Artist protecting London's graffiti penises with painted condoms
A graffiti artist in London is covering penis drawings with painted condoms in a bid to promote safe sex. The street artist - who is keeping his identity secret - launched Protect City Cocks to help show the importance of using condoms.
The project follows on from the artist noticing a huge number of graffiti penises painted on walls throughout London, which he called "senseless vandalism". To combat these, whenever he sees a painted penis, he paints a condom over it, along with the slogan "stay protected on the go".
He also paints the web address for NHS Shine, which is a contraceptive and sexual health clinic for young people, located in Newham. This means that his correction of the graffiti is as helpful as it is eye-catching.
With Public Health England (PHE) finding that young people are a lot more likely to be diagnosed with a sexually-transmitted infection (STI), projects like this are helpful if they encourage condom use due to the increase in STIs. In 2015, PHE found that those aged between 15 and 24 accounted for 51 per cent of genital warts, 52 per cent of gonorrhoea and 62 per cent of chlamydia cases, showing that more needs to be done to advertise the importance of protection.
The artist behind the condom graffiti told Buzzfeed: “One night I did some research on STI rates and then the idea just came to me to make stencils of a condom and a link where people can get free condoms.
"Instead of just having senseless vandalism, we can inform people about an important issue and give them a laugh at the same time.”
While the artist often spots painted penises on public buildings, bus stops and other locations, he also gets tips on where there are some located through the Instagram page he set up. He has a list of all the penises he hasn't protected yet so he can make sure he gets to them.
The artist said that most of the feedback he has received has been incredibly positive, however, he knows that his graffiti is just as illegal as the original paintings and so he would consider stopping if he started to receive negative feedback.
“I just hope that this has a positive impact and that it could get more people to use condoms and eventually lower the STI rates,” he said.