Even the graffiti artists are getting older. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have just targeted graffiti vandals for one of the city's 'quality of life' campaigns, but it does not have the same sense of mission as many of the previous struggles to reduce minor crime. After all, it is difficult to get mad with those who want to literally paint the town red - and blue and green - when you have just been to an exhibition, in the trendy Chelsea area of Manhattan, featuring 99 pieces of graffiti produced by 31 artists. Attending the show, one of a four-part series held by the Aurora Gallery, were some of the pioneers of the art form in the city's grimmer days, back in the 1970s and 1980s. Then, New Yorkers always dressed down and never, ever looked at their fellow passengers on the subway for fear of getting mugged. But even without looking around, they could not miss the scarring of the trains, which were covered in scribblings and more interesting graffiti outpourings on the inside and outside. Doing that scarring were artists such as K.C., Jack, Part and Ree (their street names), who were showing off their work at the opening party. They are now all in their 40s, and a number have settled down with families. They have also stopped randomly painting cars, trucks or street corners, and dodging the police. Now, their graffiti is often on canvas - Jack, for example, will draw a train on canvas and then cover it in graffiti. The rage they had for so much in society has been replaced by workday clothes and tame behaviour. And with the respectability has come money, with some of their art pieces sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Mr Bloomberg is not the only New York mayor to battle graffiti. But despite all the efforts, it is difficult to eliminate. The mayor's weapons include a combined anti-vandalism team of the police department and transit police, infrared cameras, and a US$500 reward for those whose calls lead to the arrest of graffiti vandals. Repeat violators will be put on a newly created blacklist. The campaign's immediate result is the arrest of Miguel Camacho, who left his tag, 'Vamp', on the property of many stores in my neighbourhood, particularly those where he received poor service. While the artists showed no sympathy for Vamp, Mr Bloomberg's 'zero tolerance' is still called 'ignorance'. They want him to come to the exhibition to learn the difference between real graffiti art and meaningless scribble, so that he will not damage the art that has been rooted in New York's fabric since the late 1960s. 'We are too old to draw on walls and trains now, so we came up with this canvas thing,' said K.C. 'But a New York without graffiti won't be New York.'