Taggers make a mess of Echo Park mural

As the City Council prepares to vote on an ordinance that would lift  a ban on murals, the vandalism of a mural near the south end of Echo Park demonstrates the many challenges facing this form of public art.

Since it was created in 1989, the rich colors and imagery of “La Ofrenda” by Yreina Cervantez have brightened up the gray and gloomy underpass where First Street crosses over Glendale Boulevard.   The 36-foot wide by 20-foot high mural, featuring a portrait of Dolores Huerta of the United Farmworkers Union, was a selected in January as a “Mural of The Week” by the Murals Conservancy of Los Angeles.   But by August, “La Ofrenda” had been nearly obscured by numerous taggers, who have spray painted and scrawled their names and initials across much of the artwork.

According to “Wall of Empowerment: Chicana/o Indigenist Murals of California,” La Ofrenda helped establish Cervantes as a prominent L.A. muralist with its images of Huerta and the plight of immigrants and farm workers.

The new ordinance may lead to more murals being created, but how will they be protected?


  1. It is unfortunate that this beautiful piece is usually vandalized.

    I know there is supposed to be some kind protective coating that is available to put over a finished piece that would allow for the mural to be cleaned easily if vandalized. I don’t know how much it would cost but it might help save some money in the long run.

    • Supposedly there is a special clear coat and it’s baffling that the City doesn’t cut a deal with the manufacturer to use/test their product. So much time and effort goes into these beautification projects but if you don’t take that extra step, it’s all for nothing.

  2. The fines and punishments for vandals needs to be increased 10 fold and any vandalism of a mural should be double that. im so tired of this bullshit. The beautiful mural on the 110 got tagged up by teh same losers based on the tags i see here. At least that one has a protective coat on it.

  3. It’s getting ridiculous. These assholes can’t have anything nice. I noticed they tagged up the new paint job at the Bank of America the day after. Terrible. Their should be a higher punishment for this.

  4. right, and we don’t need a gang injunction
    i had some stuff tagged on my front wall that was translated as SWF no dog…
    well now i have a dog and i’m not single but we still need the injunction

    • For a “native” your ignorance is puzzling, to say the least. These talentless scrawls are obviously not gang-related. Simply taggers disrespecting “amigos”. They’ve got nothing coming other than what they deserve.

  5. I am amazed at the outrage. Yes graffiti sucks, and having public pieces of work destroyed blows too.

    But this is LA and grafitti and tagging have long been here. Go to any major city worldwide and you will see similar patterns. Putting a mural up is a prime target for those who enjoy doing this.

    It is part of the city in many ways. Save the expen$$ive art for inside the house amigos!

    Enjoy what you can from the combined work . =).

    • yeah, just because tagging has been here does not mean it is welcome or needs to stay. the mural was part of the city. the tags are vandalism and disrespect personified. don’t settle my friend. you’re better than that. embrace positive change.

    • @wizzydizzy

      The city was around long before the invention of the aerosol can.

      Most people change their tune about graffiti the moment they find it on their house or car.

      This is nothing more than people pissing on the city because they have no respect for themselves and therefore have no respect for anything else.

    • @wizzy, which major cities have you observed having this level of tagging? Even the freeways in Detroit have hardly any. LA is shameful for putting up with this sh*t.

      • I’ve seen heavy tagging/graffiti in Paris and a few other major Euro cities. It’s a shame to see beautiful 300+ yr old buildings being treated the same way a dog treats a fire hydrant.

        I still can’t believe anyone would defend this crap. I understand the low IQ caveman logic behind gang piss markers, but random taggers make absolutely no sense.

        I say make the taggers that get caught go on mandatory graffiti clean up duty as part of their sentence.

      • I visited Prague and Budapest a few years ago, and I was shocked at the amount of graffiti. It was everywhere, on bridges, buildings, on the walls along the river – ubiquitous. It was really upsetting in such an ancient, historic context to see such extreme disrespect of the assets that bring everyone to those cities in the first place. L.A. is less ancient, but the problem is no less serious.

