Public Art Mural’s Graffiti Protection Coating (Our Multi-Layer Applications) Is Put To The Test

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Scott M. Haskins, Art Conservator

Feb. 26, 2023

Click on this link to see the details of a wonderful mural recovery and restoration project we worked on over the last few years. at…/ In short, the initial motivation of the mural restoration project was an effort to reclaim meaningful public art from graffiti vandals. It wasn’t the first attempt, though. The mural had been scrubbed on and repainted several times even within the artist’s lifetime. It took several years to research, get resounding community support, raise money and complete this mural restoration project with Covid thrown into the equation. The paint used for the painting of the mural was upgraded and the final mural was coated with 4 layers of MuralGuard by Rainguard Pro.

Last weekend, a well-planned out group of vandals in a Mercedes stopped, took out their ladders and calmly (it appeared that way on the video) did their deed. The graffiti was put up high to discourage being cleaned off and it was applied thick. This tag was about 10′ x 30′ and was put over the top of the most sensitive color on the wall. Given the underpass roadway circumstances, the size and technique of the tag, this was a devastating difficult tag to remove easily… normally.

In addition, neighborhood groups loudly protested that their alerts to the city about the burned-out lights in the underpass left the tunnel especially dark at night, an important security factor.

The key to the long-term beautification that this colorful mural can contribute to the neighborhood is the interest and pride of ownership of the neighborhood organization. More on that at the end of this article. But more than just a pretty painted wall as a decoration of the neighborhood, this mural hold major significance, historically, as it represents the research fight to find something for AIDS in the middle 1980s when it seemed like an apocalyptic plague.

Kudos to the neighborhood organizations that live around Blue Moon Trilogy, the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of LA and the District Office for getting on the removal right away. Only 4 days old, this graffiti was removed with great success, largely made possible by the multiple layers of protective coating, #MuralGuard, and the care of the removers. A big applause for everyone… this is the kind of maintenance that is required to keep this wall clean. Its a “high impact” zone and will require quick action again in the future. Even the burned-out lights in the underpass were changed out!

Another Successful Mural Maintenance Effort:

I have related often the story about a mural on Balboa Island, Newport. The 10’ x 15‘ mural is at street level and in a very high pedestrian traffic area. It was coated with a similar varnish product to the type we used on Blue Moon Trilogy (which is now out of production). Actually, the product we used is higher quality. Local senior citizens keep an eye on the mural and when it gets tagged (at least monthly) they immediately come out with Goo-gone and scrub it off. I inspected the mural many years after its creation and the application of the anti-graffiti varnish and I was amazed at how good it looked.. It has a two-part urethane finish on it (#MuralGuard) and has been kept clean for almost 20 years.

Maintained and looking good as a result of community/neighborhood pride of ownership.

I understand that the Department of Cultural Affairs cannot encourage the neighborhood to keep the murals free of graffiti but I want to reaffirm with you that I am willing to do a workshop with the neighborhood to guide and train volunteers to quickly remove small tags that might discourage bigger tags.

As you know, our restoration efforts will be obliterated by graffiti without a maintenance effort and if I can help brainstorm and implement such an effort, please do not hesitate to ask me. I’m offering to do consultations and train on this matter as a heartfelt free public/community service.

Onward and upward!

Scott M. Haskins, Head of Conservation



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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 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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22 Responses to Public Art Mural’s Graffiti Protection Coating (Our Multi-Layer Applications) Is Put To The Test

  1. Mason says:

    Thank you for bringing things like these to our attention, Scott! It’s very important to know them and to know there are people that care about public murals. Congrats to you, the communities in those cities and to local authorities that helped – even if sometimes they can move slower than we would like them to.

  2. William says:

    It’s wonderful that you are offering your services, for free, so that people can learn how to take care of these important mural pieces! Well done, Mr. Haskins! My hat is off to you, sir!

