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Ad Buster

Jordan Seiler, 29, is on a mission to replace outdoor advertisements with art. Late last month, he coordinated a stealth campaign to whitewash and redecorate swaths of lower Manhattan.

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“I don’t really have a problem with advertising. I kind of enjoy it. And I’m a freelance photographer, so there are definitely times when I’ve shot advertisements. There’s a difference, though, between advertising that’s presented in situations where you have a choice as to whether or not to take in the message and places where you do not.

On October 25, as part of an ongoing project with my group Public Ad Campaign, about 80 volunteers and I targeted street posters that we believe are put up illegally, first whitewashing them, then making art on top. The advertising company NPA found out and started postering on top of what we had done. The cops came. Seven volunteers were arrested, and five ended up spending about 30 hours in jail.

I honestly believe that I’m right—that people should be allowed to make commentary like this and that I need to not be hiding. But at this point I don’t think I can do my work in the same way anymore. With the NYPD Vandal Squad after me, they’re probably just looking for reasons to throw me in jail.

As told to Erica Orden.

Seiler will speak at a Lucid NYC event at Bowery Electric on November 4.

Have good intel? Send tips to intel@nymag.com.


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