PSP street art rankles residents

Apparent underground graffiti-ad campaign has some blogging Los Angelenos ticked off.

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A few weeks ago, keen-eyed residents of San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago began noticing some rather strange street art. A series of identical graffiti characters (pictured) began appearing on buildings and sidewalks in each of the cities.

Besides their high quality, what set them apart was that all the characters were playing with Sony's handheld, the PSP. However, Sony has not officially endorsed the various pieces of art, which, in most cases, is illegally painted onto public and private property. Requests for comment on the campaign were unreturned as of press time.

While seeing items from the gameworld pop up in graffiti is nothing new, many artists were concerned by what they saw as the corporate co-opting of their medium. Now it appears that everyday citizens' sensibilities have been rankled by the campaign. The technology site Popgadget posted an angry e-mail from a resident of the Lincoln Heights area of Los Angeles.

"Is anyone else concerned that Sony Playstation paid someone to vandalize our neighborhood to sell their latest toy," writes "Michelle," who claims to be a Lincoln Heights resident. "It's quite obviously an advertisement, but when I called Playstation Consumer Services this morning, they claim to know nothing about the campaign. I guess there's just some clever youngster out here in LH that just really LOVES the PSP and wants the whole world to know about it..."

Michelle also told Popgadget she has since taken action against the PSP graffiti. "I called the city today to have the stencils on the back of Juan's Market painted over," she wrote. "For some strange reason, I'd rather see my friendly local gang lay claim to that wall then have it given over to some crappy corporation and their urban marketing campaign."

The emergence of the PSP graffiti characters isn't the first time street art has helped hype a game product. In May, the Xbox 360 teaser Ourcolony.net ant logo was plastered all around many US and European metropolises.

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