    • Ella says:

      If you look at the posts in this blog you’ll see this is not Scott Haskins’ first rodeo. He’s got an amazing background worthy of a Hollywood Script. He is involved with projects like this small community gig all the time. He cares about all public art and knows that if more people know how to clean it up then we can keep it clean for future generations. We can’t always expect local authorities to take care of this, we need to act as well. The community has great power and they just need to use it.

      • Its funny that you would use “Hollywood script” as a description for my background. Truth is, Daniel Silva works with ex-Getty Head of Conservation who was also the Head of Conservation at the National Gallery in DC, David Bull as his consultant for Gabriel Alon, the international spy who doubles is an art restorer. Several times I’ve had clients gift me books in that series and mention that I remind them of Gabriel Alon (because I’m a painting restorer… not a spy!), lol.

  3. Noah says:

    For such murals like that on Balboa Island, Newport, would it be too costly to hire a guard to keep a close look at it? Maybe that would discourage the vandals? Or is it too expensive?

    • Noah, the “situation” for the mural on Balboa island has been “handled” by the neighborhood watch. That’s was the point of my comment about it in the article. But, yes, I can’t imagine someone hiring a guard. The neighborhood watch is very effective. I just had another neighborhood watch success on murals in Santa Monica. Give me a couple of days and I’ll post about it.

    • Jayden says:

      It’s probably way more expensive than just cleaning it with Goo-gone whenever something bad happens.

  4. Kaitlyn Mace says:

    Protective coating (and a quality one at that) is so important! Congratulations to the cleaning crew that took their time and did a very good job! It’s always great to see such work.

  5. Ava says:

    I was one of those people that alerted the city about the burned-out lights in the underpass. It’s disappointing to have to repeat this again and again when it could have been easily fixed. Why did it have to take so long? At the next election, we should let them know how we feel…

  6. Anaisel Ramos says:

    Bravo! I am so happy to hear fellow citizens and locals taking interest to restore their neighborhood murals and that some initiative is taken to protect them. I have seen plenty powerful and beautiful murals fall victim to vandalization. It is sad to see people tarnish art that improves the overall positive atmosphere. I hope more cities can perhaps start training a few people or even contracting professionals to help. It may create a few more jobs or at the very least spark interest.

    • Thanks for your comment Anaisel. Public support and neighborhood awareness is fundamental in setting up a “neighborhood watch” for the murals and executing an effective maintenance plan. Call me if you need suggestions, Scott 805 570 4140 (CA time zone)

  7. Emma says:

    Why don’t we have cameras that can detect when vandals are doing this and maybe a team that can swiftly come and catch them in the act? Isn’t there a way to protect public art? Does it have to be so complicated and always have to spend so much money cleaning up vandal acts?

  8. Abigail says:

    Why aren’t authorities doing more to protect such important art? This is part of the city and should be protected from vandals and vandals should be punished accordingly. How do you discourage vandals from ever trying something like this?

    • Michael P. says:

      Unless people start asking City Hall to clearly and quickly do something to protect such public art pieces, nothing will change. Like Scott said, it takes a lot of public support to do something about things like these. And politicians do not worry about such things unless public pressure makes them act.

    • Michael P. says:

      Unless people start asking City Hall to clearly and quickly do something to protect such public art pieces, nothing will change. Like Scott said, it takes a lot of public support to do something about things like these. And politicians do not worry about such things unless public pressure makes them act.

      • Ya know, Michael, projects like this are a golden opportunity for politicians because its beautifying the neighborhood (their voters), its a positive energy project and news worthy activity. They get lots of credos and its a publicity opportunity. Such a politician taking advantage of the opportunities took place on a project I blogged about on Blue Moon Trilogy in Hollywood, CA by the Hollywood Bowl.

  9. Isabella Harris says:

    I wish more people would know how hard it is to restore a mural like this. I know the kinds of hardships you had to endure, Scott and the support you needed for this to become a reality. I applaud you for pushing forward with this and making it a reality.Your help in our community is very much appreciated!

  10. Pingback: Mural Art Restoration Graffiti Tag Removal with #MuralGuard – Articles Blogs & Videos

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