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Arts News

Revok Mural in L.A. Arts District Accidentally Plastered Over by 'Peace in Congo' Campaign

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Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge Yeah, well, I want my mural back. - JET-SET GRAFFITI
Oops. No rude intentions here, just kind of air-headed ones: It appears an L.A. peace activist group named Falling Whistles just plastered their gritty street-art campaign all over the wrong wall. Well, the right wall according to the building manager, who saw no harm in donating it...

... to such a universally good cause, seeing as the mural that already existed there "was scheduled to be sandblasted clean to the brick in the next 2 months" anyway. (This, according to Falling Whistles organizer Sean Carasso.) Only problem: Revok, one of L.A.'s most beloved street artists and a storied survivor of the city's crackdown on the practice, along with Vans the Omega and some international buddies, had already made the wall into a downtown masterwork. It wasn't anything as dorky as an official commission, but it wasn't just a bunch of untalented tags, either. And many would argue it was one of the raddest pieces in the arts district -- among the lucky few that have been momentarily overlooked under the strict L.A. mural moratorium. (Google Maps shows a rich history of dense, street-style collaborations at that corner, 2nd and Garey. Certainly no peace fliers.) And so we remember the making of mural, "Only Time Will Tell." R.I.P.

Only Time Will Tell from Vans The Omega on Vimeo.

The collage of sorts that has replaced it promotes peace in the Congo by pasting "hundreds of faces from around LA and Congo who all stood for an end to our worlds deadliest war... side by side," Carasso tells the Jet-Set Graffiti blog. The most V.I.P. of those being the man in the center, who Carasso describes as "a music photographer in the 70s who documented the peace movement of Dylan, Marley and Hendrix." So no hard feelings, it seems, but at the same time, we don't quite understand what the Congo people know now (re: their apology), that they didn't before. They say it themselves:
"In our travels, the first place we felt truly welcomed was the Arts District. This was the neighborhood that accepted us for who we were and showed us -- literally on the walls -- how to speak up."
click to enlarge A portion of the prior mural. - VANS THE OMEGA VIA VIMEO
Huh. Was the bright and gorgeous mish-mash of L.A. rock gods/slut legs/sunsets somehow less bright and gorgeous when they first set their sights upon it? Of course, the real perp here is the building manager, who would have only let the mural stay up a couple more months, in any case. (Though he does own the brick wall, and if thinks it looks better bricky, that's sort of his call.) Which brings us to the real real perp: The mural moratorium. Tanner Blackman, head of the task force currently changing L.A.'s sign rules (and self-confessed Shepard Fairey fanboy), says he hopes to have an art-friendly draft ready by late October. Under the new ordinance, we're hoping, any piece of commissioned art will be protected by the city. So all those rebels with spray cans might have to set aside their pride and sign a deal with some landlords. When in doubt, think like a peace activist! [@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

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