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!


  1. How can the police send out a report like that and not charge him with anything? That sounds like slander...

  2. Daniel is a dick! I love you M&F!!!! Keep fightin the fight!

  3. Great post...


  4. Caution: Beans-a-spilling.

    At least one more connection to Banksy.

    When going to see Charlie Brown burn one down on feb. 15, I saw a guy in tan pants, blue shoes, and a worn black hoodie using a drill to unscrew a piece of plywood off of the side of the building just down the steps.

    He said I had gotten there just in time because the owner of the building asked him to cover the piece because he was worried about the liability of having so many people on his property looking at the piece.

    All the while he seemed to really act up how ignorant he was about art. He asked a lot about why the piece was a big deal, who liked it, if this was graffiti or if that was just writing your name, and how people knew who did the piece since it wasn't signed.

    I asked if I could snap a few action shots of the piece being covered. He asked that I didn't.

    About this time Hieronymus (who I didn't know was Hieronymus at the time) showed up and started to chat with the guy in the same relaxed manner and to take some photos.

    The guy asked that he not be in any of the pictures and when Hieronymus asked him if it was okay for him to be in the shots if it was just his hoodie. The guy responded, rather oddly, that it wasn't because he didn't know what Hieronymus would do with the pictures and that he would have to get permission from the building manager or owner.

    Hieronymus continued to snap pictures, and emboldened by him, I did too. The guy didn't seem to mind but wanting to respect his wishes (at least partially), I didn't get any shots of his face directly.

    As we stood and talked and joked getting more pictures, I walked around the piece getting different angles. The guy and Hieronymus were discussing the fate of the piece. The guy said that he thought his boss the owner of the building would just make him come back later and paint over the piece. He did mention though that the owner was going to talk to a couple of people about what to do with the painting.

    I also walked around the guy's nearby parked silver subaru impreza station wagon. As I did this I noticed a couple of things.

    Already peaked by his almost absurd play at ignorance, I peeked in the car. There were a few paint marks on the seats and in the back. There was a set of spare license plates in the driver side door. And he had dropped a small post-it as he got out of the car that was now lying unnoticed on the ground.

    Taking a quick glance at the paper I slipped it into my pocket and rejoined the conversation where Hieronymus was informing the cover-upper that sometimes these things can sell for boatloads of money.

    Hieronymus took off and after hanging out for a few more minutes before the guy said he had to go and get a different drill bit.

    As we shook hands and wished each other good luck, the cover-upper asked my name and said his was Eddie.

    More than a little suspicious of Eddie's handyman status, I took off got a vegan milkshake. When I circled back to the painting about an hour later, I saw Eddie drilling large holes around the plywood. I thought about approaching him with no one else around to see if he'd give me a strait story about who he was. But I didn't. I parked my car, walked my dogs, and when the subaru impreza had vanished I went back to take a picture of the newly drilled wall.

    I didn't know what I had just witnessed, and still don't fully.

    Maybe the cover-upper's name was Eddie, but he had Daniel Lahoda's face.

    And that piece of paper that really made me doubt that he was a handyman. A handwritten list.

    Glass Vases
    Glasses for markers

    start connect'n dots

  5. *stands and cheers*

  6. I know for a fact, that he is a crook.

    Lahoda, shut the fuck up, or there will be more info for the LAPD to add to their case against you.

  7. Wow, Street Art Drama. So Very TMZ of you. Keep it going, street art paparazzi!!! Hilarious!

    This guy has a bad rap. but not sure how much of it is rumours vs. truth. That crime alert is 9 months old now; wouldn't they have arrested him by now? Something seems fishy... LAPD playing games with people making money from graffiti? Sounds familiar.

    Don't get me wrong. I love this blog, but the whole thing seems like a witch-hunt started by the LAPD.

    I saw the videos of the Charlie Brown Firestarter being stolen, and it was a couple of asian dudes:

    Can anyone run the plate at the end of the video to see who this links back to? If Lahoda is connected with Banksy, and he is the one who stole the Charlie Brown, then we may have a larger conspiracy on our hands!!! Go team, let's figure this out!

  8. Go back to Texas Daniel! Your time in LA is over.

  9. Just to be clear, I only saw Eddie the cover-upper cover and drill Charlie Brown (this is quite possibly the best sentence I have ever written).

    As can be seen here

    I did not see him cut out or remove the painting, so it makes sense he wouldn't be on the youtube video.

  10. Caveat Emptor: you'll find him under crackandpeel1 on ebay selling his wares , some that he published and were sold out' long ago....
    And of course Phish posters...

  11. I saw him today on an episode of Judge Judy. He is a jackass. He started out trying to sell himself right away, which really pissed the judge off. He was trying to get money(5K)for a defaced work of art that he never even financed in the first place. WOW! Also, comparing the picture of him on this post and his appearance on national TV it looks like he's gotten some work done on his nose (no joke). Probably trying to look less like a creepy 'lahoda' & more like a yuppster..All that scam money is really going to good use. Makes me glad I'm not a west-coaster.

  12. just came across this. here's my post on him from Dec 2010

  13. Daniel Lahoda is a prick, fuck him and the LaLa Gallery he's riding in on.

    Rot in hell, shit bag!

  14. it would be amazing if someone enlarged that image of the Lahoda crime alert and did paste ups all over the city and hit the LALA gaylery!!!

  15. This is good to know thanks M&F for the post!!! The street art world and its shady business :b now we know who to stay away from :)


  16. he did get work done because he got hit by a car

  17. I saw the famous Becca piece in the promo video behind him on display that was stolen from him.... there you go....proof. I did not set foot in that party full of smoke and mirrors.

  18. Looks like another sociopath.