Silver Lake Art Wall attracts unwanted attention

Micheltorena Art Wall being rebuilt. Photo Courtesy Meg Nordstrom

About two months ago Meg Nordstrom of Silver Lake began clipping kids drawings to the fence in front of her Micheltorena Street bungalow and invited neighbors to contribute drawings to the open-air gallery. The idea of the Art Wall was to encourage “positive expression” and bring neighbors together, said Nordstrom, a 28-year-old art teacher who is now raising a two-year-old son. The Art Wall near Micheltorena Street Elementary seemed to be working, attracting new drawings and contributions of supplies, from crayons to printer paper, that were free to anyone who needed them. “The neighbors started meeting each other,” said Nordstrom. “It was really nice.”

Then, on Monday morning, things were not so nice.

Nordstrom’s husband, Carl, discovered that about 50 drawings that had hung from wires attached to the fence had been removed and replaced by pornographic images covered with gang tattoos. The art supplies, including water color kits, were gone, too. “People are trying to make positive changes in their community” and then they are “met with resistance like this,” said Carl Nordstrom, a 31-year-old physician.

Meg Nordstrom said she had initially expected some of the drawings to be stolen or vandalized. In fact, she had been taking down the Art Wall drawings in the evenings for safe keeping but eventually just left them on permanent display since there had been no problems until this weekend. The couple called the police to report the vandalism. The officers said there was little they could do but try to patrol the street more frequently.

The Nordstroms, meanwhile, have not given up on the Art Wall. On Monday afternoon, the couple put up a sign informing the neighbors of what had happened and once again asked for drawings to be added to fill the now empty Art Wall. It was sign they would not give in to the vandals. “We won’t let that type of action stand here,” said Carl Nordstrom.

Silver Lake Art Wall in late July. Photo courtesy Meg Nordstrom


  1. This is a good example of why I’m completely over living in any metropolitan city. It’s just not worth it anymore.

  2. I feel bad for these ppl.
    they used to have this turtle outside warning to slow down and someone stole that as well. All that remains is the heavy chain attached to the tree.

  3. lapd needs more cameras, just not reasonable to cover problem areas any other way.

    • Indeed, cameras could reduce a lot of crime and vandalism. Webcams would be best. There are a lot of people with nothing better to do than listen to police scanners. These people would probably enjoy watching neighborhood webcams just as much. If a webcam were installed in the pedestrian underpass on Sunset by Micheltorena that underpass could be reopened.

  4. It wasn’t “stolen” it was tossed in the garbage. Someone thought it was garbage and threw it away. Sorry, maybe you should put your “art” in a gallery or at least in your house…

    • It’s obvious it wasn’t garbage. Anyone with 1/4 of a brain could have guessed that.

    • Is that a confession, Beanteam?

    • If someone thought it was trash, they wouldn’t have replaced it with porn and gang tattoos.

      • All of you, a bunch of turncoats. You put “art” in a public space and then cry when someone else performs their version of art in the same spot.

        What makes your art so special?

    • i really need to stop reading the comments in the eastsider. such mean spirited replies; really can’t understand how someone could have anything negative to say about this art project. I don’t understand why someone would tear down children’s artwork in the first place and replace it with porn; seriously, that is a new low in anti-social behavior. but then for some douchebag on a forum to pipe in as if the children deserved it: another milestone in just how weak human character can be.

      • I know. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, invariably the count down begins. To that dull thud moment after the usual suspects have sat back, just waiting to suck the thread dry with negativity and counter productive banter. It kind of makes me suspicious of my neighbors, who ARE you people and how is we can coexist in the same geographic sphere?
        I chose EP back in the day out of a sincere love and intrigue and general sense of camaraderie to the others drawn here. But now, if we are to judge our neighborhood by these knuckleheads’ commentary (and I do) .. it’s a bitter pill to swallow. And makes me very sad.
        Nasty comments do not make you edgy. They make you an asshole.

        • i’ve gone there before, but it’s not the case. for every beanteam there are a hundred nice, decent people. the internet draws all the worst out of people at times.

      • I feel the same way as michael and ep girl. and michael, you’re right: For every rabbling, negative comment one of our neighbors has the nerve to post, there are hundreds of other caring, community-minded people who are proud to live here. I’m reminded of that every time I take a walk around the neighborhood!

  5. Only a philistine would consider it “tossed in the garbage.”

    It was removed as part of my conceptual art exhibition about vanishing funding for art and the emptiness of human existence. The new negative space created by the art expresses the chasm inside us all which only art can fill.

