Photo by G. Art by Smear.
Last year, I interviewed artist Smear and at the time, he was facing some serious charges against him by the city of Los Angeles for his involvement with the graffiti crew MTA. Though Smear had long since stopped being a member of the famous graffiti crew in LA, the city found him guilty by association and his life had become a legal nightmare. If convicted, Smear and company faced paying the city back over $5 million in fines for graffiti cleanup. The case was settled this week and the judge has ruled that the defendants perform 100 hours of graffiti cleanup/community service. Smear was not subject to the deal’s terms because he has gone more than five years without a conviction for graffiti vandalism and completed his community service.
You can read an article that the LA Times wrote about the incident here.
I am so relieved for Smear as I’ve spent some time with him and I know him well enough to know that he just wanted to spread his art to the masses. He was not and still is not after trying to commit a real crime where people get hurt. I wish the law enforcement agencies used our tax dollars for the greater good and went after the true criminals – those people on Wall Street, the news media who are spreading lies and fear and our politicians who are misappropriating our hard earned tax dollars under the guise that they are out to help the public. People that put art up on walls are just trying to spread a little love. It’s quite simple actually.
Smear – Stay up brother!
Photos courtesy of Smear.
Cristian Gheorghiu aka Smear started off as a street artist in Los Angeles. He quickly became one of the most prolific artists on the scene. He successfully made the transition from the streets to galleries and then he got busted by the police, years after he stopped doing street art! The arrest made headlines across the country, but the full story was never revealed – until now. Your opinion on the legality of street art might be mixed, but one thing is sure, when you find out what happened to Smear, you’ll definitely agree that there is a major problem with our justice system. I’d like to thank Smear for his honesty and for opening up to tell his side of the story. Please note new readers, there is some rather harsh language so if that kind of thing offends you, perhaps you won’t want to keep reading. With the fact that you are on this site, you’ll already know that I use harsh language a lot and while the internet is still unregulated, you won’t see censorship here. I am not even fond of putting any type of disclaimer on this site, but you never know who is reading – so please take that under advisement before you continue.
Flashbacks by Smear
According2G: Tell us about your background. How did you get involved in Street Art?
Smear: I’ve been scribbling on things out in the streets since I was 13. I started up and down my block in the East Hollywood section of Los Angeles and pretty much kept at it since then. Eventually it lead me to this thing that has been dubbed “street art.” For the record, I have not comitted an act of graffiti or “street art” since very early in 2007 (you never know who is going to read this interview).
Another Hot LA Summer by Smear
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Photo by G. Art by Smear.
This tag from Smear is said to be around 10 years old and it’s still up in Los Angeles! Go Smear!
If you look closely, you’ll see an itty bitty Bankrupt Slut sticker on the scene.
Photos by G. Various Artists.
You Call Yourself An Artist? by Desire Obtain Cherish
As I told you previously, the Melrose and Fairfax curated exhibition “What Graffiti is to New York Street Art is to Los Angeles” is epic. There is so much great art to see and 15 of the hottest artists on the scene have works on display. The show runs until the end of June, 2011 at The Maximillian Gallery at the Sunset Marquis in Los Angeles. You’ll see works from Alec Monopoly, Free Humanity, SmogCity, Bankrupt Slut, Gregory Siff, Homo Riot, 2wenty, Snyder, KH no. 7, Desire Obtain Cherish, Cyrcle & DD$, Bod Bod, DeeKay and Smear. You should also visit Maximillian Gallery’s official website to watch a video of the street artists featured in this show collaborating a one of a kind Gibson Guitar which will be auctioned off for charity. View the video here. And now, by popular demand – more photos from “What Graffiti is to New York Street Art is to Los Angeles.” Enjoy!
KH No. 7
Photos courtesy of The Site Unscene.
Los Angeles! Save the date for an event you won’t want to miss. On June 9, 2011,The Site Unscene in conjunction with The Loft Salon & Gallery brings you the first in a monthly series of art shows to open during the Downtown LA Artwalk. The series will kick-off with street art show FRINGE featuring the work of three of the hottest LA based artists on the scene: Smear, Leba and Gregory Siff.
The Loft Salon is located at 560 S. Main Street #8W, LA 90013. The event, which takes place from 6 – 10 PM is free all night and will have drinks, great music and amazing art!
: Cristian Gheorghiu’s (aka SMEAR) visceral, highly personal style of painting emulates the messy workings of the total-information age, layering forms and images with powerful, slashing brush strokes of rhythmic, unifying mixtures and improvised, frenzied lines coupled with brilliant color to achieve a simplified language. Gheorghiu counters his free, muscular brushstrokes by loading his paintings with rags and tatters of cloth, reproductions, fragments of comic strips, and other collage elements of waste and discarded materials to convey maps of mental states. More info on Smear here
Leba: The artist Leba has been active in the street art scene, from the West to East coast, since the beginning of last decade. He is recognized and admired for combining biting social commentary and fine art imagery into both his street art and fine art. HE is unafraid to speak his mind with a spray can as on his highly controversial, yet loved, Census billboards and much lauded American Apparel advert takeovers. His street art is always relevant, exploratory, skillfully crafted, and many times, politically charged. He is skilled in many mediums: sculpting, wheat pasting, stencil cutting, painting and he skillfully conforms each medium to the needs of each individual piece. It is this combination of intelligence and raw talent that has made him one of the most admired and intriguing LA artists around the globe. More info on Leba here.
: is an American Pop, Street, Abstract-expressionist. He has exhibited un New York City, Los Angeles, London, Italy, Dublin and Vancouver. His paintings have been featured in Deitch Projects Art Parades, The Standard Hotel, De La Barracuda Wall and Urban Outfitters. Gregory’s work has appeared in Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine, Paper Mag, L.A. Times, Marc Ecko’s Complex, Cool Hunting and Glamour. More info on Gregory Siff HERE
FRINGE is curated by The Site Unscene “a new agency for a new kind of artist,” which represents, aides and promotes the finest in LA street art and artists.
The Site Unscene has teamed up with The Loft Salon and LAEKEN to offer a special street art x fashion contest give-away to promote FRINGE, just tweet a street art pic to @thesiteunscene