Art­work on road it by Van Go?

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Milly Vin­cent

‘Makes me smile when I pass’

WHEN an artist be­gan se­cretly al­ter­ing road signs, he imag­ined his work would not re­main on dis­play for very long.

How­ever, French­man Clet Abra­ham was as­ton­ished when it took 18 months for trans­port of­fi­cials in Ed­in­burgh to no­tice that he had qui­etly turned be­tween 15 and 20 of their signs into unique works of art.

The artist, who has pulled sim­i­lar stunts in Paris, Rome, Lon­don and Barcelona, says his work is usu­ally no­ticed and re­moved within four months. The 52-year-old is known for adding birds, sumo wrestlers and love hearts to signs. Mr Abra­ham blames the ‘crazy’ num­ber of road signs in Ed­in­burgh for his work’s longevity in the city.

He said: ‘I think there are too many street signs in Ed­in­burgh and so peo­ple don’t like street signs and there­fore they don’t bother look­ing at them. It’s very crazy and bu­reau­cratic to have that many signs.’

The city coun­cil has said the art­works can no longer legally re­main as work­ing road signs and must be re­moved, but added it would like to pre­serve them.

Mr Abra­ham said he has also left his mark on ten signs in Glas­gow.

He says he is care­ful not to cover more than 10 per cent of a sign, say- ing: ‘My work is about pro­hi­bi­tion and there­fore to cover the sign too much would mean it had lost its mean­ing.’

Lo­cals said they would like to see the unique signs re­main in place.

Calum Alexan­der, 29, of Ed­in­burgh, said: ‘I like it, it’s dif­fer­ent. It makes it not just a bor­ing sign. I think the coun­cil should leave them.’

Sara O’Con­nor, 48, said: ‘I love it, it’s fab. It will make me smile ev­ery time I pass it now.’

A spokesman for the City of Ed­in­burgh Coun­cil said the au­thor­ity has no choice but to re­move the signs.

He added: ‘We like Clet Abra­ham’s work – it’s quirky and has clearly cre­ated a buzz around the city and on so­cial me­dia. How­ever, th­ese signs are there for a spe­cific pur­pose and, hav­ing checked with the ex­perts, they’re no longer le­gal.

‘We’re ex­plor­ing op­tions around how best to re­move the art­work and whether it be can be pre­served.’

Mr Abra­ham has pre­vi­ously bought back his cre­ations from coun­cils that take them down, go­ing on to sell them for be­tween £1,000 and £10,000.

The works are fixed onto road signs us­ing re­mov­able vinyl stick­ers.

Love your work: One of the adapted signs

Street scenes: Artist Clet Abra­ham has added his per­sonal touch to road signs around Ed­in­burgh

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