Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles

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Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. 6120 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90044. (click to view)

Description / Interpretation: 

"They Claim I’m a CRIMINAL"
My newest mural in South Central Los Angeles. It was commissioned by the Southern California Library located at 6120 S. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90044

The first thing I noticed when I saw the wall were the street poles located directly in front of the mural. They cast an awful set of moving shadows across the wall throughout the day. So rather than fight it, I embraced it. The theme of incarceration and enslavement automatically entered my mind. Wouldn't it be cool to paint prison bars on the wall and use the posts as 3 dimensional aspects to the mural?

When I decided to feature CAPA and Mothers ROC as the central imagery, it all came together and made perfect sense. Depending on what time of the day you view the mural, the figures are either locked up or free!

I included images of local youth inside the shirt pattern of Michael Zinzun to denote that he was a leader that worked with people to make change. He never did it for them.

I had dozens of kids come up to me and ask that I photograph them and immortalize them in the mural, only a few of them fit unfortunately. But I was able to photograph and depict Auntie who is a local celebrity of sorts, everyone knows her. I love including neighborhood folks in my murals, it makes it special and allows for ownership from the community.

You'll notice my "popo" characters or spirits who are taking the keys to people's future and tagging up the "Criminal" graff piece. They look like some kind of angel but wear riot gear helmets, so you be the judge. The hands at the bottom of the mural represent those defying incarceration and enslavement. On the other wall, the hands are braiding powerful messages directly into the hair of the woman: empower, organize, and educate.

-Man One © 2010


Photo © Ian Robertson-Salt