Last month, City of LA committees and departments held a public hearing on a possible new city-wide mural ordinance – one that would hopefully protect/preserve the city’s murals from land-use issues and graffiti, as well as foster an environment where new murals can be created. Long story short – the mural thing has been an issue for a long, long, long time in Los Angeles, involving law suits and billboard laws and unhappy artists. Echo Park has been a wonderful hub for colorful murals and activist art, including new artists like the French street artist JR, Cache, Banksy, and others (we even got a tour earlier this month of some of the city’s best and oldest street artists decorating the walls of Keystone Studios on Glendale Boulevard). And because Echo Park is historically a friendly environment for these murals, the new mural ordinance will definitely affect our neighborhood (and hopefully in a good way!).
Last week, Open Culture released nice summary of the mural issue (link via Curbed LA), along with a short documentary by Oliver Riley-Smith on the sad state of murals in Los Angeles in the face of graffiti and the white-washing of neighborhoods in the name of “redevelopment” (aka gentrification). The documentary features artist and activist Ernesto de la Loza, who has been fighting for years to save the city’s murals (of the 42 murals he painted over the last four decades, on nine remain). We believe he still lives in Echo Park (at one point his studio was also located here) and he once had several murals in the neighborhood – you can see his remaining piece, called “Cine de Oro,” on Sunset Boulevard and Mohawk Street (pictured).