Fans of street art were shocked this morning to learn that rising star on the Cape Town gentrification scene, Gerald Butterworth, has been unceremoniously kicked out of the crew with which he was affiliated because he insisted on using his own name when producing ‘tags, graffs and murals’. A scenester who asked not to be named, but fuck him, we’ll name him anyway, Andrew da Silva from 4 Tuscany Heights, Kaalkop Ridge Road, Observatory, drives a silver-grey Hyundai i20 with a vanity plate that says ‘THG_LIFE’, said over live chat this morning: ‘I don’t know where G-Dog gets off thinking it’s okay to put his own name to his work about social issues such as crime and stuff. I mean, it’s a tradition among street artists to have a pseudonym. We have to protect our anonymity. Even if we’re now getting contracts to do work for the City [of Cape Town], we could still get into trouble, you know. Even though we’re showing work through major project spaces and galleries, and everyone on Facebook knows our real names, and we’re being funded to go all around the world to paint pictures of rhinos and stuff, we need to preserve that, like, street edge, you know? So, ja, we had to hoof him. We tried to negotiate with him, but he was adamant. He wouldn’t even add a numeral to his name.’
Speaking from his mom’s kitchen just minutes after his expulsion, Butterworth was defiant: ‘I’m not a gangster! I’m not part of a click, or a clique, or a posse or a set. We were just a crew , sharing our work with the community, painting like big, expressive faces and figures with long arms and dreadlocks, and unreadable words. I didn’t see the need to hide behind a fake name. My old lady named me Gerald Butterworth, and as Gerald Butterworth I shall be known. If that’s not “street” enough for the Easy Crew, then screw them, bro. It’s actually MORE edgy to put your name on your work, given that you may get a misdemeanour fine of, like, R325 and your name on a registry.’ Gerald’s mom declined to comment, but did insist on sending ArtThrob home with some freshly-baked rusks in a foily.