Banksy "Girl on Swing" in downtown Los Angeles. April 4, 2014 | Photo: Helen Ly / viewfromaloft

Monthly Mural Wrap: A Dozen Tags for April, 2014

Spring has been a busy season, but it's good to know that in between politics and policy some outstanding murals were created and rededicated, a reminder of how murals are a document of region. It's also the month that MCLA went $895 over their 10K Kickstarter goal to fund the restoration of "Galileo, Jupiter, Apollo", the 1984 Olympic Mural by John Wehrle. Here's a look at other mural and street art news in Los Angeles, and a bit beyond.


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The L.A. County D.A filed vandalism charges against David William Noll, an artist from Modesto who splashed paint on the downtown L.A. Banksy, "Girl in a Swing," reported TMZ. How Noll's act of vandalism was cited for another was the question brought up, but easily this Banksy piece wasn't unwanted. It came during his underground Los Angeles residency in 2010, a few days after "Exit Through the Gift Shop" made its West Coast Premiere at the Los Angeles Theater. There was never a complaint filed on the building with the Banksy. Noll's paint job did get a complaint, and since he uploaded his actions on YouTube, it was easier for LAPD to track him. The police report said the company that owns the building is "a jeweler called Tarina Tarantino" who "believes Banksy's work increased the value of the property by $650,000," according to TMZ. Back in 2010, the screening was on a Monday, the art was up on a Sunday, and Tarantino attended the premiere, reported blogdowntown.

Tuesday Afternoon Update: Noll cuts deal with DA. Three years probation for pleading guilty on two counts of vandalism, LAWeekly reports.

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Arts District heads of state have set up CAMP, the Committee for the Advancement of Mural Proliferation. Its goal will be to "make the whole community a kind of outdoor urban gallery," according to Jonathan Jerald. "We will create, encourage and support mural projects that are consistent with the terms of the new mural ordinance." CAMP will roam the streets with a board made up of artists, property owners, and representatives from neighborhood non-profits. Arts District and downtown walls have begun to be identified as sites for new murals.

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Civil Rights era "Mural Triptico" was restored and reinstalled at San Diego State's new student center. Painted from 1968 to 1970 by Mexico City artist Gilberto Ramirez, and first dedicated December 6, 1970, the mural was the artist's response to San Diego's Chicano movement. Seth Mallios, chairman of SDSU's anthropology department, told U-T San Diego. "[H]e was so inspired by the young folks in the San Diego area that he agreed to paint them this spectacular set of murals." John Gibbins has a strong galley of photos.

Artist Guillermo Aranda was a 26 year-old apprentice under Gilberto Ramirez and spoke at the rededication March 6.<br />
 | Photo: John Gibbins / UT San Diego


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LAStreetsblog posted about "The Street Mural Ride" that will start and end at Union Station on Saturday, May 3. "The ride will be approximately 6 miles and will loop through neighboring artist communities surrounding Union Station. The ride will make stops at the downtown Arts District and El Pueblo de Los Angeles." The community bicycle ride is made possible by a sponsorship by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), C.I.C.L.E. (Cyclists Inciting Change thru LIVE Exchange), and the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles. RSVPs required.


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"I think that there's been some murals going up recently where folks think 'hey murals are legal again', and not following the appropriate process," said Tanner Blackman, former L.A. city planner who played a large part in drafting the mural ordinance, to USC Annenberg TV news. Graffiti artists have been throwing up works not knowing they are communicating with community. "There is absolutely nothing in the ordinance that says that, that artist has to listen or take the advice, or comments, criticism or suggestions of the community," said Barbara Broide, president of a Westside homeowners association, to USC scribe Elisa Hernandez.


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As members of Behind the Heights Art Team, Lincoln High School students painted a mural commemorating the 1968 East L.A. Chicano high school walkouts. Attending the mural dedication were members of the original protest against education equality, including Carlos Montes, who helped lead the 1968 walkouts. "We did it on a wall next to our school so everyone could see it," said one of the student artists to FightBack News. Also there was "Donna" blogging for Notes From Aztlan. She took her daughter to the March 25 dedication and it became a local history lesson for both of them.


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Who has time to run a gallery? Globetrotting ManOne also works close to home, including giving high school students tours, and commissions for private homes. He got this backyard ready for summer. Next is a whole town. It takes "one man to make a change, but in Binghamton's case, what we might need is Man One," wrote Binghamton University's campus paper. They were covering Alex Poli's presentation to downtown Binghamton New York for murals planned for May.

Modern Home | Photo courtesy Crewest


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What began in 2010 to enhance the civic character of La Jolla is growing. "I applaud the La Jolla Community Foundation for transferring the management responsibility of the Murals of La Jolla project to the Athenaeum," Browar told La Jolla Light. "The success of the mural project has exceeded everyone's expectations and I feel the Athenaeum will be a great ambassador for the project." Browar told the local paper four additional mural sites and artists have already been selected for future installations. La Jolla rotates murals out on a regular basis.


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It was painted for Solutions Audio Speaker repair, then became known as the Elliott Smith mural. Now the building will be home to Ben and Michelle Hantoot's Silver Lake coffee house. The mural will stay. "Fans and locals can rest assured that nothing will happen to this iconic mural," Michelle Hantoot told TheEastsiderLA. "I wouldn't want to cause a riot! Figure 8 was a big part of my high school experience, as I think it was for lots of people our age." The Hollywood Reporter spoke with photographer Autumn de Wilde in 2013, who recalls how she picked this mural to be the backdrop for her friend, Elliot Smith.

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Brazilian based studio Bicicleta Sem Freio spent time in downtown L.A. to paint a new mural above 420 Boyd Street. Sponsored by The Do Art Foundation, The Do LaB, Instagrafiti, Sherwin Wiliams, Tern Bicycles and Cartwheel.

Photo: Koury Angelo via Cartwheel


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Street artists were ready to paint in Palm Springs for a project that had the approval of the city's Art Commission, but were shut down by City Manager David Ready, reports KESQ's Bianca Rae. "If they choose to go forward with the mural policy, the property owner will have to get into that process and the mural will be approved or not. If the council keeps the policy of no murals, that will have to come off the building,' Ready said.


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Artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh's "Stop Telling Women To Smile" wheat-paste posters reached the Arts District. The artist designed them as a reminder to men that when they see a woman on the street, it doesn't entitle them to a response. CNN profiles the artist who first considered "the hisses and catcalls from strangers in the street an 'annoying part of everyday life' that came with being a female." Last year, when the project was beginning to get regional attention, she said "I wanted to insert these images of women of color to allow our experiences and voices to be heard in a feminist conversation. But now that this project has gotten some attention and I'm getting stories and emails from women all across the world, I'm realizing how complex race is when it comes to street harassment." Someone marked up this poster near Traction and Third, but the message wasn't diluted.
ADD: With Amber Art & Design, Fazlalizadeh designed "The Roots Mural" for The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

Stop Telling Women To Smile by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh | Photo by Helen Ly

About the Author

Ed Fuentes is an arts journalist, photographer, graphic designer, and digital muralist who covers a variety of topics and geographies in Southern California for KCET.
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