Aug 15, 2009

A touchy subject

A well-known artist who made his bones in the street and who's been arrested 15 times for tagging - his latest arrest ended in a plea deal just last month - decides to apply an anti-graffiti coating to his Echo Park studio to protect the brick facade from taggers.

A laid-off former Los Angeles Times reporter who now blogs about the Echo Park neighborhood points out that a well-known artist who's been arrested 15 times for tagging has put a coating on his Echo Park studio to protect it from graffiti.

The artist, a self-described defender of free expression, lashes out at the blogger, calling him "desperate" and a "slime."

Forget the artist's intemperate words. There's an interesting story here about changing definitions and worlds. Here's a rising artist, Shepard Fairey, who still perceives himself as an outsider and who's struggling with the fact that he may no longer be "street" (consider the symbolism and scope of his plea deal); who's probably wondering if he's trapped in the mainstream now that his artwork has achieved mainstream status (consider the genesis and appropriation of his signature artwork); who's contending with changing values as he gets older and more established; and who now finds that he's no longer the instigator of outsider action, but the target - even though Jesus Sanchez's blog post was about as gentle a poke as could be delivered.

Or maybe its just an Echo Park dust up.

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