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Does this Tower District mural offend you?

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SATURDAY UPDATE: The Neighborhood Thrift mural will live on — at least for now. Officials from The Well Community Church reversed their Friday decision to paint over the mural. Read more in this news update at fresnobee.com.

Here’s what The Well’s pastor Tim Goetz had to say about the decision via e-mail:

We have decided to hold off on painting over the mural. We would like to take it a little slower to be sure that we are making a good decision. It feels like we found ourselves in a lose-lose situation, by where we have to choose between some neighbors or the greater Tower community. I would like some time to try to find a way to turn this situation into a win. We do not know the fate of the mural, but people can rest easy knowing a rash decision will not be made.

The best thing people can do that are in support of the mural is to stop emailing and calling and distracting the employees of Neighborhood Thrift. I am aware that there are many that do not want to see the mural go. Just let me have a week or two to try to sort things out.

Look for a comprehensive story in tomorrow’s issue of The Bee.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The Well Community Church, which backs the thrift shop, announced this evening that it will paint over the mural. That’s expected to start on Saturday. For more info, read tomorrow’s issue of The Bee.

Muralists were painting into the night, trying to finish the mural before it got washed away. Supporters had gathered to watch. Here are pics from the scene: [pic1] [pic2]

Thoughts?

UPDATE: This controversy surrounding this mural has been taken up a notch this morning, with word that the mural was vandalized. Here’s more info and here for a video.

ORIGINAL POST, 10/22: There’s another public art debate happening in Fresno — this one involving an in-the-works Tower District mural. It’s on the side of the recently opened Neighborhood Thrift Store at Olive and Wilson avenues.

There was a meeting on Wednesday night at the thrift store for both sides to air their opinions. About 50 people showed up, most of them in favor of the mural. Check out this story from today’s Bee for more on the meeting and the mural.

To boil down the two arguments: Some neighborhood residents want the mural painted over, saying its offensive and brings down their property values. The pro-mural folks say it’s art, and art should push some buttons and cause debate. Also, they point out that the mural is not even done yet.

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The mural is the work of a pack of local artists, among them Ramiro Martinez, Dominique Ovalle, Mike Howe. Noted local muralist Josh Wigger helped organize the project.

The artists say the mural is meant to represent the Valley — from the woman made up of water, to the baby laying on top of the fruits and vegetables, to the menacing men looming above.

If this debate sounds a bit familiar, it’s because Fresno had a similar controversy last month about the sculptures at Iron Bird Lofts.

Another interesting aside: The mural in question and its artists were the featured in the video where the Contra Costa Times was trying to find intelligent life in Fresno.

[photos by Eric Paul Zamora / The Fresno Bee]

Responses to "Does this Tower District mural offend you?"

Ruth Ratzlaff says:

I suspect they didn’t get the permit that’s required nor advance approval from the Tower District Design Review Committee.

kumar says:

Does the Tower District Design Review Committee have authority over commercial property? If so, I’d have to wonder how they determined that the Dollar Tree and Mr. Suds fit into the historic design guidelines.

Kristin says:

How about we let them finish before we start oppressing their voices as artists?

Michael Medrano says:

@ Kristin: I agree. I’d hate the Tower District Review Committee to loom over my shoulder if I were in the middle of writing a poem. Paint on artists!

Heather says:

My brother lives on that street. He’s happy to see the mural because he hopes it will keep the taggers, who loved that previously blank stretch of wall, at bay.

Art or graffiti? Which would these prudish homeowners rather see?

kiel says:

The Tower District Design Review Committee reviews most items that require a building permit in the district. (exceptions are interior work and reroofing when the same material is being replaced)

Painting a building does not require a building permit, so we do not review murals. The exception would be if the mural advertises the business. It then falls under sign regulations and we will review it.

I’m all for public art. I say the more the merrier.

However, it seems the artist did not show the neighbors respect by at least telling them that they were going to paint a mural and tell them what to expect. They should have at least talked to the few homes that have a view of the mural from their front yard.

Taking it a step further, the artist could have asked for neighborhood input then use that for inspiration in designing the mural.

So by not being proactive, you get people reacting much more extreme.

I don’t find it offensive, but judging by the picture here, it’s not very pretty. Guess I’ll have to drive by and look at it “in person.”

Michael Medrano says:

@ Kiel:

When and where does the Tower District Design Review Committee meet? How do we get in touch?

the phantom says:

If I wanna see a woman throw up, I hit Bobby Salazar’s on a Saturday night. Bla ha ha!

Famous says:

I put up some comments over at Fresno Famous.

I agree with Kiel that the owner should have met with the neighbors, on a it’s-the-right-thing-to-do basis.

eric field says:

This is awkward. I have at least one friend who is in this project, and love her work, –I also feel strongly about being supportive of more art in the city, and like murals.

-however-

If the business owner did NOT get together with the artists and neighborhood?
-It did NOT consider nor respect the neighborhoods wishes nor input on the issue.
Community involvement w/ arts: FAIL.

(So the neighborhood has every right to feel like this has been forced on them (if) they feel that way.
If I was a homeowner / resident in that neighborhood and had the nice blue lady puking the river every morning? I’d be a bit less than enthused and supportive of ‘the arts.’

If art is public mural art is supposed to be a collarborative and ‘lift’ a community, the community (at least) has some say as to ‘how’ it wants to be lifted, -no?

Heather says:

I wonder how many of these homeowners check with their neighbors first before they paint their houses a butt-ugly color, or hang one of those hideous butterfly flags up, or leave their brokedown car in the yard for years.

Ed St. Louis says:

If Someone Is Offended By A Work Of Art In A Cultural Arts District Like The Tower District There Is Always Clovis Or The North Side Of Town. If You Are Offended, You Have The Option Of Not Looking. Art Is An Interpretation Coming From The Mind Of An Artist To Be Interpreted By The Viewer. You Either Get It Or You Don’t. I Would Have To Wonder Why Anyone Would Be Offended By A Work Of Art In A Cultural Arts District. Fresno Could Us More Sights In This Town That Teases The Mind And Makes You Wonder..A Big Problem In This Town Is We Have Too Many Conservative Like-Minded People. Lets Make A Difference And Present Some Different Opinions. Maybe We Can Liven This Town Up. Loosen Up Our Minds And Let Our Backbones Slide. Wake Up Stuffed Shirt People!!

That is so offensive. I am deeply offended. Where do these artists come off thinking they can just make art. We don’t want any art here!

The Phantom says:

Wow. Ed. Nice Capital Letters. You Must Be An Artist!