    I shall now be applying for an NEA grant to fund my removal of the replacement art as well.

  6. Maybe its someone that hates kids and the world-

    Beanteam put it back!

  7. Unfortunate, but not surprising. I saw the “art” daily driving past and wondered how long it would last. Cutesy childlike hipsterism meets ugly urban reality. At least it wasn’t a mugging with a gun in their face, which has been known to happen on that stretch of Micheltorena, which is one of the few places left in SL north of Sunset that has stubbornly maintained it’s, well let’s call it “gritty” vibe.

  8. Is there any restriction to non residents contributing? And if not, is there a P.O.box?

  9. @Alex X = cutesy callous hipsterism meets pathetic internet troll virginity

  10. You thought it was cute to put your kids art out in public and someone else thought it be cute to replace it with porn. Hate to break it to ya but maybe not everyone loved your public art, get over it. Any artwork left out in the public is subject to vandalism, it doesn’t matter if you’re a famous artist or some kid. It happens all over the world not just your neighborhood.

    • I do feel for them for their stolen art supplies and all, but have to admit I do find the porn replacement to be a little amusing. And all the “can’t believe the negative commentary…” peeps need to settle down and realize we all have the freedom to express our opinions on this blog. (whether you agree or not)

  11. It is cheep but fair to question the character of people who leave negative comments supporting something as douchey as this act is. Just as cheep as being a troll. But not a fing stupid as calling everything that makes you shake your small minded little brain around “hipster”. Just fing get over it, you loose. you hate and have nothing else. So people having fun, meeting neighbors are just “soopid hipsters” to you. Get of the blog and go watch real housewives. Ugh being a looser does mot mean you can not be cleaver too, you just loose at all aspects of life. Read some Balzac and come up with an insult that is fing original.

  12. THIS ARTICLE SHOULD BE RENAMED: “A Silver Lake Family’s Art Wall Attracts Unwanted Sexual Harassment and Criminal Behavior”.

    I can’t help but read these comments and chime in here. People, a plethora of criminal and hateful acts were committed against this family. I wonder if these drawing were done to the couples car, or if their expensive landscaping was ripped apart, or even if they had an “Obama/ Biden ‘12” garden sign covered in rated X drawings… if all you smug yuppies would have a different song to sing? What if this Mothers two year old kid made a construction-paper nativity scene for Christmas, and it had been displayed on their front door as decoration, and then in the darkness of night, gangsters snuck onto the couples property and drew pornographic images on the construction-paper baby Jesus… What then? Would these same neighbors and Internet trolls observe the same apathy?

    For me, “Art” is like holding a religious belief. I ask you all to respect this, and not hate on me for my beliefs. My beliefs happen to be that a gallery, (whether marble-walled or in someone’s front yard) is a sacred space, not unlike how the members of a Sheikh temple must feel, and I assure you all, that even though I’m not Sheikh, if a temple in my neighborhood was vandalized, or subjected to sexual debasement, I wouldn’t tell those same members of said temple “I told you so”, or even worse, “that was bound to happen”.

    Art bigots GO BIG OR GO HOME and make love to your wife or husband or whomever else (or whatever else) you deem worthy of giving your heart to.

    You “Art Stormtroopers” make me so sick I’m drowning in my own puke. It’s no wonder the youth of today (and some adults) are wielding guns to express themselves instead of paint brushes…

  13. I like porn. Team vandals!

  14. As the great Artie Lange would say. Waaah!

  15. I think that this a simple matter of good vs. evil–You have someone who is a parent/artist/teacher–a CONTRIBUTING member of the community who is…CONTRIBUTING something, and then you have an evil slug of a loser who is so dead inside, that the only way they can feel something is by ruining what others have created. Oh yeah, porn with gang tattoos…SO FUNNY! And all you slug defenders on this thread? You really should re-examine your stance.

  16. Sigh. You’re just not getting the point. Public art is public art. And everyone has a right to their opinion of it. Without name calling please. Is calling people slugs and trolls and all that how mature people discuss their differences?

    Besides stealing the art supplies (which is super lame) it sounds like the evil-doers just replaced the children’s art with their porny-gangy art, right? What other horrible offenses am I missing?

