Public Art Mural Graffiti Removal, Protection and Restoration - Mural by Famous Artist Kent Twitchell
Graffiti Removal From Famous Mural Amazing Transformation for Public Art Olympic Freeway Mural by Kent Twitchell Jim Morphesis Monument under Temple St. Overpass in LAKent Twitchell painted the realistic mural "Jim Morphesis Monument" under the101 freeway overpass of Grand Ave. in downtown Los Angeles. It is part of a twopiece mural called "The 7th Street Altarpiece." And Altarpiece is part of the 1984Olympics murals series that adorned our freeways with 11 murals by livingmasters. Since their placement on the freeways, however, vandalism graffiti hasall but obliterated the fabulous, quality public works of art and has saddenedmillions of Los Angelinos and visitors.There have been several attempts over the years to restore the mural in thepicture above but efforts have always fallen short when it comes to maintainingthem and keeping the graffiti off. There have been a number of reasons for thisbut it boils down to establishing a professional committed organization to followthrough and work well with others… and the consistency to “stay on it.”Enter the picture: The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles (MCLA) driven by
Isabel Rojas-Williams, Executive Director and a partnership with artconservation firm, FACL, Inc. and Scott M. Haskins, President and HeadConservator. MCLA has targeted the saving, protection and maintaining of these11 Olympic murals from 1984 as their highest priority right now. The problemthat motivates MCLA? Caltrans. The highway maintenance department of theState of California, who has a mandate to paint out graffiti, has painted out 7 ofthe 11 murals much to the despair of artists, art lovers, and the general publicwhich has commented energetically on blogs and websites every time a muralgets painted out.Well, MCLA to the rescue who has been fantastic at raising awareness, makingthe political connections, fund raising and pulling together the professionalorganization to get the job done and follow through for the long term. CombineMCLAs resources, contacts and energy with FACL, Inc. and Scott M. Haskinsand there has been great progress! The first mural on the list to benefit from thenew partnerships and efforts: Kent Twitchells "Jim Morphesis Monument"This has been in the planning now for almost a year. The first meeting of theminds occurred in 2011 when FACL, Inc. and Scott M. Haskins met on thefreeways with Caltrans last April:http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/projects/murals/mural-conservancy-of-los-angeles-meets-with-caltrans-to-inspect-downtown-la-freeway-murals/.With the “adoption” of Jim Morphesis Monument and the raising of funds for itscontinued maintenance, graffiti removal tests were done to establish thecleaning and mural restoration processes. Kent Twitchell in front of the heavily tagged Jim Morphesis Monument
Several graffiti removalprocesses wereevaluated and acombination specificallycustomized to meet theneeds of this particularmural were the rightmethod to get the jobdone quickly (anecessary requirementwhile working on afreeway!) and be able tomaintain it easily overtime. Without gettinginto all the gory detailsof what we used and the techniques, the short version of the explanation is thatwe first cause the graffiti paint to swell and then we blast it off with a techniquethat doesnt hurt the original murals paint. Heres what the graffiti paint lookslike as we swell it (see photo).Heres a great photo shot of the graffitipeeling off the original mural and allowingthe gorgeous original colors to comescreaming into the daylight once again.Kent Twitchell was blown away by thesuccessful results of these graffiti processes.Its an emotional experience to see agorgeous work of art buried in filth anddarkness and then see it liberated and beresurrected and reclaimed. I was movedalso. The transformation was amazing!So, where there was doubt, now there ishope and light and we see the way to get thejob done on a massive scale for the othermurals too. And, in fact, there is a doableplan for the extensive graffiti removal in thisdifficult location for FACL, Inc. and Scott M.Haskins to follow through on and do quality,efficient work.
The job then required doing the paperwork with Caltrans and Public Works,getting into motion the logistics (which are not a few!) and then scheduling thework. The stars aligned and the traffic gods complied, FACL, Inc. and Scott M.Haskins’ art conservation team completed the graffiti removal and artconservation/restoration work at the beginning of December 2011.There has been a general gasp of amazement and excitement seeing the reallyterrific, world class, colorful mural of Jim Morphesis Monument by KentTwitchell resurface again, clean and gorgeous.Jim Morphesis Monument by Kent Twitchell after graffiti removal, retouching and protective varnish Photo by Gil OrtizKent Twitchell said, I never dreamed or hoped that my mural could look soamazing after all its been through. You, Virginia and the others of your teamhave worked well with Caltrans to make this a wonderful project. Thank you andI look forward to working with you on other projects.!”And Isabel Rojas-Williams, “I have nothing but gratefulness for you and theFACL team. What a wonderful job you all did, the mural looks stunning! I neverhoped that the mural could look this amazing! You’ve done a fantastic job withthe restoration/conservation work. Thank you for being such a leader in theprocess and being such a quality professional. I am looking forward to keep onworking with all of you to have LA regain its title as The Mural Capital of theWorld!”
3 short entertaining videos have been made and can been seen free on the blogfor the project (no opt-in required): 1. Testing, 2. Graffiti Removal, 3.Restoration. Want to see FACL, Inc. and Scott M. Haskins in action? Want to seethe processes? Want to see and know the inside scoop on this super cool highprofile job that millions of freeway travelers are seeing? Go tohttp://www.fineartconservationlab.com/jim-morphesis-monument-by-kent-twitchell/ This blog site (link above) is the first place the information will be posted forwork on the other 1984 Olympic Freeway Murals in downtown LA when the workbegins. Infact, there promises to be a lot of action in 2012. Stay tuned… we’ll keep it interesting and entertaining! So, sign up for blog updates NOW! Please spread the word. Click on the THUMBS UP. Leave a comment. Media inquiries of all media welcomeMural conservation and art conservation questions? Call Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles: Isabel Rojas-Williams 213 291 6900Kent Twitchell, artist 310 709 2037 See other vids on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/bestartdoc?feature=mhee Subscribe to our channel! Follow us on Facebook Save Freeway Murals http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Freeway-Murals-Los-Angeles/306554516039121 Mural Art Conservation – Restoration http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mural-Art-Conservation- Restoration/176077192428392?ref=ts