Morphesis Re-Tagged The Day After Re-Cleaning… WAR!!!!! But we’re kind of smiling because…

As I was finishing up an answer to a comment on the blog post about the new surveillance system ( when the phone rang and it was Vincent Moreno, Vandalism Abatement Coordinator for Caltrans.

WAR!!!!! The mural got tagged again last night! But we are smiling, kind of…Here’s the low down: If you’ve been following this, you know that on Thurs of this week we finished cleaning off the graffiti and a new video surveillance system was installed at the mural. Vincent was sure that the mural would be re-tagged in an effort by the vandals to “make their statement.” Well, he was right!

Vincent passed by the mural last evening at about 8:45 to check on the video cameras and he was notified at 9:51 that the camera alarms had been set off. It appears that the vandals hit this part of the mural (see photo):

Area that was re-tagged

This is the area that was re-tagged

Vincent said that it looked like they were about to graffiti over the entire lower half like they did last time but had only started on the first couple of letters when they got scared and ran off.  We don’t know if they saw the video cameras or got scared off by someone. I don’t have an actual photo of the tag. I won’t see it till Monday.

Actually, Vincent and I are, in a way, glad for this attempt to re-tag the mural because it puts to the test the equipment just installed. There are several things that need to be fine tuned when a system like this is installed: with this video we may be able to identify the taggers (Vincent won’t see the video till Monday). Is the video good enough to see them clearly? It gives Vincent something by which to judge the quality of the IR viewing capabilities, the focus, the placement of the cameras, the quality of the system.

From what Vincent says, it appears that not much of the mural has been tagged and if they don’t come back to finish the job later and make a bigger mess, then I’m hoping that we will be able to remove this tagging in a few hours. If they do come back to finish the job, the cameras will be reset and waiting for them.

We’re going to be back “on the wall” Monday at 11 am to clean it off.

So, what do you think? Keep going back to clean off the graffiti? Or give up and let the vandals win? Public art and social order or graffiti and anarchy? Leave a comment below and give us your support with a THUMBS UP!

Want to contribute something to help keep the graffiti off the murals? Donate here:

After tagging removed Dec 2011

Mural with graffiti removed December 2011

Restoration questions? Call Scott Haskins at 213 620 9125

See testimonials of FACL services:

Questions for the artist? Kent Twitchell 310 709 2037

Here is the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles’ website:

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video surveillance, protecting public art, kent twitchell, jim morphesis, caltrans, 1984 olympic freeway murals, scott haskins, FACL, MCLA, mural conservation, art restoration, mural conservancy, graffiti removal, mural maintenance, catching taggers

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 the "Save Your Stuff" series, educational information, materials and supplies to help people protect and save their treasured family heirlooms and collectibles at home and office. He can be reached at 805 564 3438. Video and written testimonials at
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