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Mystery artist behind subversion of signs

In Bristol a few years ago, road signs went up warning the public to beware of crocodiles in the River Avon after a member of the public photographed what appeared to be one of the creatures near the suspension bridge.

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The artist has been revealed to be from Florence

After a few days the Highways Division of the city council realised they were a hoax. No large amphibious reptiles were prowling the dark waters of the West County watercourse and the pranksters owned up to having a laugh at the council’s expense.

Now an Italian artist is thought to be behind subverted road signs in Edinburgh. The BBC have reported on the joker and street artist who is thought to be the brains behind the latest phenomenon. Clet Abraham from Florence has placed spoof road signs in several cities including London and Barcelona and features photographs of the signage on his website.

The images are similar to those created in other cities by Italian artist Clet Abraham

The signs are replicas of official road signs meaning (like the Bristol crocodile signs) are not always immediately spotted by officials and remain up for a while as a joke enjoyed by many who see them for what they are. In Edinburgh the BBC says: “The altered signs - including images of flowers and wine glasses - have been seen in South St David Street, Thistle Street and Union Street. The images are similar to those created in other cities by Italian artist Clet Abraham, whose work sells for thousands of pounds.”

The BBC goes onto to report on the reaction of Sorcha Carey, the director of Edinburgh Art Festival, who said: "The artist is very clever in what he does because the sign remains completely functional. He has intervened and has been playful with it but the sign is still visible. Drivers can still read the sign, it's still legible. He's not sprayed a whole can all over it and that's why he's so successful."

What do you think? Email your thoughts to harry@linkpublishing.co.uk or call me on Tel: 0117 9805 040 – or follow me on Twitter and join in the debate.


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