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Kent Twitchell’s Morphesis mural, of which that we just finished the mural conservation,… tagged big time!


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.”


Just cleaned, Jim Morphesis Monument mural with new graffiti

4 or 5 days after completion of restoration, major graffiti hit across the entire bottom half. But, actually, this is not a bad thing...

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.


Anarchists strike

Social disorder... newly tagged, just restored mural


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.


Removing graffiti from a mural

Starting the removal process


Graffiti removal almost done

The bulk of the graffiti removed.

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

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About Scott M. Haskins

Scott Haskins has been in professional art conservation since 1975, specializing in the conservation/restoration of easel paintings, murals and art on paper. FACL, Inc. is known nationally for doing A+ work no matter the size or difficulty of the project. We are happy to do a quick cleaning on a family heirloom. Our client list and resume is also full of very satisfied clients of large, difficult/complicated projects at remote locations. Excellent services are also available as an Expert Witness/Legal Testimony in art related matters. Consultation on art related projects occur regularly including extensive insurance evaluations for insured or insurer. Services are offered worldwide. Scott M. Haskins is also author of "How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster." He can be reached at 805 564 3438 Video and written testimonials at http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/testimonials/
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2 Responses to Kent Twitchell’s Morphesis mural, of which that we just finished the mural conservation,… tagged big time!

  1. Kelly Sanders says:

    *&%$##@!!(*&^&@$%! Can I say that here? How can someone function in society and family with such an attitude of disrespect towards others? Thanks for all of your work on this effort to keep this public art beautiful and not to succumb to the darkside. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts in the future and following your progress.

  2. Pingback: Video Surveillance of Public Art Mural- Catching Graffiti Vandals | Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.)

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