Echo Park mural draws political tagging*

Photo by Forrest

The bumpy cinderblock wall of the Muñeca Beauty Salon at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Douglas Street in Echo Park has been turned into a canvas in recent days by a young artist named Forrest.  But apparently not everyone is a fan of the bright yellow and white mural. Earlier this week, the mural got hit with some anti-gentrification tagging that said:

Development = gentrification=displacement of the poor=economic violence

Echo Park resident Ted Dorsey, who took the photo above, spoke with the artist on Wednesday afternoon after he had cleaned off the tagging.  Said Dorsey:

I drove back by this afternoon to find that Forrest had repaired the damage and responded by inviting a conversation with whomever wanted to talk. I thought that was just such a mature response to an asinine provocation. As Forrest said to me, “I’m glad to have a conversation, but writing on my artwork isn’t the right forum.”

If you want to get a hold of Forrest, just look for  his email he painted on the wall.

Photo by Ted Dorsey

* Update: Forrest will have more cleaning to do.  New tagging appeared on the mural this morning.


  1. Echo Park was a middle to upper middle class neighborhood with a significant population of artists pre-postwar white flight. So if anything it’s the natural route of the cycle. Everything eventually comes back around. Echo Park was pretty much the epicenter of the LA film industry in the silent era before studios started building up Hollywood. This neighborhood has a long history before just the 60’s. I’m sick of hearing of gentrification. Yes, it’s horrible to be priced out of a neighborhood. I’ve been dealing with it for twenty years. But at the end of the day it’s life, it’s history. Open a book. I would’ve been priced out of EP myself by now but luckily I have a genuine human being as a landlord.


    • …And before Charlie Chaplin, and the Three Stooges was a man named
      Julian Chavez. Let us all be real and learn how to respect eachother.

      • At least it’s in English. Usually tags are illegible. Not a banger for sure. Certainly a colossal douche for ruining Forrest’s mural (twice).

        • Wrong Again Clueless. Taggers aren’t “bangers” and bangers don’t “tag”. Moreover, gang grafitti is conspicuously legible as opposed to the creative(?) scribbles and squiggles of taggers. This is an example of protest grafitti like the stuff that is rampant in parts of Europe where they don’t even bother to cover it up. Education: 2. Clueless Ignorance: 0.

          • Yes, I will concede that I am not educated in the fine art of tagging versus gang scribbles. I’m sure it takes many years to master the art. So woohoo you got me there! You should be so proud of yourself with this very valuable and marketable skill!

            An expert in urban blight! But when it comes to basic understanding of the English language, not so much. Ever figure out that “intimated” is a word you tard? How embarrassing! Speaking of ignorance! HAHAHA I would have at least changed my moniker after that one.

          • Butt-hurt much, Clueless? Btw, grafitti is a part of urban L.A. history and any kid who was raised in N.E.L.A. is able to distinguish between the work of taggers, bangers, and hipsters. Besides, YOU’re the one whose glibly tossing around the term “banger” like your some hip native, albeit, completely out of context, which distinguishes you as a nerdy and square outsider not actual native. You might consider reading twice as much as you post. You may learn something that will support your profile as a know-it-all rather than expose you as Clueless.

          • Yeah but still. Intimated is a word! Dummy!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

          • Mr. procopio, please stop sullying the moniker of “Clueless” by calling Keyless Chuck clueless. I am Clueless, not Keyless Chuck. Thank you. Apology accepted.

      • Chavez wasn’t even from Los Angeles, let alone California. He didn’t even live in the Chavez Revine. He came to LA from New Mexico, bought some land and built it up. EXACTLY what people are doing now.

