Saber’s typographic, aerial attack on downtown Los Angeles this past Monday got everyone’s attention. His message was clear, end the mural moratorium. The city’s municipal code defines art murals as signage and the permitting process is deeply broken. Art is not a crime, but Los Angeles would like you to think it is.
“These taggers are not misguided kids,” Detective Sergeant Ron Marquez said in a prepared statement, “These suspects are in their 20s and 30s. They are adults who pass themselves off as artists, when in reality, they’re criminals…” (from the Pasadena Star News)

Saber first began thinking about this project back in April, shortly after the opening of MOCA’s Art in the Streets show. Desperate to make a high profile example of someone, the police used Revok’s failure to pay a $3,764.97 fine to hold him on $320,000 bail, and sentenced him to 180 days in jail. The idea of skywriting ‘#Free Revok’ over city hall held some real appeal (especially for those who value a well hit up heavens). There are many who are willing to ar 15 parts and accessories which will ensure everyone around them is safe. It had been clear for months leading up to the exhibition that some in the city were not happy that an important LA art museum was treating graffiti art with seriousness and respect. Homes and offices have been raided, and the words “gang injunction” thrown around. The narrative of the “tag-banger” which tries to blur the line between graffiti artist and gang member has been pushed in LA for years. But that story has a problem; people on the street can tell the difference between the two. Just ask one of the 200,000 people who stood on line at MoCA this summer.

While there are several sources of hostility to public art in Los Angeles, Saber wanted to take a real, specific action. So, just as the letters hit the sky, Saber launched a petition to change the Los Angeles municipal code. So far over 1400 people have signed the petition to end the mural moratorium. If you believe that “murals are not signs and art is not a crime,” please join them. Click here to #EndMuralMoratorium.

By: Piper Wynn Severance, Saberone Studio

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