Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Those of you who are regular readers will remember that back in July the city of LA decided the art work on this fence was a mural and had to disappear post haste. The lady who commissioned this piece of art for her own fence from some local young high school artists was fined for utting up a mural and had the possibility of a more hefty fine being levied if it wasn't removed immediately. In Los Angeles, an ordinance says that murals on the vast majority of private properties is illegal. And in this case, there were people who saw this art not as a mural but as "graffiti" - and furthermore, it was on an outside wall where the public would have to see it day and night. It had to come down, LA said.

Many people weighed in on both sides of the issue, aside from the legal ramifications -- you know, it was kind of an "art is in the eye of the beholder" issue. And there are almost as many issues as there are artists -- and who decides when graffiti leaves the category of "tagging" and moves over into "art?" Can street art or street murals avoid the association with "graffiti? Is just any flat place suitable for someone's mural? Who decides? What if the property owner approves of a mural being painted on his building? And just what is the difference between the art on billboards and the art on building walls? There are lots of issues to be thought about.

Los Angeles has take its mural ban under review. But what if a building owner ok's a mural on his wall? Los Angeles has always had murals, some really beautiful, some darn interesting, and most illicit. Can we now allow them, even if people don't see eye to eye on their beauty (or lack thereof?)

I think we are blessed with art like Shepard Fairey's, and I wish I didn't have to drive all the way in to LA to see it. Just feast your eyes on his "Peace Goddess" artwork:

But there also is some that I just think is awful and amateurish.

So the City of LA is now going to re-think this art form. In this morning's LA Times City Councilman Bill Rosendahl is quoted as saying:
"We want to define murals as something other than signs and create a process for permitting murals. There is a difference between a sign and a mural. One is marketing and one is art."

It is unspecified if they are going to tackle finding the dividing line between graffiti and murals. One has to wonder where this is all going to end.

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