Joe Osejo says:

Attention. To all those who would, at all costs, obstruct freedom of expression through art or speech….I say this….Blinders are for Horses and Jackass’s…You can quote me on this!

flo says:

anyway i am going to precede my commentary with the statement that if you are an artist who puts your work out there for the public to see, you are going to have to expect some critique. just as i defend the artist to express themselves, i think the people who now have to live/look at it should have the opportunity to dialogue too. …so i am totally excited about public art too, but i agree with the above people who say that they should have made better efforts to collaborate with the community, esp. if they were planning to represent the tower or bring something to the neighborhood. the owners, the “neighborhood” thrift shop, seem to have good intentions, but unfortunately surprised everyone with such a large scale mural. i actually think the painting techniques are done very nicely, but i feel the major problem lies with the coordination of the seven artists. it seems like such a hodgepodge of work, as if everyone took a corner and started painting. the competing scales of the baby, woman, chp, the random heads and KISS figures don’t merry well. the multiple messages and subjects are confusing, and perhaps would have been better if they just hired one artist, or do a better job coordinating the work, so it doesn’t look like competing pieces of works. anyway, that is just my thought (which i have repeated in different forums)! it is great we all care about art in our community, and dialogue about it!!

Joe Osejo says:

How deep Stephen? “We”, who exactly is “we”?

I guess ‘we’ would be those who think art should be reserved for museums and something the general public can’t appreciate. Sorry if the sarcasm got lost.

Michael Medrano says:

I just walked by the mural to get a clearer view. I actually love the work, and think, the muralists and their critics should get together and have an intellectual conversation regarding the themes in the art.

And televise that sucker!

karma says:

i don’t think it’s ugly, i know some of the artists and understand what they are saying. it’s no monet, but it is certainly better than the tagging that was there before. it’s supposed to be about fresno. we depend on the san joaquin river and when we pollute the source of what we grow, what we grow becomes polluted. i think that is something that needs to be said.

Christi Avakian says:

CHEERS TO YOU KRISTIN, I AGREE. THESE ARTISTS ARE AMAZING.

mdub420 says:

why does the mexican have to be two-faced?

kiel says:

The Tower District Design Review Committe meets twice a month, on the first and third Tuesdays on the 3rd floor of City Hall.

http://www.fresno.gov/Government/CityCouncil/District3/BoardsandCommisions/TowerDistrictDesignReviewCommittee/default.htm

If you should have any questions, please e-mail Will Tackett at Will.Tackett@fresno.gov or by phone at (559) 621-8277

sir lancelot higgins says:

As a art teacher I think it is outstanding that more and more public art murals and sculptures are showing up in this conservative town. Not only is it good for debate but it shows that there is a local art scene to be proud of. Please keep creating.

flo says:

i love that message!! i honestly had no idea…no one seem to have got it just from looking at the work, not even in the bee article. it makes sense now, but argh, i just wish the message was better articulated and coordinated in the mural by the artists to make the environmental aim much more effective and powerful. anyway, i do applaud their hard work and efforts!!

I stopped by a couple of times during the process of this mural. The artists involved are great. I do not believe in design by committee, so I cannot agree with getting the neighbors too involved. I do know that the early stage of this process included an opportunity for the community to participate in the process by throwing some paint on the wall and whatnot.

This mural is an example of collaboration and beautification. It is cool to see artists working together to produce a finished product. It is cool they included (or allowed opportunity for) the end user (the community) to get involved early in the process. It is cool to have a open debate about said process.

In business, people are not always willing to collaborate. In life, people are more competitive. These guys worked to bring a piece of beauty (be it subjective) to fruition.

BTW, I think it looks amazing…I would live across the street from it.

fresnobraindrain says:

The artist working on the mural are some of the best local artist around, with tons of experience doing public art. It’s because the mural is not a landscape or a fruit tree that people are up in arms. The Tower District is a Fresno gathering place and belongs to all those that go eat, drink, dance, view movies, plays, listen to poetry, and so on. Let’s support local art or they’ll leave just like all our other unique talented bright young people.

kellen christman says:

“this is something you see in east L.a. it lowers our property value” is not only and incredibly racist comment, but inexcusably ignorant! I was born and raised Fresno and moved to Philadelphia 6 years ago; a city that boasts the largest public mural arts project in the country. Fresno will always lack culture and and attempt to advance culturally will be met with opposition… Im glad I live in a more progressive city not overrun by intolerance and completely bereft of any appreciation of cultural expression.

Josh wigger says:

From what a representative of the review committee said was they were unsure if there is a an city ordinance on murals. I’ve done 3 other murals in Tower and didn’t have to get my concepts approved by any board.

Josh wigger says:

You don’t need one. It was discussed last night.

Josh wigger says:

Ha! man that is too funny.

kellen says:

i got the sarcasm. got a good laugh stephen

Josh wigger says:

I got your sarcasm, good job.

Josh wigger says:

I agree about the fact that it comes off as a hodge podge of concepts but we are still pulling things together and as you can see we are maybe 2/3 done so just wait a little bit longer and the story will start coming together.

Josh wigger says:

Because he is in motion, it’s not a rip on race or culture.

kellen says:

you are so right! people such as myself flock to the cities to express our art. debates like this in more progressive towns are things of the past…

Josh wigger says:

I am glad you pointed this out. I was attacked by the woman who made that comment, she expressed how the mural is “slum art” and that we are devaluing her property by painting this mural. She also expressed that we were using “pagan symbols on a christian business” which was completely absurd and then proceeded to say that the baby represented abortion.

I think you can gauge a pessimist and opptimist with public art that makes an individual engage with their own selves.

singhster says:

Kellen, you were born and raised in Selma. This isn’t Philly. People who read this blog know where Selma is. Represent, son! Also, I’m glad you don’t live here either. On second thought, don’t represent.

Josh wigger says:

To all of you who have commented here i thank you for your participation on critique, opposition and embrace of public art. This is really what the “Muralathon” project was all about, community engagement.

I started the project with the intent of making a small documentary about murals in Fresno (which will be previewed at Audies Olympic/club fred on Nov.19th with live music)and sending it as a pod to Current.com to get it aired on tv in all it’s opposed/demonized and pure interactive glory. The artist that are working on the wall are all great painters and have a drive to create more public art. Since we pulled this whole thing together with donations and next to no money we considered it an all out community participatory event and included that into the documentary.

The Muralathon project is about bringing more attention to public art and calling out Fresno to interact with the artists who do this for the love of it. We would also like to bring attention to the fact that these public servants should be paid to make this kind of work and hopefully in the future Muralathon will be able to make that happen.

If you would like more info on this event please send me an email at
rndm9@yahoo.com
Thanks, Josh Wigger

Stephen says:

Sweet! This art has raised passion within people (and sarcasm in others). It has stimulated debate. That’s good art without even looking at it.

This is the first I’ve seen of the mural, and I love it, absolutely love it. No one objected when Julie Taymor had a woman in pain open her mouth and blood streamed out of it. I love all of the symbolism here and I further love that I don’t get all of it (I’m bummed that Josh told me what the two-faced mexican male’s symbolism was…I liked all of the other ideas going through my head).

For those who are complaining that the muralists aren’t the best at ‘pushing the paint around,’ hey…it is what it is…but I love it. I will find something new to ponder every time I look at it. I love all of the murals in the Tower and elsewhere.

BOO to graffiti, especially gang crap and taggers. YAY to murals.

PS–The baby represents abortion? Wow, that woman has an amazing artistic imagination! Go lady! No, seriously…Go.

