Artist’s altered Edinburgh street signs went unnoticed for 18 months

Clet Abraham has altered street signs around the world. Picture: Facebook
Clet Abraham has altered street signs around the world. Picture: Facebook
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A street artist who altered almost 20 road signs in Edinburgh city centre has revealed that his whimsical alterations had gone unnoticed for 18 months.

Frenchman Clet Abraham, 52, confirmed he was the artist behind the altered signs, featuring images including sumo wrestlers, wine glasses and a doughnut, pictured right.

The fine art graduate said he thought people had not noticed his work because there were too many signs in the city.

He said he hoped they remained in the streets as they were “for everyone”.

Speaking from his home in Italy, Mr Abraham said it normally took between three to four months for people to notice his art work on road signs in other cities across the world. He said: “I was in Edinburgh in March 2017, so it was very slow for there to be a voice about my work, I find it very funny.

“I think there are too many street signs in Edinburgh and so people don’t like street signs and therefore they don’t bother looking at them. It’s very crazy and bureaucratic to have that many signs.

“I never cover more than about 10 per cent of the sign as I don’t want to disturb the meaning, which is very important to me.

“My work is about prohibition and therefore to cover the sign too much would mean it had lost its meaning.

“I’m against authority without discussion. While I’m not against signs they are a symbol of authority as they give an order.”

Mr Abraham said he had also left his stamp on ten signs in Glasgow, and had picked Scotland because he had a cultural affinity with the country and its green landscape, and he singled out Edinburgh due to its “beautiful” architecture.

The artist takes between two days and two years to come up with each design before hand-drawing it and then putting it onto a computer to make a sticker.

He has changed signs all over the world – and been arrested in Japan. He was caught by the police several times but has usually been allowed to carry on once he has explained to the police that he is not a vandal.

He said: “I take care to do it at night and it doesn’t take long as I’ve already made the stickers but yes I have been caught in Italy, London and Japan. I’m so pleased they haven’t been removed in Edinburgh.”