Local Artists Murals Grandfathered Into New Law
Street artist Gabe88 has been painting for more than 25 years. His murals are some of the thousands that line the walls of Los Angeles.
"Graffiti saved my life," said Gabe88. "I keep doing it because it gets me away from the everyday issues in life, and it's my kind of therapy."
But for more than a decade, a mural ban in L.A. made what Gabe88 love to do illegal. Fortunately, the law was recently redrafted and the ban was lifted. L.A. City Planner Tanner Blackman says the new law has some restrictions some artists may be unaware of.
"I think that there's been some murals going up recently where folks think 'hey murals are legal again', and not following the appropriate process." said Blackman.
The legal process includes the artist holding a meeting with the community to discuss their artwork, bringing a drawing of what they want to paint and paying a $60 registration fee, but some homeowners worry that these requirements may not be enough.
"There is absolutely nothing in the ordinance that says that, that artist has to listen or take the advice, or comments, criticism or suggestions of the community," said Barbara Broide, President of the Westwood Homeowners Association.
The city also has limited say in what is painted. Broide is upset about some questionable art in her neighborhood.
"Couple blocks away from my house there is a mural of a dog urinating across a wall, and it goes all the way into a urinal," said Broide. "The pee is attractive it's kind of a collage, but no I don't like it."
Murals depict different perceptions and expressions. Blackman feels that with the ban being lifted people might need to be more accepting with untraditional art.
"You kind of have to take a little bit of the good with the bad in terms of accepting different perspectives and art you may not like," said Tanner.
Due to lack of enforcement of the previous bam murals have continued to thrive in L.A. There are an estimated 3,000 undocumented murals.
"I don't think it's going to make a big difference because the people who do graffiti art are still out there painting," said Gabe88. "It's all legal jargon."
But Gabe88 doesn't have to worry about the legal jargon. His murals and future artwork will now be grandfathered into the new law.