Cherie Fountaine says:

I understand and can see where one might see this as controversial; BUT, isn’t that what makes Real art ART? Hmmm! Human beings have different perspectives and always will, about many issues. The heart of the artist(s)and their interpretation is what is important. What message are they attempting to convey? I would hope that reasonable people would use the brain they were given to decide whether something is tasteful or not and have the sense and decency not to display anything considered by the ‘majority’ to be perverse, hateful, etc. By the same token, critical, judgmental, unimaginative people need to find something else to focus on–there are WAY too many nick pickers and busy bodies all too eager to jump on a band wagon and add their two cents when they don’t understand a thing about it. I don’t think this is distasteful, personally, and is definitely a conversation piece.I support it.

C.L. says:

“Could it be … PAGAN???” http://is.gd/4w44t

jp says:

I agree with Stephen and will add that I am offended by some people’s poor taste in music. When the cheap speakers make a loud noice in their cars it makes me roll my window up at an intersection on a nice day. Fresno needs a new law that requires no loud music in addition to no art to go along with the no smoking outside on the mall. Heck, save time; just throw everybody in jail that appears different or wears non-conforming cloths and let robots run the world.

Dez says:

Why not just throw-up on the wall? Maybe smear toilet paper on it? This form of media and expression could be very cool to some. Oh oh, but now I wax sarcastic, and here wa’re talking “art,” so let’s not judge it.

Come on, this mural is garbage. Life in the Valley is already depressing enough, we don’t need to give our kids more reasons to despair. If there were something this unattractive in my neighborhood I’d go out there with a roller and put a nice coat of ….anything else on it. My neighborhood is full of trashed, abandoned homes. I’ve asked other neighbors to help me with watering, mowing, picking up trash,… and I do it alone. I guess they think the crappy neighborhood looks “artsy,” while they watch TV and their kids are shooting-up and making babies in their back room. Get a life and do something good for the place.

ed says:

comment win!

Carlos "DB" Montano says:

It’s good art. Good art and liberal thinking is pretty much what the Tower District is all about, right? This is’nt River Park or Clovis we’re talking about.

Josh wigger says:

This comment is trashy and full of irrational debate.You really come at it with no valid argument you’re just here to bash and have no ground to stand on besides a jaded opinion of ghetto banter…please try and THINK next time you write about something you dislike and try doing a bit more beside picking up garbage and watering lawns, it takes a lot more than that to inspire the youth and people in general.

Oh yeah, and life is quite good for us painters, we have love.

kellen christman says:

and yet just another testament of the finest ignorance… you have no premise for your argument…and the whole objective of objective debate is to offer all opinions concerned in order to view an issue from a faceted perspective. spare us your incoherent ranting that does nothing to bolster the debate. thanks. get off facebook and read a real book!!

kellen christman says:

your comment is irrelevant to the blog…period.

Michael says:

“Life in the Valley is already depressing enough”

So what, you rather have rainbows and kittens and lollipops on the wall? Well I don’t think they make a paint by numbers for murals, so I guess you are out of luck.

This isn’t about art, it’s about people who don’t understand what the piece is about and in their ignorance they attack it in hopes it will go away and they can feel “smart” again.

I have yet to see one valid argument against the mural. The reason “it’s ugly” don’t cut it with me. Props to the artists for doing something creative that the whole community can appreciate. Even if a select few bitch and whine about it.

Cold Moon says:

Hello, Josh when is your next art show! and where is it going to be at. email at earthstarblue@yahoo.com Thanks my native brother

Alana says:

Here’s an idea.. stay in your neighborhood and leave Tower to those of us who can appreciate the artwork.

Alana says:

I’m a resident of Tower, former resident of downtown, and a few of my friends helped in the creation of this mural. Whether intentional or not, I think it’s an excellent representation of the valley’s recent water war and a great addition to the eye-catching, thought-provoking murals that are setting Tower and Downtown Fresno apart from the rest of this conservative bland wasteland.

Anyone who doesn’t like it or cannot appreciate it can stay in their perfect little “North of Shaw” bubbles and leave the creative living to the rest of us.

Eileen F. Moore says:

Poems that you like/don’t like aren’t staring you in the face as you’re walking/driving through the area. If I came upon this mural unaware….it would appear to be someone in the throes of never-ending throw-up.

Heather says:

Alana, come on. I understand your anger, but that thinking is as small-minded as those who dismiss the mural as ‘Satanic.’ First of all, many of those who were initially complaining live in the area, down and/or across the street from the mural.

Second, there are plenty of people who live “north of Shaw” who are able to appreciate a mural like this just fine — me included. When you use phrases like “their perfect little ‘North of Shaw’ bubbles” you sound as close-minded and uneducated as the very people you’re mad at, which I am certain you are not.

flo says:

i cannot, cannot wait for the mural to be completed! thanks for taking my comments constructively, because i am also in the creative/design industry (architecture), so i think it is great we can dialogue about it in a professional manner! anyway, best wishes on the project and my hubby and i will definitely round up a group for the nov 19 event! cheers!

mdub420 says:

if people like the art, they are considered wierd. if people don’t like the art, they are considered a close minded bigot.

there’s never any middle ground. i guess i have to throw art in there with politics, religion, and hip hop as things that will never be debated rationally.

rob says:

this wil offend many many people here in fresno because
1) it is art
2) we ARE the dumbest city in the united states.

Add the two together and you get what happened last night; no surprise there.

Keep on keeping it classy fresno

Pierre says:

Puke, River Lady, Puke!

Let your sacred waters nourish the giant baby
watched by the three demons and the two-headed man!

Classy, indeed.

I just saw the mural myself, and I’m really sad to see people have vandalized it. These kinds of things give our city so much character, and I honestly cannot see anything wrong with mural at all.

on a diff. note, isn’t this so exciting that this much controversy has happened over art. F’n A ..art and expression is alive! Even though I want the mural up, and I’m sad to see any vandalism…its exciting that people are talking about this, even if its polarizing…

I’m sure Diego Rivera could relate.

pk says:

Take the velvet away and velvet painting is art….right? Dogs playing poker? art, too!

So, increase the size, put it on the side of a building and that’s ok too!!

Add graffiti too!! Those blue splotches were placed by an artist as well!! Don’t complain….its all ‘art’!

The Community that cannot avoid this every day needed to be consulted…..just courteous…..
this is now ‘public art’ due to the size and location……

Brandon S says:

This may stir the pot a bit more, but isn’t a mural, whether offensive or not, a sign of life? The building was sitting empty and not bringing in revenue to the neighborhood. And now there is activity. Restoration. Renewal.

To the issues: Is it offensive?
My Art degree says: Its art, so offensive, if any, is left to the viewer. Color theory is for sure the voice of several artists. Slightly dark for an outside work that will age, fade, and collect dirt and grim, which will loose some detail over time.

My Personal taste says: Not my style, but makes me explore what the collaboration of artists is suppose to mean. Done well enough with technique that you can tell the artists aren’t just painting for painting sake. Wouldn’t hang a small version in my house, but will check out other works by the artists because the work (not to be confused with content) is good.

My Neighborhood opinion (as I do live near by): I like it. Kind of extends the “heart/feel� of Tower past Teazers/Revue and Echo St. down to Palm.

