Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pacific Electric Viaduct Footings: Is This Any Way To Treat A Historic Landmark?

Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 25, 2014.  Not only are the over- 100-year old concrete landmark viaduct footings painted with brightly hued pastel colors, the vandal artist included mixed media.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)
Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 25, 2014.  Considering we've had multiple rainstorms since the paper was glued to the viaduct footings, you have to wonder what kind of glue he used.  It makes cleaning the footings an even more complex task.  Neighbors are asking what can we do about the "art," as it is vandalism of a historic landmark.  It is not temporary.  The porous nature of the ancient concrete means you can't pressure wash nor sandblast the footings.  

In past discussion with a representative of Central City Action Committee (a non-profit that does graffiti removal in the area), we learned this takes a specialized product for removal of paint, which can become costly.  A grant would  need to be applied for, as it does not fall within their normal budget.  That was based on earlier discussions for graffiti on site which was nowhere near as extensive in coverage as this vandalism.  And of course, everything is complicated by the location on the steep slope on private property.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, May 25, 2014.  Those top 3 footings have been painted over several times by what appears to be the same artist.  The paint seems to have been applied by airbrush or power sprayer. This was not done with a spray can. Perhaps the artist thinks he's doing a service to the community by painting over the graffiti that reappeared there, but it just adds more layers of paint for removal.
Photo: Gary Vlahakis, February 24, 2014.  The same 3 footings from the previous photo are on the top left of this photo.  How many layers of paint, glue & paper now have to be removed because of this artist's vision?  

Perhaps the artist should think bigger - like the Hollywood Sign.  That will be well received for sure.

There was an understated elegance to the viaduct footings.

Silver Lake's Stonehenge 

Fletcher Viaduct 1904