Update: The comments on the story have raised a few questions about the t-shirts and copyright of graffiti. We talked about that with an intellectual property lawyer. Here you go.
You’ve seen Brrr’s work. It’s pervasive. The round face with eyes half-closed accompanied by the letters “BRRR” is drawn on walls, trash cans, overpasses and even portable toilets all over Louisville.
Now the Louisville Metro Police say they know who Brrr is. Local artist Philip Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, 25, was arrested Wednesday afternoon in connection to an alleged assault and robbery at the Regalo gift shop on S. 4th Street. The shop had been selling t-shirts with the Brrr artwork on them. The shirt was allegedly based on a Brrr tag on the Regalo shop, whose managers said proceeds from the shirt’s sales would go to Brightside, the city’s beautification department.
Police accuse Rodriquez of grabbing 19 T-shirts from the shop and tussling with the owner, Jeffrey Dotson.
Rodriguez allegedly told Dotson that he couldn’t sell the T-shirts because the image—that’d be the Brrr graffiti tag—was “copyrighted,” according to an arrest warrant. Rodriguez and Dotson pushed each other and Rodriquez ran off with the T-shirts.
On his way out, Rodriquez allegedly knocked over a window display (on purpose), breaking about $100 worth of stuff, the warrant says.
Police allege that Rodriquez’s tag can be found on “hundreds of properties city-wide and created a great deal of expense to other property owners.”
They also allege that he’s made it known publicly known that he made the tag.
Rodriguez has been charged with second-degree robbery and third-degree criminal mischief.