Luna Cerulean says:

Boo. Boo to everyone who thinks its Pagan or offensive. It makes you think, and that’s what it’s supposed to do. If you don’t like thinking, please don’t open your eyes. Fresno needs more outlets like this, to think and move in a positive direction, and to show pride in our town by beautifying it. People are so closeminded it makes me sick. No, actually I hope it makes them sick so they all shut up and go away. Go back to your little beige prison.

mdub420 says:

i don’t think you’re going to win anyone over by wishing death on them, haha.

DB says:

I find it funny that because it is “art” it somehow requires public consent. Had the building been painted a neon yellow/green color (like the one up the street from this mural) would we see a blog about “Does the color of this building offend you?” While it MAY have adverse or positive effects on nearby property value, the way someone chooses to decorate their building, or home for that matter, (as long as no codes are broken)is their choice. Very seldom does art offend me because I realize I have the right not to look, and often exercise that right. While that may not be easy to do if I live across the street, I realize that the way I choose to decorate my property may offend them as well, and thats simply a matter of personal taste, not an attack on my community.

anthony armour says:

this is anthony “ap” armour. i am one of the three guys running the store that is decorated with the art which has surprisingly become so controversial. i didnt have time to read each and every comment left. i would just like to say that i do acknowledge the fact that i did indeed make a hasty and premature decision. i would also like to defend myself in saying that i did apologize to the community at the meeting that was held at the store. i am excited to hear the different input from the community and will continue in making strides in finding a peaceful compromise. we as a business dont want to create controversy, we simply want to be a business that helps in the development of people and community. i will close in saying that it was a bit disappointing this morning when i received several phone calls from our neighbors reporting that not only our building but the artwork on our wall was vandalized.

Katie says:

Wow,
this has stirred up as much controversy as the statues at the new lofts downtown. Geez people can’t we get some culture in Fresno without everyone throwing such a fit?? If you don’t like it, don’t look. I look forward to many more improvements here in Fresburg. Wish I lived across from anything as interesting as that. What a conversation piece. Just look at what it has got going here on the blog.

Mel says:

Although it is not something I would, on a smaller scale, hang in my home, it is art — it is an artist’s interpretation of our home, the Valley. I agree thoughts of the community could have been taken into consideration, but like Heather said, since when do neighbors get together to vote on these types of issues? Unless there is some secret “Tower District Mafia,” that nobody knows about. Get over it and take it for what it is … art.

DAVE says:

I have nothing against art or murals but this is the ugliest thing i have ever seen! I would throw paint on it if it was in my neighborhood too! What the hell is it supposed to be? A woman throwing up and an ugly baby being watched over by three idiots from the”dusk till dawn” movie and a two headed mexican? NICE

Heather says:

You have nothing against art, but if it’s not your taste, you’ll go ahead and destroy it. NICE.

dave says:

This is not art,this is something my 6 year old could do-and better! put something up there that depicts something and is well done.does’nt have to be my taste,just relevant and well done.

BadKarma says:

To the artist(s)
I like it and I hope there is more to come. Don’t fret over the naysayers; it only means that your idea is thought-provoking. Maybe it will wake a few of them up.

To the naysayers
How many of you have actually seen it? Fresno needs some life zapped into its otherwise dead soul. Move out of the way and let it happen.

arlen penner says:

Wow Dave.
Your compassion seems limitless. I’m sure you have lots of wonderful friends who support your optimistic and positive outlook on things. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that you have had great success in conflict resolution. You probably have a prestigious art appreciation degree validating your insightful comments regarding the mural.

arlen penner says:

You have also somehow managed to bring life to one of the most talented 6 year olds planet earth has ever seen. Congratulations.

dave says:

My final comment.If you think this is art and adds to the beauty of the area you must be part of the reason Fresno won the distinction of being the dumbest city in the nation recently.

kiel says:

wondering if dave reads non-fiction, has a degree, or votes. #55

Michael says:

Really? I thought it was because of intellectuals like you? I’m glad you set everyone straight with your insight into why Fresno is the dumbest city in the nation. I can go to sleep night knowing the truth. Thank you for doing your service to the community.

Whitney says:

This is a mural that involves artists from the community on a building of a business that is trying to bring revitalization to the surrounding area. They are providing jobs and offering great products for good prices. They are trying to bring a sense of community to the area. As you can see from AP’s comment he wants nothing but positive steps forward for this project and their business.
If the art isn’t your thing, so be it. If your neighbor painted their house lime green would you call a meeting to make them change it? Does an art piece drop your property value, doubt it. Art is a media that is to be discussed and experienced in a communal way. Seems to be really working in that aspect.
Keep the murals coming, the new life of downtown, tower, and surrounding is growing on the backs of the people behind all this. Do we want more RiverPark areas or more diversity and regional culture to make Fresno a place to visit and be seen, for something other some poll.

Conlan says:

I disagree with all 79 comments so far.

The fact that it is art does not place it above criticism. The fact that some people like the mural does not make them dumb.

The fact that someone dislikes the mural doesn’t give them the right to deface it. The fact that some people dislike the mural and wish it removed does not make them dumb.

The fact that it is on private property means (as far as I know) that they can paint whatever they want (barring obscenities, etc.). The fact that it is on private property does not mean that they ought not engage the immediate community in so large a project.

The irony is, the people at Neighborhood Thrift seem understanding and willing to work to find a amicable solution with the neighbors (i.e., the only people who actually have a vested interest–if not a legal one). Most or all of the vitriol seems to be coming from people who, once the furor dies down, probably won’t ever again see the mural except in their peripheral vision.

For the record (and for DJ Bradley who accuses me of never taking a side), I dislike the mural as art. Meaning, I don’t think it is good art (I am someone who thinks graded values can be ascribed to art). The mixture of the different artists styles do not seem to coalesce well. Half of you may now accuse me of being a close-minded art-hating bigot. Although I believe a community-minded business like Neighborhood Thrift should be more engaging of the community (and not just the “art community”), I also believe the art should remain, if that is what the building residents want. The other half of you may now accuse me of having no sense of decency and wanting to corrupt our children.

Thank you.

dave says:

your welcome.Glad i could be of help.Anytime!

Sally N. says:

It you can’t see the beauty in this mural, then you have no taste. Tell me, did you like the gray bland wall covered with tags better? Art brings property values up not down…but I wouldn’t expect you to understand about “numbers and the such.”

Bryan Harley says:

They’re painting over it? Wow. Lame. Really lame.

rob says:

yay! nothing like a church to keep us all in the dark ages… go fresno… just read up on the well… seem like they are very keen on using public forums, like high school campuses, to preach their message of intolerance… typical fresno christians; hypocrites to the core… just making sure we stay at the top of that dumbest city list… ever wonder why the heyday of christianity is lovingly referred to as the dark ages; heard they did the same thing to “art” back then as well

keep it up fresno

Byron H Diel says:

It’s truly sad to see that puritanical morons still seem to be able to wield de facto veto power over cultural evolution in Fresno. I am reminded of the Taliban tearing down the those enormous ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan. The property values suck because because most intelligent people don’t want to be exposed to this sort of oppressive blandness.