        • O” kay, maybe Chavez did migrate from wherever, but your claim was that “you were not the first ones here”. I say neither were you! And I am not condoning the defacing of ones mural, or justifying any behavior. But, I do believe the one who did the graffiti made his point. When someone did a little graffiti art by Silver Lake about a couple of weeks ago on a foundation, it was oh why he defaces propery and all the above. Now another artist gets permission from a store owner and now it is art! Self righteous, double standards, call it it what you will. Also, before someone else corrects my grammar please correct all the above!http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pueblo_de_Los_Angeles
          This is before Chaves migrated to Los Angeles, should I go further. In some eyes this is also the same region as New Mexico, by far closer than Jupiter!

          • There’s no double standard, goofball. One of the definitions of vandalism/ graffiti, is that it is done on property without the property owner’s consent.

            Forest’s painting was done with the property owner’s consent. Depending on local building codes, etc.. a mural may or may not be legal, but the fact it was done with consent makes it not vandalism.

          • Carl the Cro Magnon

            Arghh Arghh urghh! Carl Cro Magnon here first!!!!
            Stoopid hipsters and panaderias displace Carl’s firepit and drive up price of cave!

    • Big Props to you Scholaris. Self-righteousness strikes-out again. On the mound: Education.

      • Education would tell you that Chavez was just an out of towner who came in and bought some land to build up. Sounds familiar.

        • and and and before that there was other people and then and then there was different people but before that there was other people and then before that there was…ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz…… man you guys are boring.

  2. I’ve always enjoyed my economic violence with a side of pretty yellow murals, so, screw you, tagger!!!

  3. echo park doesn’t owe anybody a living.

    • Just a little respect, because if you don’t give respect you are not gonna get respect. No one here is asking for a free meal ticket, so don’t get it twisted!

      • Just a little respect … for talentless dumb jealous taggers.

        • Talentless? Hardly. Every artist out there wants to provoke a response. THIS guy got it, as opposed to the yellow mural he wrote over. So, which one is talentless?

          Which isn’t to say anything about the propriety of defacing someone else’s art, but you certainly can’t say this guy is talentless. Guerrilla writing can be some of the most evocative out there.

          • If I tell you to F** OFF! and it makes you mad, does not mean I have talent.


            F** OFF!
            (he he)

          • Yeah- evocative” of talentless jealous stupidity.

            This loser defaced that mural because it is what he ain’t:

          • Nic – the guy got a response because he’s an asshole and ruined someone elses work. The same way someone would get a response if you smashed a windshield of a car. It makes a statement, is visible, it’s done without the owners consent, and it damages their property. Getting noticed doesn’t mean talent (look at all the Kardashians as an example of that) it just means you did something to get noticed.

  4. Seems misdirected… unless maybe the muralist is actually developer by day?

    • That’s my issue too. Why is this mural evidence of gentrification? The artist is not getting paid. He’s painting it by permission on the side of an established, local business. There is a difficult conversation to have about the rapidly changing economic profile of Echo Park. Why should it start on a young artist’s work?

  5. Oh you guys. Listen, if a landlord decides to charge too much (yes, it was too much) for a studio apartment in a not-so-quaint area of a neighborhood on a busy, noisy street “because I can”, there exists a problem. Sure, you could say that no one owes anyone anything, but you are wrong. Community, eh?

    • I’m not sure what defines “too much”. If people are willing to pay such a high price for such a low-quality housing unit, then that suggests that there aren’t enough housing units of that quality or better.

      But I suppose that’s what you mean when you say “there exists a problem”.

    • Silver Lake resident

      I do not mind gentrification, although I’m anti-new development in EP/SL. (More into historic renovation and adaptive reuse….but that’s another story.)

      There is most certainly a problem when a house for rent on ALVARADO near Reservoir (across from the Vons parking lot) is charging $2550/mo and is completely open/unprotected from the noise/traffic of this major, busy street. The house is beautiful, sure — but any landlord who thinks someone will live on Alvarado for Echo Park Hills $$ is delusional.

      • Well that’s kind of the argument for development… increasing the amount of new housing in LA has the potential to bring down rents (or at least freeze them) on a lot of the older, less desirable buildings.

