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Graffiti Starter Kit by Aaron Brothers, to Push Back-to-School Sales, Decried by L.A. Councilman Dennis Zine

Updated at the bottom: Aaron Brothers pulls graffiti promotion from L.A. stores. First posted at 4:02 p.m. on Friday

Following the success of the Museum of Contemporary Art's "Art in the Streets" exhibition, its most popular ever, you'd expect that some aspiring spray can Picassos just might want to get into the business. Right?

So, sensing a marketing opportunity, it seems, Aaron Brothers has been offering a "Graffiti Starter Kit" as part of its "Artrageous" back-to-school ad campaign.

That has at least one L.A. city leader pissed off:

Councilman Dennis P. Zine, a reserve LAPD cop, today introduced a resolution demanding that the art-store chain refrain from glorifying graffiti in its campaign.

An "Artrageous" event at an Aaron Brothers in San Diego.
An "Artrageous" event at an Aaron Brothers in San Diego.
Aaron Brothers via Facebook

The "Artrageous" marketing push highlights paints and markers with special events throughout September at seven of is L.A.-area stores.

The graffiti artist RISK tweets:

Aaron Brothers back in the day, need I say more, ...who would have thought they would be promoting Graff and having signings

According to Zine's office:

These events will include hands-on demonstrations and "tips and tricks from the pros". Most inappropriate is a "Graffiti Starter Kit" that will be part of the free giveaways to participants (no purchase necessary).

Zine says:

I am appalled at this gimmick. In my role as a City Councilman and a LAPD Reserve Officer, I spend a lot of time and energy eradicating graffiti from the streets of Los Angeles. This promotion is an assault on our community and sends a devastating message to our youth. It is unfortunate that Aaron Brothers is not attuned to the impact their actions may have on encouraging vandalism.

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich called it "a misguided promotion."

Zine's office says the city spent $7.1 million on graffiti abatement last year.

Of course, it is possible that kids could use their starter kits to create art on canvas and their own walls and t-shirts (see photo above; more than a few L.A. public schools have sanctioned spray-can murals, too).

Just sayin.'

(We have a call in to Texas-based Aaron Brothers for a response).

Update: Councilman Zine today stated that the president of Aaron Brothers wrote him a letter declaring that the back-to-school promotion would be pulled from L.A. stores. Zine:

In a letter from the President of Aaron Brothers, I have been informed that the company has cancelled all of their 'Urban Art Events', including in-store demonstrations, in the greater Los Angeles area and will not distribute the 'graffiti starter kits' saying that they do not want their events to 'adversely affect the community'. I am very pleased with this outcome and commend Aaron Brothers for listening to the concerns raised about the 'Artrageous' promotion. Aaron Brothers also pledged to move forward with the planned donation to the Boys and Girls Clubs of LA to support a new generation of artists. These actions are a great testament to Aaron Brothers as a member of the community.

So there.

[@dennisjromero/djromero@laweekly.com]


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