Suzanne Bertz-Rosa says:

Honestly, if I was to buy a mural, this wouldn’t be it. But who freakin’ cares about personal taste. Art is about the artistic expression. It’s about inspiring thought and conversation. This piece of art has done that. It is successful.

I was excited about having a new mural in the Tower. I was excited about the collaboration involved in creating it. I was looking forward to studying the mural to understand the intent and bring my own interpretation to the piece.

I’m shocked and horrified by small minded nay-sayers that are crying about their dislike for the art. Get over it. Let it live. Live and let live.

If you look at if from an economic perspective, public art INCREASES value of homes in the neighborhood. Look at the research people.

I’m embarrassed and ashamed to live in a place that is so closed-minded.

Shameful.

P.S. I’m not a big thrift-store shopper, but I was looking forward to patronizing such a cool place that had the vision to do a collaborative mural. It they paint over it, I will never step foot in the store. Just an FYI.

irms says:

I’m with this guy. Way to write, and be right. You get twice as many points for doing both at the same time.

Brandon S says:

Rob-

Did my post from above sound like a “typical Fresno Christian”? Did I lace a “message of intolerance” in there somewhere? I see you’re coming at this emotionally. You spent more time name-calling then actually talking about the art or how it sucks for the artists to waste time and resources. I’m personally bummed out too that the church I go to has chosen to paint over the mural. But I would hope someone that can appreciate art would use the same logic and not make gross generalization about a religious group.

I’d love to grab a beer (assuming 21+) and share thoughts.
FYI: Just got home at 12:15am this Saturday morning and the mural is looking so rad! It was a mini party out there!!

Bob Saget Jr. says:

Art, culture and education in general offend me. Especially if they require that I have to learn something or are something that I can’t do myself.

I also don’t like puppies or ice cream.

Cynthia Chapman says:

I witnessed these artists working on the mural. They worked hard, and put so much consideration in to this project. As an artist myself, I was excited for them to have this opportunity.
I ache for the artists, yet am so proud of them all, they took a chance, put themselves out there, which is more then a lot of people do. It takes real guts .

I was standing with Romero as he explained the beauty in the mural to me, the deep connection it had with our valley, when a car drove up and the driver told him to his face, she did not like it. I felt sad for Romero, but he handled himself very well.

Romero has beautiful works in his studio, always makes time to discuss his work, answering questions in great detail and seems to have a knowledge about art that I personally find very intriguing. I have so much respect for him as an artist.

I see the talent in them all. We should be applauding them for trying to make Fresno more expressive. I can only imagine the frustration they must be feeling. They obviously worked hours on this.

My seven year old son and twelve year old daughter were happy to have put some paint on the wall in the beginning stages of the mural.

I explained to them that though they just involved themselves in a very small part of this, it was a historical time in our community, a time when artists are taken more seriously and given the chance to create. They were proud of themselves.

Some people have said, if it got attention, you accomplished your goal, it made them think, feel, and possibly live for a moment.
Keep up the great work you guys, you are all amazing!

Tone says:

This is the most ridiculous thing i have seen play out in a long time. I really want to explode but i’m going to save my words because obviously ignorance has won yet again. Peace out Fresno enjoy being lame!

joan says:

message to the “artists”-DO NOT QUIT YOUR DAY JOB!DAMN THAT THING IS UGLY!

Chango Martinez says:

A similar situation happened in San Antonio, Texas in the mid-90′s. A muralist painted a beautiful, huge image of the Virgin Mary. However, the Catholic community objected to his rendition (it was interpretive, not realist). The artist painted over the mural himself. All he left was one of her eyes… and he painted a tear coming out of it.

Kristin says:

It just makes me want to cry. Why are they painting over it? Why would you do that? Why can’t we let them finish before tearing their hard work apart? I wish they had set up scaffolding and plastic, covered the mural until it was finished, and then let everyone see it. I think it’s been very brave of them to let the community in on the process.

I’m just sad and frustrated that this could happen. Those of you calling this project ugly should put up some of your own art to be criticized and judged in such a cruel manner, then we’ll talk.

Albert Cano says:

the colloborative efforts for this mural is art, and art is an expression, an expression is speech, and we have freedom of speech. To paint over would be unamerican. I wonder if there is a legal case here.

eric field says:

I will step foot in that store.
I’ve done murals, done public artworks, have been a advocate and activst in this area (and others) and have had to learn how to communicate and work ‘with’ patrons, neighborhoods, and (needlessly) oppositional groups, (as part of being an artist and an adult.)

I would like to see this area grow up.
I’d like to see arts in the area be supportive.
I also respect the wells decisions to remove this, if it’s going to be a massive bone of contention, —as their goal is NOT to offend people, -but to serve communities.

In fact?

If folks did some research as to what ‘the Well’ is all about? –and WHY that store is there?

They may be quite surprised.

Though they can speak for themselves, I (myself, and I welcome anyone from this string, Suzanne, you too,) to attend with me on a Sunday Night.

What you’ll find is a massive gathering of HS/College (and somewhat older, such as myself) aged people who have a conviction about their lives, and who are actively trying to prepare and go out and serve and better their worlds.
-So you have people who (not) just gripe and complain about stuff, –but are going out and ‘doing’ something about it.
-This, also, is NOT some major effort to ‘prostlyetize’ and ‘indoctrinate’ (nor) spread intolerance.
It’s a genuine attempt by a group of people who are more than aware of how inneffective and alientated ‘churches’ can be in this town, –and they are completely not into that.
-They believe that (if) you claim to love Christ? You demonstrate it by going out into your community and caring for it, literally, and demonstrating that caring in practical ways.

(I’m curious, having accused the churches of the area of being dissaffected, -is Fresno’s Creative going to allow a church to actually NOT be this way and act differently? (You tell me.)

There are a lot of people there who are seriously wanting to work with and assist the homeless, the elderly, shut ins, poverty stricken areas, (you name it,) —and a lot of them want to see things go better in Fresno.

(From what I understand)
-the Store (Which you’ve decided not to step foot in,) Is there to provide affordable items of good quality to members of the community that can’t afford much.
-the proceeds go back into the community and other ‘outreach’ efforts as well.

One of those outreaches?

This may interest you.

There’s a guy that they are in the process of sending out into a country, –the guy has a serious conviction about a city in a country where there is a huge population of women who sell themselves in Prostitution,
–because there is no other work.
(Now, this is probably not as cheerful as Tom Waits ‘Merry Christmas from a Hooker..’ –but try to see past that, okay?)

He’s come up with a way to make satchel/bags from resources in that area, so what he’s doing is creating a cottage industry, where the providers of the materials (local, down there,) go to the women (local down there, no longer prostitutes,) are making the satchel/bags, –and these are then being sold in strong markets, –the money completely going back to the women and suppliers so that they have a better and healthier economic situation. Whole thing set up by somebody who is like: ‘…these folks need help, they need to be able to help themselves, lets make this happen…’

That REALLY SUCKS -huh?

By the way, the BAGS to start that effort,
(which the guy has made himself, and with friends?)
–as well as future goods made from that effort in that country? are going to be sold at the store. (Proceeds going back to that effort.)

