The man primarily responsible for Borf is, it turns out, an 18-year-old art student from Great Falls … 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….
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….
Over and over, the man who wanted to be known simply as Borf said his identity was not important. What was important was his message — an earnest though sometimes muddled mix of progressive politics filtered through a lens of youthful optimism….
Once upon a time, Borf said, he was “just, like, some liberal, like anybody,” but then he started reading, and found out he really wanted to be an anarchist. He 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.”
“Growing up is giving up,” he said. “I think some band said it.”
Read the whole thing here. Like most mysteries belatedly solved, finding out the real story is a little bittersweet. We interviewed Borf a few months back and our interactions were great. He’s one of the most prolific, inventive, and funny stencilists working; his impact on D.C. over the past year has been huge.
The three kids who were arrested are being charged with misdemeanors for defacing property. One of the them told the reporter “Borf is Dead.” Let’s hope not. Long live Borf!
Photo at top from Michael Oliver’s flickr photoset: Finding Borf. Post edited for clarity.