Marc Ecko, largely known for his fashion designs and graffiti-centric video game featuring Talib Kweli, is trying his hand at activism.
Ecko is backing a group of seven high school and college students as they prepare a First Amendment federal lawsuit against New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr., and the City of New York, claiming that the anti-graffiti legislation Bloomberg signed off on earlier this year is unconstitutional.
Ecko and the students hope that a federal judge will keep the city and the NYPD from enforcing the anti-graffiti laws, which stipulate that anyone under the age of 21 cannot possess or buy graffiti instruments like aerosol spray paint and broad-tipped indelible markers, according to The Associated Press. Previous legislation allowed anyone under age 18 to possess those items, though they were not allowed to buy them.
Ecko, who will pay the students’ legal bill, suggests that the laws are “overly broad” and aimed at censoring artists. Vallone, meanwhile, offers his opinion that Ecko’s involvement is just a publicity stunt.
“We have to look at the motive of this suit,” he told the AP. “It’s about corporate profits.” Ecko has released a video game called “Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure,” in which the main character creates graffiti around New York City. He fought Bloomberg last summer when, in an effort to promote that game, Ecko held a block party that featured some of the graffiti world’s best-known artists spray-painting mock subway cars.
Get SPIN.com headlines for FREE on your mobile phone! Just text SPIN to 68423 to sign up. It’s one message per day, Monday thru Friday, bringing you all the news that rocks, minus the carpal tunnel.