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Tag Boat: Graffiti Collective Turns Ship Into Art Project

geisha boat graffiti

Many old cruiseliners may end up stripped for parts, but the Duke of Lancaster is proof that one man's scrap can become another's sprawling, blank canvas.

According to a CNN report by Sheena McKenzie, a graffiti collective recently cut a deal with the owners of an abandoned ship beached on Wales’ Dee Estuary, and invited artists from around Europe to start spray painting the vessel, while also pondering the theme of corruption. Some highlights: Three suit-and-tie-clad monkeys sitting on bags of money, some cartoonish pirates and a demon riding a uniformed pig.

The project is progressing so nicely that the collective is now hoping to make the ship the focal point for an upcoming arts festival—which would be a triumphant second (or really, third or fourth) act for the battered, seven-story ship. The Duke of Lancaster had originally been a British passenger ferry in the 1950s and ’60s, then a car ferry in the ’70s, until she got turned into beached mall, cinema and arcade, operating until 1985 under the far less dignified name of The Funship.

"It's got the potential to be the biggest open-air art project in the world," the project’s co-ordinator, Paul Williams, told CNN.

Who knows? The project might even inspire a cruise line to graffiti-up one of its active ships, and perhaps appeal to an edgier, punk-plus-cruise-loving traveler.

Photo by Dan Callister / Alamy

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