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Santa Monica Home Covered In Graffiti Art Stirs Controversy

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(credit: CBS) Serene Branson
Serene is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and the recipient of...
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SANTA MONICA (CBS) — A colorful paint job has some Santa Monica residents seeing red. They’re upset about a new mural that covers the front of a vacant four-story house.

“Art is supposed to be provoking. You’re supposed to look at art and you know, some people may like it, some people may not like it,” homeowner Adam Corlin said.

A builder by trade and supporter of Heal the Bay, Corlin commissioned famous graffiti artists Risk and Retina to take the vacant, dilapidated home and make a mural with a message that reads, “restore, protect the world’s oceans.”

At the time, though, Corlin had no idea the tower of graffiti art would cause such a stir.

The home on Berkely sits in a residential neighborhood and the city of Santa Monica cited Corlin for an unsafe, public nuisance.

“I never thought that you would have to apply for a permit on a private property to install a piece of art,” he said.

Corlin faces fines of up to $5,000 a day. The city said some complained, calling it an eyesore.

“I consider this to be a terrible example of urban art and I don’t think it adds to the community. I think it detracts from the neighborhood,” neighbor Paul Wuebben said.

“It did exactly what we wanted it to do. We wanted to create awareness to the cause and that’s what it did,” artist Karin Hall of Heal the Bay said.

The idea was to keep the mural up until Sept. 17, to promote Heal the Bay’s Coastal Cleanup Day.

Corlin says he understands that he’ll have to take it down. He has, however, had some residents say that they would be willing to help chip in and cover the fines from the city to keep it up until the event.

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