I just posted one week ago the final details and short video of the completion of the art conservation/mural restoration/graffiti removal from the Jim Morphesis Monument by Kent Twitchell (http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/projects/murals/art-conservation-of-exquisite-mural-on-los-angeles-freeway-completed/). That was on Wednesday. Sometime that same weekend, the mural got graffitied. Caltrans Vandalism Abatement Supervisor Vincent Moreno called me Monday morning and in a voice similar to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles said, “Dude, you got creamed.”
I’ve been waiting for this to happen. “What took you dudes so long?” I’ve been hoping it would happen actually, but I hoped it would happen while we were doing the art conservation/ mural restoration. Whatever… so now the inevitable has happened. It will happen again and again and again. One might think that this would be an impossible task to keep graffiti off of murals in downtown LA. I’ve had this discussion, of course, with lots of people. If you are asking yourself what’s the use or why go to the trouble, here’s a short dialog entitled: “So, is it useless to try and protect murals from graffiti vandals?” Its about 3/4 down the page: http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/jim-morphesis-monument-by-kent-twitchell/
So, why am I glad this happened? We have needed fresh graffiti so we can test our methods for removing it. We’ve got logistics to work out; since we are ready and organized to mobilize when we get a call, we have needed to standardize the way to make the maintenance visits so the whole process can run as smoothly as possible. I’ve needed to test and try different removal methods so we can calculate the costs and time required for removal in order to make the effort more efficient.
Hence, my reserved and calm manner as we address this vandalism. The cleaning-removal of the new graffiti is proving very different than the first cleaning that removed 8 years of accumulated old graffiti (which is how long ago it was cleaned last time according to Caltrans). But I’m sure that the details of those processes would bore you to tears… maybe I already have.
Oh! Here’s something interesting. Yesterday, as we were working on the mural, a black 4 door car stopped in the slow lane in front of the mural and a 30ish year old male hispanic leaned over from the driver’s seat and started taking pictures. Vincent, the Caltrans guy that was with us, went nuts telling him to drive on and the guy just laughed while he shot pics of us, the graffiti and our equipment. They he drove off. We wrote down his license plate number and reported him to the police. Vincent and the police said that it common for the taggers to come back to their tags and take pictures to post on the internet to brag. Later the police got back to us and said that the license didn’t match any info they had in their taggers database but there were going to run it through the criminal database and keep looking. Both Caltrans and the police were hoping it would turn into a lead to prosecute the vandals. Here’s more about what’s being done: http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/projects/murals/video-surveillance-of-public-art-mural-catching-graffiti-vandals/
We got the call about the new graffiti on Monday. We were “on it” with the removal Tues. morning. We’ll be on it when it happens again. We have lots to talk about as we begin work on other murals and hunt down the anarchist vandals. You can check out our progress at www.savefreewaymurals.com. Sign up for the auto-updates in the upper right corner and please give us a THUMBS UP! Feel free to leave your comments.
The mural is now back to looking its best. This was a good test. Caltrans got to see us jump into action action and respond to the tagging right away which warms their heart. MCLA and Kent Twitchell also were able to see our commitment to making this maintenance program work and to see our love for these murals. Commuters on the 101 southbound got to see that the City of Los Angeles is serious about keep the graffiti off. We’re hoping that some of those commuters are politicians and corporate types that will be impressed and will want to support the effort…
Want to contribute something to help keep the graffiti off the murals? Donate here: http://www.indiegogo.com/jimmorphesismonument
Several people have been asking about what is being done about catching the tagging vandals and why we don’t put up video surveillance cameras to monitor the public art site. Here is the update on that question: http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/projects/murals/video-surveillance-of-public-art-mural-catching-graffiti-vandals/
Restoration questions? Call Scott Haskins at 213 620 9125
See testimonials of FACL services: http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/testimonials
Questions for the artist? Kent Twitchell 310 709 2037
Here is the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles’ website: http://www.muralconservancy.org
“Like” us or be our “Friend” on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Freeway-Murals-Los-Angeles/306554516039121
graffiti abatement, mural maintenance, graffiti removal, Scott Haskins, MCLA, Mural conservancy, Kent Twitchell, Jim Morphesis, art conservation, video surveillance of public art, vandalism of public art