Growing up in a time when street art has such an impact on the youth, and the new direction of art in general is something that should never be taken for granted. There are many influences that have always been in the game including Saber, AWR, MSK, Kaws, NORM, Shepard Fairey (Obey), Banksy, Ron English, The Seventh Letter Crew, Revok, Alex Pardee, Juxtapoz magazine, RIME, and so on. Coming from a place where art was knwon to be on canvas, to now where there are murals on the streets, it’s come a long way in a positive direction. This doesn’t include a quick tag that someone did under your local highway overpass that looks scrappy…we’re talking about true works of art that collectors around the world would pay premiums for if they could (but the best part is they can’t, it’s for all of us to share equally). Los Angeles (formerly known as the “Mural Capitol of the world”) is getting hit…hard, and it’s not fair. Being an East Coast resident, I can honestly say my favorite place on the west coast is Los Angeles, for many reasons, but especially one…the art. You can walk the streets one day, then again the next day and see a piece put up by one of your favorite street artists overnight. It gives you that mysterious “wow” feeling. You look around and try to figure out how they probably got to where their work is, you look around to see if maybe they’re hanging around to catch some reactions, or just knowing that they were at the same place as you at the same time is pretty awesome. It might not seem like much, but if someone who was amazing about something your passionate about was where you are, you’d feel the same way. Now, enough about that and onto what’s going on with Saber and how he’s currently owning Los Angeles…
Statement from the Artist:
End Mural Moratorium. Art Is Not A Crime…
The reason I hired five jet planes to sky write over City Hall and downtown Los Angeles is to bring awareness to how ridiculous a moratorium on public art is.
The city states that all public murals are signage, effectively banning art from the walls of Los Angeles. And it is removed at the taxpayers’ expense. Money is given to private graffiti removal companies, who have broken onto private property to paint murals beige. The owners of small businesses where murals have been painted have been harassed and threatened with fines if they do not remove the artwork. Police officers raid homes and places of work, intimidating artists and building owners. During this time of economic crisis, “mural signs” are an easy target for the city to extract money. This moratorium is a clear violation of the first amendment right to free speech and enforcement for these unreasonable laws is a complete waste of taxpayer funds.
To put things in perspective I recently visited the beautiful set of murals inside the Terminal Annex Building on Alameda. This mural by …was painted in 1941-44 and was funded by the “Works Progress Administration” (WPA). Murals are just a part of the legacy of a national program that put the country to work during the Great Depression.
Fast-forward to the Great Recession, taxpayer money is now used to obliterate all traces of the artwork my generation have created. I believe this is city-funded censorship pushed by lawmakers with personal vendettas. Potential jail time is more probable for us than the opportunity of creating an artistic legacy for the next generation. In a city that used to proudly call itself the “Mural Capitol Of The World,” the officials who enforce this ban should be ashamed to call themselves “Angelinos.”
Art Is Not A Crime… End Mural Moratorium.
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, The Mural Capital of the World, has been able to find massive amounts of public space for corporate advertisements, but not for works of art. The city spends more than $10,000,000+ on graffiti abatement programs, but none on mural programs that divert young artist to legal walls to display their art. Existing murals are crumbling and the city’s best artists are forced to go to Europe and other US cities to display their largest and best works.
To support Saber and help offset the cost of this you can buy that flag shirt he is wearing on his website.
Once again Saber has done what no one else has done. Tell Mayor Villagaigosa and the L.A. City Attorney’s office to end the mural moratorium now.
…and yes, it is unbelievable that this can be done by jets in the sky. Legalize Art!