  17. Oh and for the record, I love you BEANTEAM!

  18. @lisal:
    So…stealing art supplies is “super lame”, but people “replacing” (read:stealing) children’s art is acceptable to you because you see it as some sort of commentary within the sphere of public art? Yes, everyone has a right to their opinion of public art. This was theft and vandalism. Defending this act as an opinion of/reaction to public art while calling for no name calling of these perpetrators exhibits a completely skewed sense of judgment. It seems that YOU are not getting the point.

  19. charles herman-wurmfeld

    everybody involved might be interested in the work of CITYREPAIR. check it out here :


    something like this for these four corners on micheltorena would be an awesome response to the art making in the area and an opportunity to bring folks together through forward action in the analogue domain. this kind of work also slows speeding cars headed down hill towards a school zone.

  20. What these people consider “positive changes” are another annoying reminder to those who have lived in this neighborhood for years of how Silver Lake has lost its soul. Just because real estate is totally overpriced doesn’t mean Silver Lake is safe. A public street is not a classroom. They should quit acting like they’re doing everyone a favor by being here. They only reason they are here is they think it’s cool and they can afford it. It was cool because generations of really interesting people made it that way. Not because of them.

    • BJ- that’s exactly how I feel, though I couldn’t have explained it as well as you did. I lived in Silver Lake for over 15 years and moved to Highland Park around 1998. Silver Lake is just as beautiful as ever, but the element of smug, solopsistic hipsterism makes the place feel claustrophobic to me.

  21. As a neighbor on Micheltorena, I’ve thought the public “art” display was out of place… No one trespassed to do this, the placement on the sidewalk bushes, encouraged both kids and adults to interact with this “temporary” display…in different ways. I remember seeing the porn several weeks ago, and frankly thought it was a quirky and fun response to the sterility transforming the neighborhood. The art was hung on a string and would have been ruined by morning dew anyway; it was not meant to be, and should not have been permanent… While this is not an act I would have done, i did see the “art” in the “vandals” work…. It said something just as loud about the changes occurring in the neighborhood as the kids art did… I have no problem with gentrification or the number of apartments being filled with privileged USC kids paying $2500 for a 1 bedroom, but given the number of poor families that still live on that block in rent controlled buildings, i wouldn’t be surprised if the art supplies were taken by a parent or kid, and not by the vandal…

  22. A lot of garbage tends to be someone’s expression, much like the comments here.

    Funny about what Rick said above about some “poor” parent or kid taking the supplies, I just thought it was some glow in the dark transplant, hipster kid that has infested Silverlake and east Hollywood. I think i saw someone drawing with the stuff at the coffeeshop down the street.

    artisart is artisart

  23. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck….Echo Park and Silverlake are first and foremost…ghettos. I have lived here for many, many years. Not very much has changed. The cultures have diversified. But the general feel is and has been…to pee in ones’ own pool is OK. Unfortunately the newbies get hit with culture shock at escalating property prices. Tagging and vandalism suck….so how would you realistically deal with it?

  24. I bet someone’s making some money with that art.Hello we r in Silver Lake lots of thieves n haters not to mention outsiders.Obviously someone thought the art pieces were worth something they took it .How life would b if there was peace ,friendship,n careness n respect within the community .God help these people .

  25. Just confirmed the materials n supply’s were taken by a nearby resident who did not want any vandalism on his property with those supplies.Wut a jerk ,he’s been living there for over 3 yrs.I believe it goes “if ur scared go to church”..he might as well live in church…Together we can b one,n one can do n b a lot.Love Worldwide..

  26. In era when all the schools cut back on art,a localresident opens up her own yard so local kids can enjoy and develop themselves creatively via paper,crayons & paint.It’s clearly a superior recreational tool compared to watching TV , or dickin’ around obliviously on some attention reducing software device filled with rare earth metals, plastic,& built in obsolescence,by derelect chaebols, and St.Steve the iProfit. Of course The Silver Lake Killjoy Society had to express their own edgy-as-a rusted butter knife artistic ambitions. Their art needed more gallery space, so they pushed out all their younger and still developing competition. Because pictures of naughty bits covered in cheesy, trite little skin stains, are simply so rare a sight these days.

  27. here’s the thing…kids make art faster than they can fill diapers, and some killjoy tearing down their pictures is not going to stop them. ask them in two years about this episode and they won’t even remember. the dipsh*t or dipsh*ts who replaced the children’s art are just angry people who probably snickered their asses off as they ran into the night. either iteration of this roadside gallery was an eyesore, and bait for haters.

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