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San Francisco barbershop fights graffiti with rubber ducks

With rubber duck armada, S.F. barber battles taggers
With rubber duck armada, S.F. barber battles taggers 04:01

SAN FRANCISCO -- A longtime San Francisco barber, Shorty Maniace, has never been the type to ruffle anyone's feathers.

But when faced with unsightly graffiti next to his beloved barbershop J.P. Kempt, rather than duck responsibility, Maniace hatched a plan.

"This was just me messing around and having fun and it turned out to be something great," Maniace said 

His weapon of choice? Rubber duckies. Hundreds of them. 

"I see a lot of people smile and I smile every time I look at it," he said. 

It all started innocently enough, Maniace had some rubber ducks left over from a Halloween party and decided to put them to good use. 

"Who doesn't love a rubber duck?" he asked. 

Armed with a drill and a vision, he began attaching funny fowl to the boarded-up business next door.

The result is a colorful work of art. So colorful, in fact, it has become a hotspot for influencers looking for some duck-themed dazzle. 

"I've never seen a duck wall before and I just had to take a selfie," said San Francisco resident Sherlin Wong

All in all, he's got about 700 rubber duckies of different shapes and colors. There's a pirate, a unicorn, a clown and some that aren't ducks at all.  

"I've had people ask me, 'Does it come from China?' I tell them, 'I don't know where they migrated from but they're safe here now,'" Maniace said. 

When someone occasionally spray-paints them, Maniace quickly finds a replacement. 

"What I've noticed more than anything is stealing," he said. "I would love to be the fly on the wall to see that duck cartel."

His unconventional approach has even received a stamp of approval from the city.  

"I absolutely loved this. It really quacked me up," said Rachel Gordon, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. 

According to Gordon, the city spends far more than $10 million a year fighting graffiti. She said any effort to stop it is welcome, as long as it's legal. 

"As long as the rubber ducks are not blocking the path of travel, which they're not, it's fine what they did. What I especially appreciate is that he asked the property owner, 'Is this OK to do?'" she added. 

Turns out, those rubber ducks aren't just good for the neighborhood -- they're also good for business. 

"This was a corner nobody looked at and now more and more people are going, 'I had no idea there was a barbershop here,'" Maniace said.

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