Wednesday, February 23, 2011
This is Daniel Lahoda
Not everyone is thrilled with MELROSEandFAIRFAX's comprehensive and up-to-the-minute coverage of Banksy's and JR's street art in Los Angeles. Click the jump for more
This is Daniel Lahoda. He runs Jetset Graffiti and Free Art Walls and Lahoda Fine Arts. He is also the subject of this Crime Alert warning issued by the LAPD.
The Crime Alert warning about Daniel describes "allegations of art ordered and paid for but never delivered. . . taking art on consignment and diverting the art and money obtained for his own use. . . allegations of false advertising, unfair business practices, selling unauthorized prints, and exorbitant delays in shipping art to purchasers."
We first heard of Daniel from something completely unrelated to street art. A personal hobby of ours is collecting designer vinyl art pieces, and we read numerous horror stories on the Kidrobot Forums that mentioned Daniel as they talked about being scammed by Art Asylum Boston. We do not believe Daniel and Art Asylum Boston had relationship, rather, Daniel had earned such a name for himself and his business practices that people were saying, "Sounds like another Daniel Lahoda." And this is the first place we heard Daniel's name.
Like we say, we already knew of Daniel's name before we had ever heard of Jetset Graffiti or LA Free Walls, so when we found out that he was the one in charge of these programs, we were wary. We knew that we would never give this guy money, but we enjoyed the art we were seeing and thought that we could be mutually beneficial to each other. So we sent Daniel a nice email last week to introduce ourselves. Daniel responded with a brief but polite email that he would add us to their media contact list.
So we were completely blown away when we received a big email a few days later that essentially said, "'Not trying to be a dick' (his own words), but really, FUCK YOU! (our interpretation)" He accused us of ethics violations and 'poaching' , and added a whole slew of general, unfounded insults.
Daniel ranted and raved, but his main beef is that we post the JR stuff the same day it happens, getting the first jump instead of waiting for the official press release. He refers to JR's art walls as his 'content', but as we told him in our email back to him "Look, we run the blog for the love of the art. As a blog, our goal is to get the most information out most quickly, and if people send us pictures we are not going to sit around waiting for an official announcement. Sure, you might own the content of the wall, but you do not have any licensing rights on any of the photos people take of those walls in a public space. We are going to keep posting our first jump pics, even if they are not as professional as you would like."
Needless to say, Daniel was not pleased with our response, and he sent us two more scathing emails that are not fit to print, and threw a bunch of big artists names at us like we should be intimidated.
Look, Daniel, we know you know a lot of big names in the game, the only question is why do people would continue to work with you?
For us, this is not about any personal beef. Insults are like water off a duck's back. But when we experienced the true side of Daniel, we felt we had to publish this as a public service announcement, so the LA street art community can know Daniel's history.
And this isn't the first 'career' in which Daniel has been accused of shady dealings. Criminal complaints have chased him from job to job. Previously in his storied career, had been accused of fraud relating to some Phish posters and through the BMW forums. Also, his former business, Lahoda Fine Arts, has an 'F' rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Daniel feels we don't give him enough credit, and as far as crediting the right people, we always try to. We love street art. And we also love football. And the corporate sponsors might get paid to call it the 'Vizio Rose Bowl', or whatever it changes to from year to year, but to us and the rest of the of the people who love to watch the game, its simply 'The Rose Bowl'. And when we see street art, we love it in the same spirit that we love watching the Rose Bowl--we love it for what it is.
The truth is, Daniel tells us he sponsors things, but we don't know what to believe from him. He is bent out of shape that M&F has reported the rumors that it was X who took Banksy around to the billboards. It was just a tease based on the fact that X gets up at so many high spots in LA. But Daniel is furious about this and keeps suggesting that he was the one who has taken Banksy around town. We don't believe this for a second. The only relationship we can find with Daniel and Banksy is on the Banksy Forums where there is yet another thread talking about people getting scammed by him. (Note: to put this out there, the only other rumor we have heard and it does sound credible is that it might have been Rime who painted the characters on Banksy's 'Livin the Dream' billboard. This, we could believe.)
Also the pupose of this feature is not slader or libel. Fortunately, we were raised in a family of lawyers and both a brother and a father (Harvard and Yale, respectively) hold law degrees and work in the legal field. They have advised us that it is not slander or libel if it is true. And we are just reporting the truth of what people have said. Daniel has threatened other online publications for publishing the less than flattering information about him. We are a blog dedicated to the art community, and simply trying to make the art community aware of the LAPD Crime Alert Warning, and also help them in their search to find information. We are passing this information along to LA's street art community, and if anyone has a legal concern with it, contact the LAPD.
So there it is. This is Daniel Lahoda of LA Free Walls and Jetset Graffiti. He wanted more credit, and we are happy to give it to him.
But, getting accused of unethical behavior by Daniel is like the pot calling the tupperware black. We have never had a crime alert posted about us, or been accused of fraud. It sounds like the biggest crime that we have been accused of is posting the street art of LA quickest, and if that's the case, then consider us guilty!
So keep sending us your pictures, and we pledge to keep posting the freshest, up to the minute street art from Los Angeles.
Thanks to everyone who has sent us pics, and keep sending them in!