Santa Monica Home Covered In Graffiti Art Stirs Controversy

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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  • Roger Thilman

    So sad that people have nothing better to do than worry about art…. people who are against this should be ashamed. It’s 2011, grow up!!!

    • Jeezus

      It looks like graffiti, not art, and it looks arabic too. It looks like flamboyant immature aggression with a purpose. It looks like it’s trying to be art and trying to be graffiti and ends up being neither. It’s simply another distractor to create menial conversation. These are not artists. Artists are hardworking and thoughtful. If this is indeed where mainstream art is trying to go again, then we have reversed to the highest degree.

  • Jeezus

    Graffiti ART? WHO says that? Leave it to the media to make false claims that affect how society looks at life, when people cant just think for themselves. Graffiti is graffiti and is criminal at it’s core. And it’s just simply called Graffiti. Otherwise you could say graffiti music and graffiti foods and graffiti people, frankly.

    Art is wide-ranging, but when you talk about art it involves using one or many of your senses to create something from nearly nothing. It’s creativity and honesty at it’s core. Graffiti is a way to say i’m here look at me this is mine/our territory and i’m a little immature person for defacing someone else’s property. True art is never done without the canvas’s approval to deface it and create something new accordingly.

    • j. Smooth

      Exactly was the status quo said about many of todays classics. At least you are a closed mind, opinionated, well paid, art critic that will help shape the lack of progression for mankind……oh wait, no one cares about your lack of vision. By the way, the piece was commissioned by the owner.

      • exploree

        ^ this dude knows whatsup.

    • Idiot.

      You’re an ignorant bigot. Get out of your bubble and out into the real world. Street art and graffiti are highly sought after today and often commissioned (As this was, re: not illegal!) by many high profile companies. Art in the Streets sound familiar? One of the most acclaimed and popular exhibition the MoMA in L.A has ever put on and it drew audiences from all over the world. ‘True art’ get a life, you unimaginative prune.

  • Rick

    Very true, if it is in the 1970’s. Here in L.A. many of the graffiti type mentallity have a monkey see monkey do BETTER mentallity. People need to realize that precedent sitting acts like this could lead to more and more.

    Heal the Bay has done great work. Would hate to see copycats start painting up their cribs to celebrate some Holiday/South of the Border problems that most do not care about.

  • jim

    take that hippy stuff to venice beach


    it’s the republican Neighborhood Watch that don’t like it!!!

    • Jeezus

      it’s any real or educated artist who cant stand that form of expression

      • Idiot, again.

        The Salon said the same thing about Duchamp, the same was said about Pollock, Warhol, all the greats that we hold in high regard today. Get off your high horse!

  • ab

    “It looks like graffiti, not art, and it looks arabic too.” haha, wow. it looks arabic, so it’s an issue? also, it doesn’t even look like graffiti. this is art with a message; i think “any real or educated artist” should be able to appreciate that, just like “any real or educated” person should refrain from using “arabic” as a detracting point.

  • eyeknow 1

    I think all of u have no grasp of what true art is. That is a beautiful piece of art. And just because u don’t understand it or are scared of what it represents doesn’t mean u should hate it. And any educated and well known art based artist should appreciate this piece. It’s for a great cause and for the environment. So maybe all of u should take a second look at something and try and understand it before your so quick to Judge something.

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