The WHOLE STORE, btw, is being set up as an environment to be an active teaching business model, –so that those who work there (again, locals) can hone their skills, –and make their economic situations better.

The Well (from my understanding) has taken this on as a ‘volunteer effort’ (mission) to get this going.

The Well? (btw)
—is a church that is multi-campus, –and IS from ‘above Shaw’
–and is really serious about not just ‘occasionally blessing’ folks who are from ‘below shaw’ –but really being a part of trying to assist in helping the poor of Fresno, (not just say nice things about the town, and ignore them.)

Again, hit me up, I’ll send you my phone number, we can go to the services together tomorrow, if you’d like.

But what you’re boycotting here?

Is actually a (Fresno) Community based effort where the part that has usually been seen as ‘rich and dissaffected’ (which is sort of a misnomer, as a huge degree of the congregation is from all over town, and is LOADED with college kids from all the schools, most of them poor as church-mice,)
–Who CARE about their town,
and are trying to find ways to help it,
help it do better,
and help people on an individual scale, (not just a bunch of ‘ideology.’)

I dare say, that if you really check into this?
You may just have the makings of a(nother) short film about ‘good being attempted in Fresno.’

-You got my email addr., right?
Hit me up.

-Eric

rob says:

my post wasn’t a reply to your post. it was a jab at the well church who try to present themselves as young hip ex college students in touch with the local community on their website. i don’t think jesus would paint over a mural. it does not seem to be an action becoming of a christian. i mean if the well is so hip and cool why didn’t they paint their own jesus friendly mural on the wall prior?

power in the hands of the few… why are we painting over the mural… because we can.. doesn’t make fresno look very good

really hope that crew from the bay area newspaper doesn’t do a followup story… it would be classic fresno though… painted over by a church; classic.

as far as so called “name calling” goes; a spade’s a spade

Kristen says:

I haven’t been the biggest fan of the mural… It isn’t “my” style of art… But I would never in a thousand years think of trying to get it painted over. I think it is a beautiful and vibrant addition to the community. Of course some people will dislike it, hate it even. But there are plenty of other walls in Tower that are prime mural space. Let anyone paint what they want– at least be proactive about it and not destructive toward another group’s work. This is America, we are at liberty to say and do as we please to express our opinions and beliefs, but that also means we need to be tolerant and understanding of others and their ideals which may oppose our own.

JonC226 says:

This thread is completely disheartening. The expressed statement that the “Public” has to like public art is completely untrue. Who exactly is the “Public”? Should it be the few homeowners across from it? What if these homeowners loved it and everyone else hated it? who’s opinion outweighs whose? Many installations across the world have been met with initial reservation, only to grow into a later appreciation of the work. Case in point -the Picasso sculpture in Chicago’s Daley Plaza was soundly derided and now 40 yrs later has become an iconic work. Anthony Calder’s La Grande Vitesse was condemned as a “monstrosity” and now adorns all of Grand Rapids City signage, letterhead and logo. There are numerous others just like this. The presumption that seems to be a throughline in many of these cases is that over time controversial works find their audience. When artists seek to challenge perception, status quo or even conventional taste the initial arguments are often negative as the audience digests and contemplates the work. The test of time provides a mellowing of knee-jerk reaction and a fuller understanding of the aesthetic — and then ultimately the”Public” can render judgement as to whether to embrace, resign itself to the work or continue to revile it.

It is unfortunate that the Artists will not be able to fully realize their vision so that it can be judged accordingly when complete.

As for the mural, depending upon the arrangement with the artists and the building owners, this work may be afforded protection under the Visual Artists Rights Act and the California Art Preservation Act which provide certain moral rights to artist created works of visual art (such as murals) to prevent mutilation, defacement and destruction. Unless the building owner specifically carved out the right to modify, distort, remove, replace etc. then the artists may be entitled to injunctive relief to prevent removal or damages if it is removed without their permission.

Brian Beamer says:

Let them paint, freedom of expression. It’s that simple. It’s horrible how artists can’t express them selves freely in Fresno. The officials here are so closed minded. If there is is a wall to paint on, and there is permission from the owners, let them paint! They shouldn’t need a permit to paint, that’s just the city trying regulate and generate funds in area where they have no business being. Whether it be graffiti art, or some abstract art, it’s still art, and it doesn’t hurt anyone.

If artwork can be removed because they offend people, then I want all the alcoholic beverage signs taken down. That’s an even worse scenari0 (but it’s okay because money is involved, yea right.) I would rather not have my kids look at that crap, along with sexually suggestive advertisements.

Donavan Byrn says:

It’s sad and disappointing that this mural is going to be painted over not because it is good (and once finished would have been better) but because of the precedent we’re setting. Don’t like something because it is different than what we’re used to or it falls outside of our narrow box of experience just get rid of it. This is the same creativity killing mindset that has kept Fresno in it’s current state for decades now.

The artists that worked on this mural are the same artists that have produced some of the best (national and world class) murals we have in this city. These artists have not only worked in Fresno but across the state, country and planet. They are from the same cohort of local talent that has enjoyed major success in San Francisco, Portland, Tokyo and Berlin. This group is pushing the boundaries of the traditional mural and growing their talent at the same time. All for the benefit of Fresno. We are fortunate to have them and I hope this experience does not push them to live elsewhere.

ed says:

I am a Tower district homeowner. While the mural was in it’s early stages, I didn’t like it, but I realized it was unfinished. As it nears completion, I really appreciate the mural in all its elements.

Over the last two days I have stopped by the mural. There has literally been hundreds of people stopping by to support the muralists. These are Tower residents and people that patronize the businesses of the Tower. While I do not want to roll over the vocal minority that doesn’t like the mural, I think that these hundreds of voices of support should be heard.

tyrone biggums says:

dont quit your day job, youre ugly.

Meg says:

I’m a little disappointed to see the decision to paint over the mural labeled as “fascist.” I think that the people at Neighborhood Thrift are really trying to do the right thing here and they should be recognized for not only that, but for agreeing to host/house the mural to begin with. I appreciate Eric Field’s insight into NT as well as The Well.

Suzanne Bertz-Rosa says:

So, I’ve educated myself a bit about Neighborhood Thrift and their goals for the neighborhood. There goals are solid: (1) Promote an atmosphere of community, and (2) help people succeed economically by hiring people from neighborhoods and by providing affordable goods. Currently they employ 20 people in neighborhood and have partnership with ITT to provide training programs.

I did come late to the game and made some assumptions. I’ve learned since then that Neighborhood Thrift just wants to be a good neighbor. Like the artists, they just want to create a stronger community.

Was the process ideal? Not so much. But we’re past that now. We can’t go back and do that differently. But we do have lessons learned for next time. Now, it’s about communication, outreach, and working through the issues.

I’m thrilled at the willingness of Neighborhood Thrift and the artist to work together and with neighbors. This collaboration can only to make the community stronger.

The true test of character is not during the easy times, but how you work through disagreements. I think the dialogue has started, and with hope, patience, and some compromise, the community can work together and be stronger for it.

