Kent Twitchell painted the mural “Jim Morphesis Monument” as part of a two piece mural called “Altarpiece.” And Altarpiece is part of the 1984 Olympics murals series that adorned our freeways with 12 murals by living masters. The city of Los Angeles undertook the painting of the murals, originally to promote community pride and to put the art where everyone would see it. It was truly a gift to the public. The artists were and are major art personalities in LA and influence 10,000’s of youth with their work and community outreach. What is the “trickle down influence?!
Since their placement on the freeways in 1984, however, the dark influence of vandalism has saddened millions of Los Angelinos and visitors.
There have been several attempts over the years to restore the mural but efforts have always fallen short when it comes to maintaining them and keeping the graffiti off. Its not because of lack of interest by the public. Whenever there’s a chance for the public to voice an opinion about what to do, it is loud and clear to keep them clean!
In fact, leave a comment and sound off!
These murals are loved by the Los Angelinos! There have been a number of reasons why an ongoing effort hasn’t worked, but it boils down to establishing of a professional, committed organization to follow through and that can and will work well with others.
Enter the picture: The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles and a partnership with FACL, Inc. (Fine Art Conservation Laboratories) and Scott M. Haskins. MCLA has targeted the saving, protection and maintaining of these 12 Olympic murals from 1984 as their highest priority right now. The problem that motivates MCLA? Caltrans. The highway maintenance department of the State of California, who has a mandate to paint out graffiti, has painted out 8 of the 12 murals much to the despair of artists, art lovers, and the general public which has commented energetically on blogs and websites everytime a mural gets painted out. In fact, leave a comment on this article!
MCLA has been fantastic at raising awareness, making the political connections, fund raising and pulling together the professional organization to get the job done and follow through for the long term. Combine MCLA’s resources, contacts and energy with the preservation and restoration expertise of FACL, Inc. and Scott M. Haskins and there has been great progress! The first mural on the list to benefit from the new partnerships and efforts: Kent Twitchell’s “Jim Morphesis Monument.”
Last week, Scott Haskins met with the artist, Kent Twitchell and Caltrans’ Vincent Moreno to test the cleaning of this first mural and begin the art conservation and mural restoration processes.
Here’s a short video on what happened:
Kent Twitchell was blown away by the successful results of these cleaning tests. Its an emotional experience to see a gorgeous work of art buried in filth and darkness and then see it liberated and be resurrected and reclaimed. I was moved also. So, where there was doubt now there is hope and light and we see the way to get the job done. And, in fact, there is a doable plan for FACL, Inc. and Scott M. Haskins to follow through on and do quality, efficient work.
The job now requires doing the paperwork with Caltrans, getting into motion the logistics (which are not a few!) and then scheduling the work. But if the stars align and the traffic gods comply, FACL, Inc. and Scott M. Haskins could be on the wall in three weeks and by the middle of November, you could being seeing the really terrific, world class, colorful mural of Jim Morphesis Monument by Kent Twitchell resurface again.
UPDATE: Go to http://www.savefreewaymurals.com to see FACL, Inc. and Scott M. Haskins in action doing the graffiti removal and art/mural conservation work. Want to see and know the inside scoop on this super cool high profile job that millions see as they drive by? Stay tuned for more videos, soon to appear!
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Mural conservation and art conservation questions? Call Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438
The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles: Isabel Rojas-Williams 213 291 6900
This type of vandalism infuriates me…
Hi there, my name’s Kavin, and I’ve tagged over other street art before but the older I get the more I see how wrong it was. I’m now working with a youth group to help them be better members of our community.
Good for you Kavin. Thanks for your comment. Best wishes.
Hey guys, I drove by yesterday and saw that it was badly tagged again. So sad. Who cleans it off now?
Hi Dotty. Yes, I got a couple of calls about it. The clean up is in the hands of a squad of the original artists of the Olympic murals who want to keep their own murals graffiti free (Kent Twitchell is not part of the clean up crew). So, sometimes they get it off within a couple of weeks and sometimes it takes them a couple of months.
Hello there. I liked your great blog post on Graffiti Removal from Kent Twitchell’s Mural. Helpful and insightful post on these murals I drive by everyday. Another solid update. Keep it coming!
I applaud your efforts to keep this mural clean and looking good for us all. I agree, I think its a matter of pride for the City of LA to keep these murals clean.
