As a street artist in some form for many years, Jason Schoppe was sometimes stereotyped as a gang banger, though his mission was the opposite.
An artist with formal schooling, his creations are done with a careful and skilled hand but they are found on street corners and perched on the sides of roads.
Recently, the 36-year-old artist has focused on nailing his street-inspired art to utility poles, or staking a large poster in the grass in public places around South Bend.
He has nailed about 300 works of art to poles around town, and hopes to reach 1,000.
I put conscientious messages to inspire people to try to be aware of their surroundings, Schoppe said.
Schoppes art walks a delicate line in the debate of art versus destruction in public spaces a debate that seeks to define what is a public space and how people are allowed to enjoy it.
South Bend police Capt. Darryl Boykins; artist Ish Muhammad Nieves; John Sherry, a marketing professor at Notre Dame who is co-publisher of a book on street art; and local lawyer Andre Gammage led a discussion with dozens of artists and community members in the Artpost studio on Madison Street.
There was a spot near the river with a stenciled piece of art. I found it to be an addition to my day, Westhues said. To me that is art, she added.
In studying street artists, Sherry said he found there is a sentiment of reclaiming public space and bringing art to people who may not have access to an art gallery.
The artists saw themselves as creating community, Sherry said.