Friday, September 23, 2011
Shepard Fairey Sticker Bombs LA's Dept. of City Planning
Watch the city commission build a camel out of a horse.
Shepard Fairey didn't place stickers on the building, but he sent a sticker pack to City Planner Tanner Blackman. The LAWeekly is reporting that Blackman is on a committee that has been drafting a new mural ordinance for LA.
Mr. Blackman says that he is excited about the gift from Fairey and says 'There is a sort of fanboyness there' he says.
It sounds like Mr. Blackman appreciates the arts to some extent, and hopefully that will come into play in the development of the new mural regulations, but from what the guidelines that have been proposed so far it does not seem like this is the best solution for the arts. Blackman says that LA is modeling its new code after Portland. It is a bad role model. While we love the city of Portland and all its outlaws, it has distinguished itself as being one of the biggest cities in America with the least amount of art. They have a thriving underground sticker scene, but as far as big gorgeous murals, it is not a place to model one's self after.
It is said that a camel is what happens when a committee gets together to make a horse. That seems to be what is happening here. Even the regulations that are being proposed seem to get in the way of artists expressing themselves on walls. One restriction says that money can not be received for the mural, which might get in the way of some business relationships with artists, like Shepard Fairey and Obey, the brand. But the biggest hump in this camel so far is that the committee wants to require a 5 year minimum mandatory limit on any mural. 5 years is cool on some leveles, but the best walls are the ones that change regularly as a new showcase for the current hot and hip artists. Why should someone not be allowed to paint a mural on their building if they don't plan to commit to having it for 5 years? Many of the TED sponsored JR pieces that went up less than a year ago have already come down in LA. Does that mean that they weren't valid or legal and shouldn't happen?
It sucks when bureaucracy gets involved with art. And when it comes to the city it seems like the city is angry at the advertisers, but takes it out on the artists. Why, with all of the thousands of illegal billboards in Los Angeles--and even with one sitting right outside the offices of the City Planning Commission, why do they target art murals like the recent Retna and Rime graffiti house in Santa Monica that was threatened with a $5,000 day fine? It seems unfair and ridiculous.
Even though LA has had a moratorium on murals since 2002, it has still made a name for itself as the mural capital of the world. Hope that the new guidelines do turn out better than they seem at first. Even camels have certain attributes. But regardless of that, hope that LA keeps holding onto the mural capitol crown.
Despite the moratorium on