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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Murals and the City of Angels!

Exciting news regarding murals! I am the Arts Chair of the Mid City West Community Council (I do this as a volunteer), and we are one of many neighborhood councils in Los Angeles. Our district is noted on record as the largest arts district west of the Mississippi and is home to LACMA, CAFAM, Page Museum/La Brea Tar Pits, and more than 55 art galleries as well as loads of public murals, and street art in the various forms of graffiti, figurative, wheat pastes, stenciling...all kinds of art covers many walls.

At our meeting tonight, we had a special guest, Councilmember Paul Koretz who represents Council District 5 which is a big part of Mid City West. He updated the board and the stakeholders who were present, (about 100 total) on what he and his staff are working on for the CD zones he represents.

One item he mentioned is the proposed sign districts (as in advertising signs/billboards/idigital/supergraphics, etc.) He is 100% against these and the ordinances in support of allowing them, and was very vocal about his opposition, which is great! (Link here to Councilwoman Jan Perry who is in support of allowing advertising in NATURE zones otherwise known as Public Parks!???)

After Councilmember Koretz finished speaking, he did a q&a, and I was able to ask him the following question: "Knowing that you are opposed to allowing sign district ordinances to be passed, and when the mural moratorium is gone, and the ban is lifted, would you be in support of mural districts throughout the the city." His reply was: "Yes, I am in complete support of creating mural districts, and was never in favor of murals being destroyed and am in complete support of this ban being lifted." (!!!!)  

For those who don't know about this, it is a major topic within not only the public art arena, but in Los Angeles in general as we have always been recognized as the world capital of murals. Quick update, murals were somehow categorized as advertising signs, (which were also supposedly banned) and have not been allowed to be painted on private property since they were banned in 2002. I have included two links at the end of this blog.

For Councilmember Koretz to pre-endorse supporting efforts allowing us (speaking in general terms) to establish and create mural districts is an enormous step in the right direction.

I am also on the working mural group committee via the Department of Code Studies, City of L.A Planning Department (I am not employed by the city of L.A., I am a volunteer.) This committee, lead by Tanner Blackman,  is doing amazing work and educating the masses on this subject. 

I will be adding updates as we get closer to the day when these modern day master artists who choose to paint legally (respect to the culture) and who are visionaries, rebels, dreamers, and truth tellers, are once again legally allowed to share their gifts throughout our great city, with no fear of being harassed, arrested, or of their work being buffed over in what is referred to as beautifying grey or beige. Stay tuned...a lot is happening!
(In this Huff Post article, I was interviewed by Carmen Zella prior to the mural moratorium hearing and meeting held at Los Angeles City Hall on October 12th)
 Alphonse Mucha by Mear One.
Photo by Roger Griffith

July 2010, Los Angeles, CA
(This is the first mural I was able to collaborate with others on and make happen. Below is a an article I wrote that was published in a magazine related to all that is vintage, in August of 2010. The article mentions the state of murals at that time.
Many thanks again to all involved, including Mr. Mucha.

August 2, 2010
Contact: Shawni D. 714-316-9307
Alphonse Mucha “Commissions” MEAR ONE;
Cosmic Synchronicity at its Finest.

Written By: Shawni D

On July 14, 1939, Alphonse Mucha, the most famous artist of the Art Nouveau period,
drew his last breath in Prague. On July 14, 2010, prolific L.A. street artist MEAR ONE, power washed a 2 story wall off of 6th Street and La Brea Avenue, preparing it for a major live art installation of a mural he was about to embark upon, honoring the neighborhood of his youth, and two of his most treasured inspirations.

Centuries apart the two never met, yet somehow a serendipitous collaboration was underway. Without knowing, MEAR ONE had just begun to prep for a mural, beginning on the day Mucha died and was to finish 5 days after the world (and Google) celebrated his 150th birth anniversary. Alphonse must have been following MEAR’s work for a while, and without his knowledge cosmically “commissioned” him to do so.

On July 13th, 2010 in the city recognized as the “Mural Capital of the World,” a public hearing was taking place at L.A. City Hall, hoping to stop a motion that mistakenly placed fine art murals in the same category as super graphics and advertising signs. (For more on this issue, please click on this link
The day after, (yes, July 14) a temporary motion was declared stating, “
The City Council requests the Department of Building and Safety and the Planning Department to cease from issuing citations or notices relative to compliance with murals and signs ordinances until the City has established a permitting process for fine art murals on private property.” This motion expires on July 13, 2012.

Not knowing it was the eve of his birth anniversary, someone involved in the collaboration logged onto Google and noticed their traditional logo had been replaced by one that looked like Mucha designed it, which was true; that is the moment synchronicity between the artist and his inspiration was revealed. She immediately called MEAR who was in the midst of doing a live art installation in San Diego.  

He had no idea his 150th was the following day, July 24, and was completely blown away by this epiphany. Through a series of coincidences this came to be during the same time frame of Alphonse Mucha’s entry into and departure from physical life.

MEAR, who started painting when he was 3, set out to create a mural vibing his memories and the uniqueness of the Mid City West artists, galleries, museums and many vintage and antique stores.

Alphonse Mucha dedicated his career to painting images of beauty. MEAR, inspired by this dedication achieved his personal goal by paying homage to one of his biggest inspirations. He was not paid to do this mural, and although he made it look easy, it was extremely difficult, yet he accomplished this masterpiece like nothing ever seen before. Around 7:00pm, on July 29, 2010, under blue skies the final spray was made. It was in memory of his beloved mother Vicky, his greatest inspiration; she was also an artist and those who were there would most likely be in agreement that she gave her son a helping hand.  
The mural is a collaboration between LA Art Machine/Vox Humana, the Miracle Mile Art Walk, The Loft at Liz’s, Roger, Suzy, and friends. For more information on MEAR ONE, please visit: (MEAR ONE is also the resident artist of 33third Los Angeles,

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