L.A. Taco, that lover of street art, blogged a few hours ago about Los Angeles artist SABER's fantastic skywriting protest over City Hall this morning to protest the Los Angeles City Council's bizarre "unconstitutional moratorium" on street murals, endangering an art form thanks to politics.
This is the same Los Angeles City Council that is expected to create "sign districts" in unsuspecting communities like Studio City and Koreatown -- allowing a sea of huge, crass commercial billboards on the streets. But public art? Murals by budding artists? Bad. Billboards? Good. How sad and bush league, for a great city.
As Taco writes:
SABER is no stranger to big statements; in 1997 the artist executed the world's largest graffiti piece on the concrete bank of the LA river. His latest target is City Hall and the unconstitutional mural moratorium that has been force for several years.
Los Angeles is becoming a tattered, aging city with roads so bad they'll need $150 million just to catch up in downtown, and mural art that once was synonymous with the city's urban roads is either being covered up or fading.
As LA Weekly has estimated, huge outdoor advertisers, who have taken over the city's street spaces with 10,000 legal and illegal billboards, can reap nearly $1 million a year in revenue from a single digital billboard.
Does any of that money go to the city, to mitigate the hideous advertising that is shoved down the throats of residents, perhaps used to create art and murals along the city's filthy, sofa-strewn boulevards?
No, in fact, the city barely can keep up with collecting a tiny $186 "inspection fee" per billboard from billboard gazillionares like Clear Channel Outdoor, Regency and CBS Outdoor.
No wonder SABER hired a skywriter to try to take back the city streets for people who believe in visual arts -- instead of visual clutter.
As L.A. Taco notes, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the bumbling 15 people who control the Los Angeles City Council (yes, your council member is a bumbler) spend more than $10 million on graffiti abatement programs. But "none on mural programs that divert young artist to legal walls to display their art."
A city's priorities are set by the people paying attention. Are you paying attention?
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For further reading please take a look at these stories. We name the names as to who is at fault in Los Angeles City Hall: