During the early morning hours of April 28, well-known graffiti artist Katsu took to the skies above Manhattan and used a specially outfitted drone to spray paint over one of the largest billboards in the city.
The act is being recognized as the first time a drone has been used to vandalize something using spray paint.
In a video taken of the incident, you can see Katsu navigating the drone in front of the massive Calvin Klein billboard. Once the drone is in position over the ad’s model — Kim Kardashian’s sister Kendall Jenner — Katsu lets it fly with the spray paint, carefully flying the drone left to right and up and down while drawing on the model’s face.
In an interview with Wired, Katsu explained that the situation was “a bit tense,” adding that maintaining the drone’s equilibrium was the hardest part.
Katsu previously showed off his spray-painting drones during an art exhibition, where he debuted paintings he made on canvas using the remote-controlled vandals.
The drone he used in the graffiti incident was likely the same he used for his paintings, a DJI Phantom.
Katsu told Wired that a newer version of his graffiti drone is in the works and will be ready for use “very soon.”
While this is the first known instance of a drone being used to vandalize something, it’s not the first time a drone has been used for illegal purposes. Some people are alleged to have used their drones to spy on neighbors, and prisoners have received drug shipments from drones, which easily flew over fences and walls.
Still Katsu’s act, while illegal, isn’t nearly as dangerous as supplying prison inmates with drugs or violating a neighbor’s privacy.
One thing is for sure, though: Police across the country just got a six-story wakeup call about the potential for drone-based vandalism.