Friday, August 15, 2008

Graffiti art and the upper classes

marjorie says...

Anthony has a great post on Alterdestiny about a conflict over graffiti art in SoCAl.

A problem solved by art, then jacked up by government tools

I caught this story in the LA Times, which has also made it on the local news rotation here in Southern California.

A small family-owned grocery business in Highland Park (a north east Los Angeles neighborhood) was having a difficult time with graffiti—the owners told the LA Times that the store had been hit by “taggers” over 100 times. After some research, the Antonio family found that buildings in the area with murals were not being hit by graffiti. As it turns out, murals are highly respected in the world of street art and are generally untouched out of respect for the creators. The Antonio family spent $3,000 hiring some local artists to create a mural on the side of their grocery store. The plan worked—after mural was finished, the store went untouched for three months. Art solving real-world problems, very cool.

Enter The City. The LA Times article reports that after about three months, the city threatened the Antonio family with a $1,000 fine and/or imprisonment if it the mural wasn’t removed. City crews then came by and whitewashed the side of the building. Why? Usually the city doesn’t go after murals unless someone complains.

A Highland Park resident did complain. She said that the mural was “gang looking” and made her “nervous”. The kicker here is that she is with the Highland Park Neighborhood Council (bletch).

Click here to read the rest.