Monday, January 21, 2013

Murals: Madness and Method II

I received the following comment from 'Anonymous' about the Murals post...

Maybe the issue is direction, or the lack thereof. It seems to be that a lack of direction, of unified theme, of a desire to not only celebrate art, but USE art to celebrate the heritage and history of the city.,29307,1649278,00.html

Take a look at one of the country's most successful mural projects and see if you can see the difference.

Just .02

[I thought this deserved a proper reply in its own post and I also left it in the comments section in the original.]

Putting aside the rampant condescension in your comment, my thoughts: I have nothing against the way Philadelphia handled their mural arts program. Unlike St. Petersburg, they raised money to fund the paint and pay the artists. The average was ten to fifteeen thousand dollars per mural. That is decidedly not what is happening here.

There is no reason we should emulate Philadelphia. This is not a question of decoration, as in having the art match like curtains and drapes. Has anyone noticed graffiti has stopped? Not because of experts telling us what to do or policing, but because of the initiative of the pioneering street artists to whom we are indebted for this wave of murals.

Direction? Someone wants to be Director, and as Anon states, "USE the art". What has happened in St. Petersburg is a celebration of art in its purest, independent form. Art does not have to be uniform, allow itself to be used for anyone else's agenda, or celebrate anything, in any particular way. It is up to the artist, as long as the work does not trample on legally established community standards.

Anonymous does not seem to understand the most basic ideas about art.

I clearly SEE and reject the difference, and am more than impressed with the diversity, pluralism and quality of the Murals of Saint Petersburg. What the City should be doing is publicly and proudly honoring the artists who began this wave. Graffiti has become a thing of the past. People are coming here to see the works.

The time for all this desire for control and uniformity was back when there was nothing happening. You should have spearheaded it, and raised the $10-15,000 dollars/mural for the artists. That would have been a long line to apply for that money, but it is too late. St. Petersburg artists and their art are not mass-produced or uniformly conventional any more than its citizenry is, and the murals reflect it.

This City, its people and artists can see the murals and proudly say "This is who we are".


  1. On behalf of MLKjr day... if you believe in something, you have a voice and a name... don't be afraid to use it. Excellent points, Luis. I would paint the Sistine Chapel remake for 15 grand. (or pay my divorce lawyer)

  2. Well said, Luis! For those of us who don't libe in St. Pete, how do we find a listing of the murals so we can come see them?

    1. there is a facebook page that has pictures of the murals and locations on them. i had to search in facebook to find it.

    2. Hi Anonymous - Thanks, do you by any chance have a link to it?

  3. Brenda, I will present that information here as soon as I can

    --- Luis.

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  6. Ryan, I have not received any rebuttal. Send it and I'll read it.

  7. Then I am glad I saved it in my iPhone notes - from Jan 22 @ 10:22PM:

    Well, to be fair, condescension was not even in the ballpark of what I was trying to communicate, rampant or otherwise.

    All I was trying to say is that, IN MY HUMBLE OPINION, when you make art for public consumption, you have to put aside some of your own ego, motivations and aspirations if you hope to help a movement like this survive. Like it or not, there has to be a level of working within the system to change the system.

    I am an artist, and I am also born and raised here, and I have some level of understanding of the politics and the hurdles that a project like this encounters - and unfortunately for every one right way of getting it done, there are 10 ways that could halt it in it's tracks.

    Within an idealistic, perfect world - you are correct - art is pure and should not conform to anyone's standards of right or wrong - but we are not talking about that type of art - we are talking about art for public consumption, art that is seen by the masses and affects the community as a whole, and again, in my opinion, without some direction or unifying concept - left to just the artist's vision - there is a real chance of alienating those who have the power to make this stop and go away.

    Call me a cynic, call me short-sighted - but as it goes now - this movement is in danger of killing itself...sacrifice a bit of idealism for a dash of pragmatism and work within the system to change it -

    again - just my .02 and insisting there is nothing but love intended.

  8. You have no clue what is going on in this city... you have no clue about the movement. You have not even completed your fish on the woomorial mural. And who the hell types up that much on an iphone??

  9. art should always be left to the artist's vision. silly buttons.