        Infill density seems inevitable, to me it’s more a question of where it should happen (i.e. less housing up in the hills, and more of it along transit corridors where our infrastructure can handle growth.)

        It’s just unfortunate that all the new mixed use buildings are so ugly… I agree with you, adaptive reuse is always preferable.

  6. The description of the tagging on the wall is incorrect in this story. Eastsider writes “Development = gentrification=displacement of the poor=economic =violence” If you look at the picture there is no = before violence. So it’s not that the displacement of the poor = economic = violence. Displacement of the poor actually = economic violence.

    I would have said bravo to the artist responding with his little message, but he wrote “plz” and “thx” instead of spelling out the words. Lazy texting generation.

    The difference about the white flight generation and the people being priced out of this neighborhood now is choice. The white people chose to move out, the mostly Latino population is being pushed out by higher prices they cannot afford.

    I agree that change and new cycles will always be present in this city.

  7. it goes both ways. my neighbors, who bought their houses in the late 90’s for less than 100k, can now sell those same houses for 4 – 5 times that. for many people, this gentrification is the exact opposite of economic violence. it’s the freaking lottery!

    • Enrique, I was just about to make the same point. The implicit assumption underlying many anti-gentrification arguments concerning EP is that Latinos, or any other longtime group of residents, don’t own the homes they live in. Many do, and as you’ve pointed out, for them gentrification is an economic opportunity. I acknowledge that living in transitioning neighborhoods has its drawbacks, especially for pre-existing renters and small business owners, but I just can’t get down with the “helpless poor vs. evil developers” argument. It’s an oversimplification.

      • Armando, you’re right, and there was a study conducted by scholars at Princeton a few years ago that verified this. The most economic value, in real dollars, accrues to the first wave of working class sellers, who buy into neighborhoods with no hope of appreciation. Beyond that, most resistance to gentrification usually comes from the first wave of urban pioneers, the “Hipsters”, whose arrival precipitates the first round of rent increases, and are generally more mobile in terms of their housing choices then the poorest residents.

  8. Why are we even trying to start a conversation? This tagging and most anti-gentrification folks are bored twentysomething hipsters whose views will totally change once they get into their 30’s and have children, or move back to wherever the hell they came from.

  9. Anyone who says that people are “pushed out” by rising rents is clueless. Most of the places have rent control, so nobody can be pushed out without a good reason. And I know a number of working class families that lived here for a long time and sold their houses for a good deal more than they paid for them and happily moved to places like Riverside and San Bernardino to live a suburban lifestyle.

    Instead of treating people like victims, this little tagging POS needs to treat them like human beings who make their own choices.

    Echo Park since 27.

  10. Lottery is correct!! Does anyone want to bring some of that over to Cypress Park please? I was going to start a mural soon and maybe if I’m lucky some idiot will tag something besides CP and call attention to how incredible this area is? One could dream…

  11. Forest, sorry to hear that some vermin tagger defiled your art. Kudos to you for taking the high road. It would be easy to let the rage and anger take over. We all could learn a bit from you, Forest.

    Let’s hope the tagger is caught, forced to pay restitution, and forced to do community service beautifying the neighborhood and doing graffiti abatement.

    • You sound like a confederate, go home already. You already wore out your welcome. This is not a tagger, this is one with a political expession. You don’t know your head from a whole in the ground. True Freedom for who!

      • Oh please.

        Trying to make a loser tagger in to anything more than what he is by using some sort of bogus explanation to his psuedo-expressionism is pathetic at best.

        Here, let me try.

        loser tagger + weed + 40 oz + Rage Against the Machine CD + no job = no future + living at mommy’s + spray can = wannabe “expression”.

        Look at me! I’m an artist!

        • Get off of me rock, you are sinking me loser. Aren’t you the guy that sells crack to kids?

          • Ugh.

            If you’re going to attempt to be humorous and use a past post as reference, at the very least get it right.

            I don’t sell crack to kids.

            I trade Angel Dust for oral favors to girls at Quincaneras.

