tiling. You’ve got an imagination, kid.

VERDICT:  Artist

Poor lettering and obvious correction marks hurt the provocative potential of this piece

Location: Sears at Rutherford Mall in Nanaimo, BC.

Look, I get it. We all have urges. Sometimes it’s hard to keep this stuff inside our heads. There are things you might want to say at your staff Christmas Party, but maybe aren’t sure of how to say them. Restroom stalls are a great way to try out new material for making people uncomfortable. I wanted to give this one an “artist” verdict, but the overall presentation is sloppy. And not in the “sloppy seconds” way that he’d probably approve of. This guy would probably take you out, treat you to dinner, and you’d be best friends by the end of the evening. I wouldn’t accept the invite back to his place, though.

VERDICT:  Vandal

A combination of cursive and CAPS lettering add character to this piece, creating a beautiful opportunity for self-actualization in the stall.

Location:  Alice’s Diner in Nanaimo, BC.

Yeah, yeah. Digital technology is killing our attention spans and turning us into screen-zombies. But being able to watch hentai porn in public while pinching a loaf at the same time is more freedom than I’ll ever need.

VERDICT:  Artist

This piece was likely etched with nothing more than a key or small blade. The curvatures indicate considerable amounts of practice.

Location: Galaxy Theatres in Nanaimo, BC.

I know Vladimir Lenin was probably an asshole. But can we at least give him credit for inspiring our bored youth to attempt drawing something other than dicks everywhere? If nothing else, my grade 4 history textbook taught me how to draw some pretty sweet historical emblems. This kid here  could very well design the next Nike Check Mark or Starbucks Mermaid. Give him some time.


Stolen liquor and hillbilly heroin make this stencil work an abomination.

Location: The Cambie in Nanaimo, BC.

We get it, you’re punk. Only in this instance, you’re a lazy punk with a shitty, unoriginal stencil. You didn’t even wipe the leftovers. Considering this HaRdCoRe design was smeared all over the restroom, I’m assuming T-shirts were a little out of budget for your “ruff” band. Hell, why not use all the extra money you saved buying cheap spray paint and buy some more hair glue? Or maybe you have enough glue already.

VERDICT: Vandal 

Uncertainty and a lack of confidence make this abandoned piece an eyesore.

Location: Hong Kong House in Nanaimo, BC

You can’t be a contender without any practice. I understand that you want to get into the TAGGING scene. I too, once had big dreams of  displaying my illegible nonsense in the grand arena of public restrooms. I would beam with pride as the walls were illuminated by the delicate genius of my territorial markings.

I still practiced on paper first, though. Get a fucking Hilroy notebook, kid. They’re not expensive. This looks like you were trying to draw the Tazmanian Devil but went overboard on the meth.

VERDICT: Vandal 

Location: Michaels, Chapters, Other places in Nanaimo.

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  1. There’s nothing “aluring” about changing a diaper.
  2. Use spell check before you decide on a moniker.  Okay, so maybe you already tagged a number of locations with your initial spelling, and I’ll applaud you for sticking to your original idea. Even if it looks stupid. But you don’t even stick to one design.
  3. Seeing your ugly little tag in multiple locations around town, I’m assuming it’s not so much an evolution of your work as it is vanity. I’d say you’re likely the type of guy who has 6500 shirtless photos of himself in his phone gallery. Probably holding a flimsy wad of 10s and 20s. Extremely aluring.

VERDICT: Vandal 

Location: Hong Kong House, Nanaimo BC.

27935559_944420645726762_1349567834_nMaybe? Mays? Mayo? Nanaimo really needs to up it’s restroom graffiti game. Even though I can appreciate the nicely contained shape of this tag (and that dripping letter effect), I’ve still gotta call crap on this one. Sadly, I’m sure his white-out pen is still mightier than his sword.


Location: Starbucks (University Village, Nanaimo BC)

38818094_231085954213608_6370513669175902208_nPretty good cursive for a baby.


Location: Some gas station in Tofino. Co-op I think.

38760959_217400022277179_1915279569741414400_nWhat artist doesn’t want their work replicated? To have the fruits of your labor mass produced and distributed nationwide might seem counterintuitive to one’s artistic integrity, but secretly any hard-working craftsperson aims for such notoriety.

This person just decided cut the middle man and to do the work himself. I guess he ordered too many stickers, though, and can’t seem to get rid of the damn things.

Right below, there’s a confident, minimal stroke, sharpie-style marking. I can’t really read what it says, but who ever can? These surf-hippies sure know how to ruin decorate a wall. 


Location: I honestly don’t remember.

38888267_436101426886174_354626675012534272_nDon’t you just love a nice big (drawing of a) cock? Apparently, penises are a lot of men’s go-to when it comes to expression. And I don’t blame them. What better way to assert your dominance than by depicting your own dong in a place where people poop? 

The motives vary. Some are designed to offend. Some are meant to entertain. Some could possibly turn you on, depending on your preferences. This penis, complete with veins and disproportionately small testicles, seems vibrant and jubilant. 

There is a celebratory nature about this illustration that screams “victory!” I can almost hear the cork popping out of a champagne bottle. 


Location: Some mall in Vancouver.

38825379_2130531500350209_1487744862806605824_nCody’s been doing a lot of damage control since his scandal involving indecent exposure at a hospital cafeteria. Since his political career took such a sharp dive and his ratings at the polls bottomed out, he’s been trying to get back in the game by appealing to his core demographics. Great guerilla-campaigning Cody! You don’t get my vote, but I admire your tenacity! 

VERDICT: Vandal 

Location: Can’t remember.

38786270_1984237151627705_1979943051161763840_nI had to adjust the colour on this photo for you to be able to see the outline. If I hadn’t taken my time I may have missed this little gem. Which is a shame, because I think we need more positivity in our stalls. This fine young chap wanted to wish us all a heap of happiness as we stared on blankly at the filthy walls.  Peanut Butter Jelly Time, indeed. 

VERDICT: Artist 

Location: Reststop in Tofino.


Something tells me this guy might not actually be a doctor. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be a skull or a pipe in the middle, but either way it doesn’t scream “Graduate School.” This isn’t the penmanship of someone I would want writing out my prescriptions.  Don’t drink and drive, folks.