BNE sticker guy: The mayor wants you!


Photo by Eric in SF

If you’ve been anywhere downtown in recent months, you’ve seen the BNE stickers. On street lamps, on newsstands, on sidewalks, on pretty much any surface susceptible to a piece of adhesive. From what I can gather, it’s the work of a well known sticker graffiti artist, known in Japan, New York, Los Angeles, and, well, here. Some people call it art, some people call it vandalism. Gavin Newsom, he thinks it’s the latter. So he’s offering a $2500 reward to anyone that gives the City clues that’ll lead to this sticker-tagging guy.

Well kudos to you BNE, you’ve just reached street legend status. Now might be a good time to lay low.

9 Comments so far

  1. derek (unregistered) on July 18th, 2006 @ 6:25 pm

    I thought it was a techno label for awhile. I see this shit everywhere in the Mission. I guess it beats the scribbling that the gangs do over murals


  2. violet (unregistered) on July 18th, 2006 @ 7:40 pm

    street art is not a crime.


  3. SEAN (unregistered) on July 18th, 2006 @ 10:22 pm

    I was wondering who this person was ever since it became so ubiquitous. Within the first week, I was beside myself with needing to know. Can anyone translate the kanji/hanzi characters that often appear with this? If someone can and hasn’t seen it yet, I’ll snap a picture of that tag version.

    (On that note: I’ve been wondering from the get-go, just WTF “BNE” stands for. I’m dying with curiousity.)


  4. Pete (unregistered) on July 18th, 2006 @ 11:30 pm

    Comments on this blog: http://tellumo.net/2005/10/03/bne/ translate the kanji.

    COmments here: http://blog.debtjoa.com/?p=157#comments say the stickers are by SF tagger Benet


  5. cd (unregistered) on July 19th, 2006 @ 10:33 am

    in the strictest sense of the word, street art IS a crime, though you’re free to think it shouldn’t be.

    also – while I don’t have too much of a problem with the cutesy little phrases or non-gendered snow beings sprayed on the sidewalk, stickering up shit so it can turn into a muddy, peeling mess after exposure to the elements is just lame. and that guy should be stopped in every city he’s defacing. just because he’s a monied vandal who can get around doesn’t make him inspired or an artist.

    To me, BNE stands for Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, to this guy who knows what it stands for, but for public property in general, it stands for rude a-hole who likes shortcutting art and symbolism.

    tell him to stick. somewhere he owns.


  6. RW (unregistered) on July 20th, 2006 @ 3:22 pm

    When I saw this on the news, I knew I saw “BNE” before: it is the airport code for Brisbane, Australia– so I see “BNE” stuck to my check-in luggage tags whenever I fly there. I read elsewhere that the characters below it have a meaning in Japanese. So to me it looks like left-over marketing material for some airline’s campaign announcing Brisbane-Japan flights.


  7. DD (unregistered) on July 30th, 2006 @ 9:25 am

    i’ve heard comparisons between a vanity project like benet’s BNT and the savvy ironic and poignant work of shepard fairey’s OBEY series. ridiculous.


  8. cd (unregistered) on July 31st, 2006 @ 11:00 am

    not being terribly familiar with the “obey” series, other than having seen that shit all over town too, i have to ask: are you saying that “obey” is a more accomplished form of vandalism?

    if it’s just other stickers on other objects, then it’s all the same. if it’s just messages on t-shirts, fine.


  9. whistler (unregistered) on August 7th, 2006 @ 10:53 pm

    Thoughts on possible definitions of “BNE”:
    ‘Bush Non-Emphatic’
    ‘Bush National Embarrassment’
    ‘Bush Needs Elimination’



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