        Take a look: http://www.flickr.com/photos/saraf40/3804797694/in/set-72157621990871386

    • Echo Park resident

      Tagging almost always has ties to gangs and gang culture. Very few “tags” in the area are “artistically-minded.” How naive of you to think residents should just stand by and let the constant vandalization of private property in the name of organized crime continue!

      When the taggers tag your car, your home, your fence or any thing else you own, will you still be OK with it then?

      • Read the writing on the wall, none of that is gang graffiti. Graffiti doesn’t always have ties to gang culture, it most certainly has ties to hip hop culture. All of that wall is “artistic” graffiti and not gangs graffiti claiming turf.

      • I would love to have taggers tag or do murals on my house! It would make it so colorful and I love it all and it’s part of our and the hip hop culture! The only problem is whether I did it or someone else did it on my OWN property with MY permission the city still would tell me that I would have to have it cleaned up and painted over within so many days or I get fined? That’d just dumb if I want it on My property I should have the right it’s dumb!

    • What a galactically stupid thing to say.

      Obviously you don’t own a property here. If you did you would realize quickly that your hard work, money and time to make a suitable place for your family to be defiled by shithead scumbags would not be so nonchalant.

      Yes, vandalism has been around for a long time because ignorant pigs have been around since the beginning time like the vandalist sympathizer. The one who says ” It’s no surprise, you live in a city”, the one who says ” Yes, we should keep art and beautification indoors”.

      Unfortunately the walls in the trailer park are too shallow to actually put a mural on. I hope next time I make sure to piss on the concrete deer and pink flamingo when I’m in town.

  6. The ban on murals should remain. Murals only further encourage vandalism as “mural” artist and tagger culture usually intersect.

    Community activism is the only way to rid yourself of graffiti.

    The only effective way to combat graffiti I have found is to paint over it within 8 hours or less.
    It becomes a cat and mouse game but it is a war of attrition and if you are dedicated taggers usually give up.

    Sigh, Taggers are the plague of Los Angeles.

    IMO , taggers should have their license suspended or if under age have privilege revoked until age 25.

  7. What are you amazed at? There’s mural art and there’s tagging. There’s plenty of wall for everyone without disrespecting somebody’s culture. No wonder there is a “green light” on taggers. Not even gang members can stand them but not even gang members can stop them(?!). Anyway, respect each other’s work or become the subject of it.

    • Your new moniker fools no one, “joaquin”.

      Respect each other’s work? WORK? HUH? Defacing public infrastructure and private property is WORK? It’s amazing how humans are conditioned to accept things as normal only by constant exposure.


    • If the mural has a protective coating why have these tags been allowed to stay on the mural for so long?
      The reason why taggers target these murals is because their tags stay up longer than if they painted a normal wall.
      In graffiti it’s all about having your work seen, the more visible the tag is and the longer it stays up the more your “art” will be seen.
      If you want to protect our murals from vandalism treat them how NYC treated their trains. Tagger used to LOVE to paint NYC’s trains. They broke into train yards risking their lives to paint these trains, it was a huge problem. And how did NYC stop it? They cleaned it off immediately, if a train was painted the public never saw it. Today, graffiti writers acknowledge that train painting is dead, they know that even if they are successful in painting one the graffiti will never be seen, and as a result taggers don’t target trains like they once did. If graffiti is immediately removed from murals they probably wouldn’t be the graffiti magnets they are now, use NYC as an example. We will never get rid of graffiti as a whole but if were smart and diligent we can reduce some of it.

  8. UGH! Murals. Ugly eye-sores.
    Graffiti. Even worse.
    Tagging. Low-life’s spewing their piss.

  9. I recommend people see the movie Grafiti Verite. It’s a great documentary from both sides. Have a great night

  10. This mural in particular seems to have a history of disrespect heaped upon it. It’s undergone numberous restorations. Here’s a shot I got of “La Ofrenda” in its original state after a 2010 restoration done to remove years of tagging:

    La Ofrenda Mural

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