TRTL 4 profit

Jul 30, 2003 at 12:00 am

It was only a matter of time before capitalism would wrap its greedy fingers around the unholy Detroit graffiti image known as TRTL. Freelance artist Jeremy Harvey of Oakland County has trademarked the design — a simple outlined profile of a turtle that’s spray-painted all over metro Detroit, causing controversy due to its unwanted presence on small businesses and public art — and he’s selling TRTL T-shirts, lunch pails and other paraphernalia online and in stores. Harvey says he’s moved about 50 shirts in three weeks, including one sold to a cop. Harvey, co-curator of the annual “Dirty Show” sex-art exhibit, says he’s nervous to inform the cops, but must, that’s he’s not the tagger, he’s just making some dough.

“Right now, I’d describe myself as a fashion mogul,” says Harvey, who claims he’s no TRTL fan. “I personally think the TRTL is like Detroit getting syphilis. It’s on spaces you don’t want it to be on, just like syphilis. Everywhere you go, you see it. … I don’t know who he is, but he’s the best ad rep you’d ever want — I’ll never pay him.”

Harvey says he’ll turn in TRTL if he meets him, or her, or them, to the cops, and hears there’s a $10,000 reward. “I think the only way to stop him is if someone else makes money on him,” says Harvey. “I’m a fan of graffiti. I just really think his shit’s retarded.”

But not too retarded to make a buck off, eh, Jeremy?

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