Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Days Numbered For Canoga Park Public Art Space Due To Ongoing Construction

By Sherman Farralone, Quilt staff


The Canoga Park Friendly Neighborhood Council convened for a rare emergency meeting last night to discuss the future of a popular public art space just off Topanga Canyon Boulevard near Hart Street.

Located on the north side of a privately owned building, Canoga Park Tagging Wall #44265 has been legally recognized as a public art space “designated specifically for the purposes of illegal tagging, prohibited graffiti and other unlawful defacement(s)” for close to a year now since the building on the adjacent lot, an abandoned car dealership and popular tagging spot itself, was demolished. 

While still currently visible to passersby, the future of Tagging Wall #44265 is in jeopardy
due to ongoing construction that will ultimately block it from the public's view. Staff photo.
But ongoing new construction on that same lot threatens to compromise the wall's visibility for its intended audience: those who happen to glance over to the left for a second while driving southbound on Topanga Canyon Boulevard. 

“Like technically an’ shit...? We could probably still keep tagging it an’ shit,” says Canoga Park's official tagger laureate, DAИK, “But if a building goes up there an’ shit, no one’s going to see our tags an’ shit. And that’s just unacceptable an’ shit.”
pOOpyPantz keeps in practice by tagg-
ing one of his cans. Photo: pOOpyPantz.

A number of Canoga Park tagging and graffiti artists took the podium to speak about the importance of keeping CPTW #44265 accessible to area artists and visible to all. 

“Its like proximity an’ shit...?  To Canoga Park High School an’ shit...? Is like important, you know, for up-and-coming taggers an’ shit,” explains street artist pOOpyPantz. “Like if someone wants to hit it, they only have to cut one class, instead of cutting all day, ‘cause it’s so nearby an’ shit. So it’s good for, like, education an’ shit.”

The owner of the building to which the wall is an integral part briefly took the podium himself to voice his opinion but was quickly shouted down. “How is wall recognized as public art space?!” demanded an angry Razmik Barsamian. “Is private property! Is on my building! My insurance premiums go up with boolshit like this! I am tired of painting over this crap!”

[Barsamian’s outburst was not well received and the building owner was forcibly removed from the meeting by police. —Ed.]
Canoga Park's dearth of Starbucks
will soon be slightly less dearthy.
According to paperwork filed in early 2016 with the Canoga Park Department of Building Construction and Construction of Buildings, coffee powerhouse Starbucks as well as a self-storage company are planning to open businesses on the lot adjacent to the wall. Construction is already well underway.

Despite Canoga Park’s commitment to public art and youth empowerment, members of the Canoga Park Friendly Neighborhood Council voted 9 to 8 to allow construction to continue, with the two members who did not vote, Vera Morris and Jim Gutierrez, having gone on a coffee run for the rest of the council. 

Reached later for comment, Morris said, “See, now if we didn’t have to go all the way to the Starbucks on Canoga Avenue, we would’ve been back in time for the vote [and] could have put a stop to this construction.” Added Gutierrez, another opponent of blocking wall access, “If only there was a closer Starbucks, we could have prevented this nightmare.”

With the injunction not passing, construction will continue and unfettered enviewability of the wall will come to an end within the next few months.

Mural, Mural On The Wall: The artist responsible for one of the wall's largest pieces has reacted to
news of its impending obscurement with a resigned sense of dispassionate indifference.  Staff photo.
Local artist 'Apathy,' whose 20-foot piece will soon be hidden from view by the self-storage building, summed up the morose, defeated feeling shared by a number of his fellow taggers by the meeting's end. “Who gives a shit anymore? Really, what difference does any of it make?” he shrugged. "I just don't care."

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