WEST CHESTER — It would seem Chester County has it own mysterious street artist out to brighten your day and perhaps make you think. He goes by the nom de guerre Cassius King, and has created ’stickertaffiti,’ graphic images from a combination of contact paper, vinyl sticker, and electrical tape images that he attaches on otherwise mundane street signs, walls and businesses throughout the area.

We caught up with him on Wednesday in a darkened West Chester parking garage where he was checking on one of his works after one of his works ran in the Daily Local in December.

“I spend a significant amount of time in my car and I started getting ideas that you could alter street signs for the entertainment of commuters,” said King, a local educator. “If someone could get the connection or a smile, that was my goal. I developed a sense of ability to do this myself.”

King has created close to 75 of the roadside diversions. The first was in October 2017 when he placed an image of rocker Tom Petty on a “Learn to Fly Here!" sign near the Brandywine Airport. The artist hoped it would be a tribute to the rocker who had recently died and his fans could connect with one of his greatest songs, “Learning To Fly.”

King, who grew up in Newtown Square, has dabbled in art over the years but this is his first foray into public art.

While he has told some friends and other artists about his creations, he’d rather stay in the shadows and let people focus on the art. He said he is a big fan of street art, particularly of the world famous Banksy, whose work sells for millions of dollars.

He feels authorities should welcome his creations on what are usually bland signs that are ugly or overlooked and he hopes to create a message that might bring a smile someone’s face and make them think.

“I like the ephemeral nature of the medium,” said King as he repaired his man on a high wire work on an upper floor of the Walnut St. parking garage in West Chester. Some of the works remain for months, while others disappear in just a few days. "It’s a medium that lasts, looks good, and is next best to spray paint. The way I set it up, I can execute it in a short amount of time. The vinyl stickers or tape is not destroying anything and I figure a worst case scenario, I would just.take it down if stopped by a police officer.”

He took a reporter around to the borough to look at some of his work. Tom Waits imposed on the grim reaper whit the words, “Tom Waits for no man” or a silhouette of a child picking up a quarter, which is actually glued to the ground. One of his works near the county courthouse re-imagined the borough’s logo to include a meter reader, parking tickets, a tow truck. The town is known for its strict parking regulations.

His most recent work appeared briefly during the Christmas holidays when he changed the sign for Walgreen’s Pharmacy in West Chester to Al Green’s with a photo of the singing legend.

“I put in on late Christmas Eve when I knew they would be closed through the holiday.” King said. “It stayed up through Dec. 26. I don’t know who took it down. When I asked the employees, they were aloof and they had no idea what I was talking about.”

While most of his work has been street sign size, King has a number of bigger works planned in the next few months. To view all of the street art, fans can check out his Instagram page, cassius.k1ng.

“I’m not worried of legality, the content has never been edgy enough, there is no foul language, nothing I couldn’t show my children and it’s not permanent. My wife supports it and she is the true green light to try this.”

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