            And as far as sinking like a rock, that would be you and humor.

      • True Freedom for who?
        True freedom for those of us who want to live a life free of hooligans and vermin.
        Fortunately, there are many more of us than there are of you.
        As more and more people speak up with their disgust of urban vandals, they will slowly be eradicated.

      • Your head IS a hole in the gound.

  12. It looks like and Eastsider commenter missed this website and hit that wall instead.

  13. Sounds like everyone needs a hug. *BIGSQUEEZE*

  14. …And before Charlie Chaplin, and the Three Stooges was a man named
    Julian Chavez. Let us all be real and learn how to respect eachother.

  15. Did the tagger finally take his first online political science course?

  16. Agree with “procopio”. This is intelligent protest graffiti and should be welcomed. Everything can’t be ponies and unicorns. Now someone needs to bomb that homogenous mural at Hyperion/Sunset where ironically “The People Of The Sun” were painted over.

    • Ah yes! Most brilliant idea! Everyone take to the streets with your can of krylon! See something you disagree with? Spray it!


    • Wow.

      Intelligent protest graffiti. So I’m assuming wherever it is you live, you’d welcome the use of your four outside walls (or the exterior of your cardboard box) for this type of intelligent protest graffiti? I mean, it is welcomed after all.

      So what’s your addy? The pony and unicorn set would welcome your help in accepting a big dose of intelligent protest graffiti!

    • BANKSY is intelligent protest graffiti.

      This is just depressing- it is jealous, dumb, uninspired, talentless.

      • I’d paint over anyone who defaced my wall. Banksy or whatever the douche of the moment.

        • Fair enough-
          but in case of a Banksy you’d be painting over a couple of hundred grand.

          • This Banksy is famous for being famous like a Kardashian or Paris Hilton. The couple hundred thousand value will fade away the same way the aforementioned boneheads will.

  17. Gentrification=turning shit into gold=easier on the eyes=clean streets=happiness

  18. Call tagging what it is. Vandalism. Not art. Not protest. Not expression. When someone tags over another persons art or property it is the epitome of disrespect. The tagger is simply a selfish vandal. Put yourself in the position of the property owner– how would you like to wake up to someone “expressing” themselves on your home or business? Not so fun right? The artist is putting their time and energy into making something beautiful. Businesses are putting money and time and energy to make a living for themselves and their employees, residents save up and put their time and energy into making a home for themselves and taggers come along and like dogs just piss to put their mark or get a thrill from breaking the law. The tagger brings no value to the community, nothing. Just one of the assholes of life that make it annoying for everyone else who are just trying to make a living, create a home and life for themselves. Civil protest is one thing, tagging, etching and the like is just criminal activity.

  19. It’s a bummer that this artist, whom I’ve seen at work the past few days, had his mural defaced. Unfortunately, this kind of petty garbage is to be expected. If the tagger was trying to make some kind of political statement, he could have found a more creative and less destructive way of doing it; there’s a lot of vacant wall space up and down Sunset he could have used. Was he targeting the mural as somehow a symbol of Echo Park gentrification and this was his way of protesting? If so, it’s immature, illegal and disrespectful to both the business and the artist, who were only trying to beautify a little corner of the neighborhood. From a purely aesthetic point of view, I’d much rather see the mural left untouched. Further, I applaud the business for allowing the artist to do something creative and eye-catching on the side of the building in the first place. It would be great if Echo Park had more murals and was a hub for this kind of urban expression.

  20. Longtime residents can gripe about gentrification all they want, but there needs to be a more organized response instead of just getting angry at CHANGE. Fact is there are parts of our hood that still look like a waste land and if you go south of the 101 it gets even worse. If you want to see what happens to a city that stagnates and doesn’t either get some grassroots innovation and development or welcome managed gentrification, then you end up with DETROIT. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/14/us/lessons-for-detroit-in-pontiacs-years-of-emergency-oversight.html

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