I applaud the efforts of all involved.

fresnobraindrain says:

Keep the pressure going Fresno. We do care about breathing new life into this city. Write to the church, councilman, media, and tell your friends and family to visit the mural and pick some bargains at the store.

Miguel Cervantes says:

Offended? No. Do I think it is butt-ugly horse puckey called “art.” Yes.

It isn’t my building, so let the owner decide. In this case, because it is in the “Tower District” and because the owner is part of the Church Emergent (Change the Gospel to whatever is must be to attract members), the owners will get gut cramps trying to please everyone and offend nobody.

Actually this sort of societal upheaval is hilarious and far better entertainment than TV. Hey, maybe it will save newsprint!

I’m working on getting a federal grant to express the frustration of gay men trying to be break through cultural barriers–it will be a giant plexiglass box car traveling by train from city to city. Inside with be a dozen or more nude men smeared in red gel and paint, jumping and splaying themselves against the sides, only to slide down in frustration. Now THAT’S art. Don’t you agree?

eric field says:

-I’ll still save a seat for you and the Mr. any time.
–and the offer isn’t open to only you, anyone from MindHub, FresFamous, any group I’ve been a part of? -consider this an open inventation… (and it’s not even ‘my’ church, I’m an Epscopalian, these guys are a bit more on the Baptistish side,(that means we don’t necessarily have the same stances on everything, but this is a sincere group that is about one thing, being made more into the image and actions of Christ through (pretty excellent) worship, straightforward Bible Study, and honestly tryng to demonstrate ‘love,’ in practical and accessable ways… stuff a Church should do… they’re doing it…
(believe me, as harsh as I can be on churches? I’d not endorse this if it was not worth doing so, you’ve read my stuff on MindHub and here as WetTowel, These people are okay. )

-I’m seeing something really cool, really genunine, and a lot of heart being poured out, just trying to find ways to genuninely bless this city, –almost all of it coming from kids who are so sincere, it’s quite moving, actually.

I’m glad you see the place differently.
And, as a fyi?
The sunday night study is on Nehemiah, the ultimate ‘boomerang.’ ;)

Here’s to people settling down, thinking stuff out, and really tryng to make a difference.

-e

eric field says:

(Miguel)

I’ve been attending services at the Well (North Campus) on and off for the past couple of years, (most in the past few months.)

I have never heard any referencing whatsoever to the ‘Emergent’ or ‘Emerging’ church movement, (and Emerging/Emergent churches aren’t shy about being such.)

In fact, the pastors (though young) seem to come from some pretty mainline and solid seminaries (such as Dallas Theological, etc,) and practice a very simple form of Bible Study called ‘exogetical/expository’
-In basic terms?
They just go through various books of the Bible, verse by verse read it and ‘break them down’
-with cross referencing of other pertainant verses, as well as understanding the sociological/historical settings of the books studied.
–All the while, seeing how it applies today.
(Its pretty straight-forward stuff.)

(It may sound stuffy, but actually, it’s not at all so, the pastors are quite good, and it’s cool.)

I’ve seen various pastors, each with their own style of understanding and relating, –but the main focal point IS ‘just the Bible’
(I’m not sure which version they use, could be NIV, could be RSV, -don’t know.)

It is quite faithful to the Scriptures, is highly relevant, and has (at least on Sunday Evenings) at least two services that are packed (800 seats full) primarily of college aged (some older, some younger) people from all over the area.

But, again, they’ve made NO references whatsoever to the Emerging/Emergent movement, nor any of the Emerging/Emergent pastors or founders whatsoever. (I know what these are, as I was initially raised in a ‘pilot church’ along with one of the Emergent leaders, (Brian McClaren.)

jp says:

This is the longest thread I’ve seen on any blog in a really long time. The length of this thread speaks well of Fresno. Even the non-supportive posts make a positive statement by emotional involvement.

There is a phrase: beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Similar to music with each of us having a choice of what we like to hear, it is the involvement in dialog that bodes well for this community.

Thanks to all involved. It is great to see such strong support for the community of artists. And even the non-supportive posts articulated themselves well in what they represent.

corie says:

I live and work in the tower district. i love the mural. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Keep painting boring graffitied walls, I won’t complain.

JonC226 says:

So glad it doesn’t offend you Miguel. We were all worried for a second.

Now your post on the other hand… that’s offensive. You manage to slam the artwork as ugly, disparage the Church Emergent, deride TV, insult the federal grant process, make the gay community part of a pathetic attempt at humor and portray artists as generally out of touch with community. Wow pretty good for a day’s work. Oh I get it – it was sarcasm right? No homo dude.

Well here’s one right back at ya – When most people would just want to hurl insults, I’m so glad we have thoughtful engaged citizens like Miguel who add to the level of discussion through respectful contemplative thought on matters that affect community, involvement and neighborhood.

Hank Delcore says:

I’m a Tower resident who was out of town for this whole thing — though I followed it here (yeah! for the Bee). I got into town last night and went to look. If you haven’t gone yet, do (Olive and Wilson). I stood there with a friend and talked about what we were seeing. We barely scratched the surface. I can’t see myself walking up Olive in the near future without pausing to consider that mural some more.

That this sparked so much excitement here and on the street is cool, but the sheer amount of ugliness and flat-out bigotry in this thread is daunting. Props to the cooler heads here who responded to insult and bigotry with civility and reason. For that, and for the mural that is still there, there’s hope!

joan says:

instead of sitting around reading this you should get down to the court house and do something about the only thing in this thread that is more stupid than this ugly mural-your name! tyrone biggums???

Ramiro says:

I think what Stephen means is that he would not like public art to be so public. Isn’t that considered Oxymoronic

Mitch says:

Its not bothering no one so whats the big deal? If someone says that offends them then they must have a serious problem. Because alot of the things I see up in the city offend me but im not gonna go make a big deal about it. and besides it doesnt make the wall look boring.

Meg says:

I think this is the most important part of the whole thing.
“However, it seems the artist did not show the neighbors respect by at least telling them that they were going to paint a mural and tell them what to expect. They should have at least talked to the few homes that have a view of the mural from their front yard.”
This is an excellent point. Is it fair to “challenge residents” who aren’t expecting it?

Tower or not, Fresno is not San Francisco. Tower might be fairly liberal for Fresno but saying that this wouldn’t happen in another city is true but means nothing. Saying that artists have done crazier things in other cities is true but means nothing. Fresno is a conservative city because its residents are conservative. Telling people who don’t like the mural because they are conservative to move north of Shaw is like telling the majority of Fresno residents to conform to the “art club” minority.

I haven’t lived here that long (moved here from the east coast). I moved to the Vagabond, I tried attending ArtHop etc., but I found the art community to be small and insular. Perhaps the communication that didn’t originally happen between the artists and the residential community is the primary sticking-point. Is it really fair to “challenge” people, in their own homes, who don’t care to be challenged?

I am a fan of debate and discussion that exists within the realm of a commitment to be constructive. Many of the comments I’ve read today make me frown. How would this conversation sound if the parties involved made a mutual commitment to be constructive instead of destructive. I do not live in a rainbow and sunflower world. I do know a thing or two about collaboration.