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As this video points out, maintenance graffiti removal is essential. But if someone doesn’t follow through, then the taggers take over. That’s why we are looking for mural “angels” or companies to adopt a mural. We have the organization of professionals in place to do the job right once we have sponsors.
These murals were put up in celebration of the 1984 Olympics as part of community pride. In a sense, its public art for the people and the 101 freeway kind acts like a drive through art gallery with no admission charge!
Faro’ da guida. Sei invitata.
Come dicevo trovo quello dei murales un settore del tutto affascinante e che spero di visionare dal vivo quando torno a L.A.
Allora intanto ti dico che mi farebbe un po’ paura lavorare sull’autostrada soprattutto sul QUELL’autostrada. Come pensate di proteggere il murales da future tags?
Se ti capita di tornare e io sono ancora in zona, me lo devi far sapere cosi magari ti porto a visitare un cantiere.
Per proteggere il dipinto da graffiti nel futuro, una pellicola spessa di B72 sembra di far da barriera. Lo sverniciatore che stiamo utilizzando sembra di fermarsi allo strato acrilico, per fortuna. Ne ho fatto diverse prove prima di attaccare il muro e sono soddisfatto degli risultati che sono consistenti. Così, con uno strato acrilico, quando i vandali colpiscono, sarà una cosa da 15 – 30 minuti da resolversi… penso. Spero.
Just watched the video. First of all, congratulation on the project. As for the “prove di pulitura” of course they are unconventional! I think that with modern art, there is not a classic protocol to follow like there is with the older paintings cause of the different and sometimes unknown materials used to create it. So did you use a sverniciatore to do that? and then a idropulitrice to remove the layer? Looks fascinating to me and much faster than to have to discialbare a fresco with a surgical knife ah ah ah.
Please keep sending me stuff and let me know what’s new over there, even in the lab and if you care, I will do the same.
I want to come and help!!! How exciting!!! Sometimes we have to “discialbare” old frescoes here cause there is another one underneath…I am sure you know about this procedure. When I was in L.A. at the end of September, I stayed in Venice@ one of my dear friend and as I walking around I thought “wow, look at these murals! One day, somebody will have to take care of them! ” and then I come home and I actually “meet” that somebody!
Ho appena caricato questo nuovo video (su questa pagina) delle prove di pulitura fatte con Caltrans (l’agenzia di mantenimento delle strade statali dello stato di California). D’accordo, i mezzi di pulitura non sono convenzionali ma ci sono un miriade di situazioni e condizioni particolari. Fami sapere cose ne pensi!
Noooooooooooo ma perche’ non sono passata???? Avremmo potuto berci un bicchiere di vino e fare festa…maledizione!!! Io parlo inglese tutti i giorni, guarda un po’ che ironia. Anyways, I already checked your link. That’s the way I found you. I was researching for a Lab in the L.A area.
Say Hi to the other Italians in the lab
La mia prima nata, lavora con me in laboratorio come restauratrice ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWtPDRg24Z0) e la seconda gestisce il lab. Non avevo mai pensato che il lab sarebbe stato un business di famiglia. Lo saprai gia’ ma Santa Barbara non e’ in Los Angeles… siamo due ore al nord, dipende dal traffico logicamente.
It doesn’t matter cause I do speak English…
Hi, I am an art conservator here in Italy. I have worked in this field for over 20 years and I specialize in frescoes.
Soo nice to see that there are people overseas that care about preserving the art world as well.
I was in L.A. about 2 weeks ago and I If only knew about you guys, I would have stopped by and pay you a visit, well next time I guess.
Even though, as you can imagine, here I normally work on very old paintings, I am so fascinated by the conservation of murals.
Here, I send you the link for the company I founded with 2 other conservators few years ago….the site is not updated but we have somebody working on it and it should be ready in a couple of weeks: http://www.sanlucarestauri.it
I am so excited about this new friendship
Elisabetta Covizzi Perfetti
Grazie per il link. Promette bene. Troverai interessante il mio canale YouTube sotto la voce “bestartdoc.” Ci sono diversi video che fanno vedere i nostri progetti. Sara’ senz’altro diverso da quello che passa fra le tue mani.
Thanks Heather for your comment. And thanks for posting your article on your blog about the mural maintenance work in Philadelphia. For others reading these comments, here’s the link to her blog: http://repairthetear.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/a-golden-inspiration/
Thanks, Scott. I really enjoyed your video of the PMA. I also subscribed to your youtube channel, and can’t wait to follow your progress on the L.A. murals. Very cool!