Mook (graffiti artist)

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Mook is the graffiti moniker used by an American man Michael Monack, who was active in doing illegal graffiti in Pittsburgh in the early 2000s, and subsequently in the late 2010s by a Portland Oregon man Marcus Edward Gunther. The name means "knucklehead or idiot."[1]

Views of Mook's work
Close-up on "Mook" tag on South Tenth Street Bridge
view of bridgework Monack vandalized

Michael Monack[edit]

Monack began as a tagger targeting the South Side and Shadyside neighborhoods, but after his tags were abated, he began placing his tags in hard to reach places, including tall bridges and highway overpasses.[1] He drew the ire of the then-Pittsburgh Mayor Thomas J. Murphy, Jr., who had tried to provide an outlet for individuals interested in graffiti to use the walls along the Eliza Furnace trail.[1] He has etched "Mook" onto a Department of Public Works "Graffiti Busters" truck that was tasked with cleaning up graffiti.[1] At one point, merchants from the South Side, tired of having their businesses targeted confronted Monack. He tagged "So you want to get tough?" on the Birmingham Bridge.[1] in response.

He became known around the community for vandalizing previously unheard of places.[1] According to Pittsburgh officials, "He's going into areas no one's gone before."[1] He became known among law enforcement across Pennsylvania.[2] After the media coverage of Monack's "Mook" tagging in the Pittsburgh area, it is possible that multiple copycats have applied graffiti using the moniker "Mook".[1] As Monack received more coverage for his daredevil mischief, he gained more opponents as well as supporters.[3] One of his supporters described him as "determined and skilled and has a sense of humor," commenting that "Although Mook has committed a crime, everyone loves him and he makes people happy."[4] Others objected to the public praise and commented his supporters should help clean up his graffiti.[5]

On November 1, 2001, after receiving anonymous tip letters, police arrested 18-year-old South Side resident Michael Monack.[6] He was found with graffiti supplies.[6] In October 2002, Monack was sentenced to thousands of dollars in fines and community service in exchange for his guilty plea to criminal mischief and defiant trespass.[7][8] On March 2003, police arrested Monack again for continuing to engage in graffiti.[9] Monack had been spotted in the Armstrong Tunnel at 5AM with two juvenile delinquents. He attempted to escape apprehension and fled to the South Tenth Street Bridge where he was arrested. Monack was charged with criminal mischief, conspiracy, possessing an instrument of a crime and corruption of a minor for being the group's "ringleader."[9] His hearings were attended by neighborhood activists from areas targeted by his tagging where they expressed their extreme displeasure at his behavior.[10]

As of 2004, Monack had become a tattoo artist in Pittsburgh.[8] When asked by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about his opinion on the latest crop of the city's graffiti artists, he described them as "garbage."[8] Though, even years after ceasing his tagging, Mook's "infamy precedes him in many circles of the city."[8] However, his reputation as a graffiti artist in the city has been eclipsed by now deceased Daniel Montano whose moniker is MFONE[11] eMook "made his reputation scaling bridge suspensions and highway underpasses to spray "Mook" in places where even angels fear to tread."|source = Tony Norman, columnist for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette[7]

Marcus Gunther[edit]

Oregon Department of Transportation and the Portland Police Bureau began investigating after graffiti appeared on two sets of brand new electronic signs hanging over I-84 freeway in Portland, Oregon before they have even been commissioned. One of the sets was tagged with the moniker "Mook" on June 29th, 2018. On September 13th, 2018, a Portland man Marcus E Gunther was arrested and charged with a felony criminal mischief and three counts of misdemeanor criminal mischief. He was also accused of a probation violation.[12] He remains in custody in Multnomah County Inverness Jail as of November 28th, 2018 for these charges as well as other unresolved matters. [13] The damage was nearly $25,000. He was linked back after being caught on video in a separate "Mook" graffiti incident on September 6, 2018 at a storage unit.[14] Gunther has prior convictions including unlawful possession of heroin and DWI[15] The Columbian reports that Gunther's graffiti tag has been found in Vancouver, Washington as well.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h McNulty, Timothy (October 5, 2001). "Police anger reaches new heights over Mook's daredevil graffiti". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on October 5, 2001.
  2. ^ White, Bill (Aug 7, 2004). "Graffiti punks in high places spur curiosity". The Morning Call.
  3. ^ Andrews, Al (October 12, 2001). "The Mook Case Is Being Mishandled By Local Officials". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  4. ^ Silverman, Auora (November 7, 2001). ""Mook" Makes Us Happy". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  5. ^ Snedden, Kenneth (November 10, 2001). "Those Who Glorify "Mook" Should Help to Clean Up His Messes". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  6. ^ a b "Man Arrested in "Mook" Graffiti Spree". Beaver County Times. November 1, 2001.
  7. ^ a b Norman, Tony (March 13, 2003). "Painted as a menace, graffiti artist 'Mook' is held for trial". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  8. ^ a b c d Reilly, Richard Byrne (November 14, 2004). "Local Graffiti Legend Doesn't Miss Tagging". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  9. ^ a b "City police arrest noted graffiti writer 'Mook'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. March 3, 2003.
  10. ^ Norman, Tony (March 14, 2003). "Will jailing of graffiti artist open a big can of paint?". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  11. ^ Norman, Tony (January 29, 2008). "Daniel Montano, artist on the run". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  12. ^ "Officers Arrest Tagger Thursday Afternoon (Photo)". Portland Police Public Information. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  13. ^ Multnomah County Sheriff's Office Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ News, KATU. "Police arrest man suspected of tagging I-84 freeway signs". KATU. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  15. ^ News, Portland Tribune. "police graffiti tagger inflicted $24000 in property damage". Portland Tribune. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  16. ^ "Portland police arrest man allegedly responsible for 'MOOK' graffiti tags". The Columbian. 14 September 2018.