Here’s what I think happened…

Somebody (or bodies) saw the mural and had a negative response. The next natural step was to find the person responsible (to blame them).

Look at the mural, stop, and say to yourself, “I’m confused.” It is actually very freeing. “I’m confused” means that somewhere there is a gap between expectations and reality. You are not jumping to quickly to affix blame or attack a person, you are simply admitting that you are confused.

We live in a society where people don’t like to be confused (it’s easier to blame people…it maintains our “rightness” and “smartness”).

I do not think the artist woke up, held a meeting, and devised a plan to paint something ugly, offensive, or controversial. If they did, then I am also confused.

What I am most confused about is the gap I see between my expectations and the reality presented. I’m confused because I thought we were more enlightened and could have grown up conversations.

Let the conversation continue with a commitment to being constructive.
Let the conversation actually move us forward.

pk says:

Miguel’s response was to the title post:
“Does this mural offend you” The question was asked, and he posited a response….
Your snark was misplaced as it WAS the question that was asked, and many responded,
Reading before replying is appreciated….

scharton says:

You know, the folks who bag on Fresno over this controversy ought to do a little resaerch. I found mural controversies from L.A. to NYC.

Maybe having a mural controversy means we are a big city?

Craig

MsJoey says:

That wasnt very nice.

Josh wigger says:

It’s true, most large cities have gone through this, it is a “growing pain” if you will.

naomi says:

cheers to the man with a voice, we need more of you in this town.

Tom says:

Fresno, lighten up. This isn’t about artistic freedom, it’s about an incredibly ugly mural painted by talentless artists. Paint it over and be done with it.

Randy Bos says:

I was born and raised in Fresno, and for some time in the Tower district. The Tower district was always been the best part of Fresno in fact the only part Fresno that I truly enjoy. Now I see this mural all over the Fresno Bee and it makes me think of how narrow minded the people of Fresno are over this mural. The Tower district was like a small town to itself where the people weren’t like were more frindley and took life in a little more laid back attitude. I don’t care for the mural itself, but I do belive in the right of the artist right to paint it with the owner permisson. Frankly I can hardly wait till my next trip to Fresno so that I can veiw this controversy.

Rose says:

Why don’t you just leave? Obviously people like you are the problem.

Rose says:

I sincerely hope that your child grows in compassion and intelligence which surpasses your own. If he/she has not already.

Rose says:

So, what if it was an athiest who was in charge and they decided to paint over it because people got offended? What would you say then?

Rob, spare yourself the embarassment and JUST STOP COMMENTING.

Rose says:

Tee hee!

hdcruzier says:

I love seeing all this discussion over this painting. It shows there really is some intellectual beings in Fresno. Whether u c it good or bad, I for 1 am glad it has stimulated something here besides a bowl movement!!!!(lol)

Anne Whitehurst says:

The more detractors of this project protest, the more “ink” the artists get. Good.

Michael Birdsong says:

I don’t think this controversy would have grown to such proportions in places like Dan Diego or Palo Alto. Most communities that have alot of art which is clearly intented for public consumption (even though its placed on private property), have learned that it’s best to have a clearly defined process for communicating with the neighborhood in which the art is displayed. In this case, I think the biggest impact is on the residents of the 3-4 houses which sit across from this mural and for which this mural has become a permanent part of their landscape. It’s both huge and unavoidable. The mural does not front onto a commercial street, but rather onto a residential neighborhood. For this reason alone the neighbors ought to have been at least consulted. And,yes, Fresno and Fresno artists do need to create a policy re: the display of art in public places.

Josh wigger says:

Tom please take your own advise and try to understand that you are not the one who gauges “talent” and “aesthetics” for all. Give me a good reason to paint over it besides “it’s ugly” and then maybe we could get a legitimate argument for it’s removal, until then don’t look at it and stay away from it.

Josh wigger says:

Thanks to Dave this has gone national. HooRay for the opposition for catapulting this to an (in the works) International documentary. Intellectualize that and digest it.

Kelly says:

It’s offensive and horrific… I would move before I had to look at that everyday. When I have to drive by it, I cringe …

Paco says:

Then, MOVE!!!

agman says:

Too bad that a simple mural has caused so much feedback/interest…If we were talking about water and the starving workers on the west side…all would be quiet…What’s real anymore?

silinda says:

The Tower District is a beautiful place it give u a feeling of peace in your heart its like walking in a place of happiness .The artists is great and art is how u see it.My opinion But this art don’t belong in the Tower District We need something with sadness and Happiness and something that make u smile life comes with Happiness and Sadness and Hope and Dreams Peace THIS art is from Stephen King movie .But art is how u see it

Ramiro says:

This reply is to everyone. The position that the artists should have asked first what the neighbors think is like saying “Please sir can I have some more gruel.” First of all ti was run by the manager and the guy above that. There were no problems with that. It was only until the first three images went up that complaints started coming in. If you remember they were very stark and early on in the creation of this mural. Later they were worked and had reason to be there. It just so happens that not everyone is on the same page so we got flak. And not just constructive criticism, but very mean spirited and basically not true criticism. I was informed that one of the artist was racially slurred upon and was told that it was not appropriate to have mexicans on a mural. I have looked at the mural countless times and do not see a dark, evil, or anti religious quality in it. I see a nation that has taken advantage of its people, banks spiraling out of control, a wall street that affects the valley undesirably, and the over consumption of resources and water. I see issues that are relevant to the valley, whether we like them or not, human issues that art has always had a bead on. Why conform to a static interpretation of these things by “seeing what the neighbors think”. The few neighbors will never think its right. But thats not their fault, it is a sad educational system that perpetuates apathy and ignorance of the arts that allows this to happen. It is not the artist fault that things look grim, it is the state of the world we are in. Yeah, maybe we live in a first world and don’t have to be like others in the world, but how much do we have to waste in order to keep that illusion going. How many barrels of oil do we have to suck out of the earth? How much water is needed to keep our voracious appetite satiated. This is not a matter of public art. It is a matter of looking in the mirror. I spoke with every artist on the team and what I get is that they want to say something that reflects our time here. We’re not trying to sell cars here, we are trying to address the public, to in a way engage the people to think about what is going on. Even if it is fantastical, we are all still here, and whether it be a dream or not we all have the right to be informed of the disasters and harmonies. Art brings to the table the culinary color and flavors of life. It should not be even compared to what taggers do, or what neighbors think. I sympathize with the neighbors, but sometimes you gotta just bend a little for the arts because it’s a battle already for the imagination and soon, we wont even have that, because corporate america will have us all churning out our lives in powder blue homes and costco tissues with crushed velvet barstools sitting trying to remember how we got into a position where we cant say anything to the establishment, not even complain that we can’t think of anything without the consensus of the herd. In my opinion, there should be more done, Fresno needs to wake up to a more integrated and useful world. This is the beginning, and you never stop painting in the beginning. That is where all the ideas are at and they need to be played out immediately.

Your neighborhood artist – Ramiro

lisa monteiro says:

I think it is beautiful and it is amazing that it was a project born of love of art and trying to make the tower an even more special place! kudos guys! Keep it up!