Someone is tagging too close to my sleeping head.

tagged.JPGLiving adjacent the freeway has until now offered a variety of unpleasant downsides. Obviously the noise, though itís not as bad as you might think. Secondly, the dust. Iíve resigned myself to the fact that the house is never going to be clean. Lastly, the long-term impact on my cardiovascular system. None of these could be outweighed by the ability to make 101 traffic advisories from my living room.

But now itís all worthwhile. I can sleep easy at night knowing that someone (R Jick or Sock?) is tagging mere feet from my head! Iíll never hear it happening (thereís a freeway right there for god sakes), but I’ll know soon enough. Last time, the city had it painted over within a day (tax dollars at work), but the wall offers such great exposure and easy access, Iíve no doubt it will happen again and again and again.

Iím no big fan of tagging (are these elaborate paintings even considered tags?), nor do I have much of a grasp on the culture, but I wonder if these urban artists might have any interest in doing us the honor of adorning our wall with a city-sanctioned mural? It would benefit them with a permanent venue for their work and benefit the community (no more tax dollars working). If so, just knockÖprovided it isnít too late.

Update: Caltrans was already out this morning to paint over the graffiti. I guess itís not city jurisdiction because itís inside the freeway corridor? Is that right? Anyway, Caltrans has got to be the most efficient agency in California; they were in and out in like fifteen minutes. Thanks guys, see you next week! And thanks to Councilman Garcetti for the helpful offer. Feels good to get attention.

14 thoughts on “Someone is tagging too close to my sleeping head.”

  1. Matt: Where is your house? If it is in CD13, I’d be happy to look at what we can do and if it is another council district, I’d be happy to pass this on to the proper council office.


  2. Matt, the city offers Operation Clean Sweep, which provides a grafitti hotline and even an online grafitti removal request form. Even if it happens again and again and again, my experience is they’ll be there to paint it out again and again and again. Here’s the webpage off the city’s site:

    Plus you can’t go wrong having your friendly neighborhood councilman in your corner (I believe Matt lives in Echo Park, Mr. Garcetti).

  3. The paint is donated, and I for one, am overjoyed that the stuff gets painted over right away. And as for an Art for the masses mural–taggers have defaced a number of city murals–painted by artists in the community. They did a number on Freeway Granny before it, tragically, got painted over, as well as The Wall that Talks in Highland Park. Or look at the one on the eastside of the Pasadena Freeway–the one with the preacher and the Aztec temple–tagged. If they wanted to make art, they would. They don’t–they want to claim turf.

  4. There are all sorts of reasons why someone would do grafitti like this. I mean, it’s one of the four elements of hip hop, so that’s one reason. Other times, it offers a sense of empowerment to impoverished folks. It lets them see their name four feet high, just like a movie star on a marquis, or a name on a billboard. These days it doesn’t necessarily mean gang territory. Sometimes it’s even used as a code to warn folks to stay away from crack houses and whatnot.

    Obviously these two pieces aren’t the most creative or inspired, but I personally find them nicer looking than concrete.

    Just one man’s opinion.

  5. I’m certain I’ll never be able to validate grafitti nor humanize those who do it. And I definitely don’t find these specimens nicer looking than concrete.

    Just another man’s opinion.

  6. Will, my man! I have to say I’m a little disappointed. You seem to be the sort that stands up for the disenfranchised (or at least tries to look at things from all angles). I’m surprised to see you actively disparaging a whole group of people. It seems very out of character.

  7. Sorry to let you down 5000! You are right: I do try to look at all sides of the box, and certainly I do my fair share of standing up. But I draw the line at respecting anyone or any group who has no respect for me.

  8. for what it’s worth, graffitti writers (not gang tags, very different) have a pretty common rule to avoid private property so there is a bit of respect as far as that goes. That’s why you see this kind of thing on public walls, unrented billboards, abandonded buildings and things like that, but not on the your front door.

  9. Call me a hardliner, but I still have issues with the defacement of property, be it public or private. But fair enough, Sean. I’ll agree that the more creative grafitti types are certainly more aware and respectful of the boundaries and I’ll parse them out from the likes of the assgland that scrawled some absolutely illegible moniker on our garage door on Christmas Fucking Day.

  10. Sean–drive around by John Marshall High and see the tags on people’s garage doors. Those are gang territory tags, honey, not art. The guys who worked for Homeboy Industries by painting over tags got shot for their trouble. Taggers are gang-bangers. This isn’t NYC in the 70s,.

  11. Rachel – Thanks for the education! However, maybe you should read my comment before deciding what I’m saying. Just to make this VERY CLEAR FOR YOU, ok, here goes, ready…?

    Tags _ARE NOT THE SAME THING AS_ Graffitti art.

    Tags = no respect, marking teritory. Usually gang related. This is the crap you see on garage doors.

    Graffitti Art = Not gang related. Rarely on private property, usually very involved and artful. This is what you see on public walls. You might not like it, might not be your taste, but chances are the person who did it thinks they are making art.

    Some of the pieces that are up around in LA took the people who made them countless hours over several days, and many of them have been archived in art books, magazines and websites.

    Now, you can feel free to argue the “is it art / is it not art” opinion all you want, but being an art gallery owner, and having shown graffatti artists in my gallery and sold their work to art collectors, and knowing a good many of them who have their work in the permanent collections of major museums, I’m going to lean on the side of that says it is art. Do I like every bit of it? No. But I don’t like every bit of Oil on Canvas or Marble Sculpture either. It’s just another medium.

  12. So, Sean, it’s art if it makes you money? Just because it took them a long time isn’t enough to move it from disgrace to art. Unrented billboards still belong to someone–as do “abandoned buildings”. Major museums have been known to buy fakes, so the arguement that graffiti ‘art’ is somehow legit because it’s been collected doesn’t hold much water. But, hey! it works for you, so, I guess we should be glad that someone is getting paid.

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