A couple weeks ago, we told you about ArchitectureArt's efforts to save a mural that the firm had been painting on the east wall of Bootlegger bar and restaurant (804 Market St.) in East Village. The company, which employs artists to hand-paint large-scale murals, was commissioned by Blue Moon Brewing Co. to create the piece, which depicted a bar scene and golden pints of Blue Moon hefeweizen. Well, looks the piece now resides in mural heaven.
Artist Pamela Anderson, owner of ArchitectureArt, fought the the city of San Diego's Development Services Department (DSD), which determined that the mural's use of Blue Moon's logo violated city signage laws. To some it looked like a replica of Blue Moon's "Artfully Crafted" advertising campaign, which uses impressionistic art for print and television ads. Permits were rescinded, and Anderson began petitioning DSD to have them reinstated.
"In the city of San Diego, there are thousands of murals that exist, none of which are permitted," Anderson said earlier this month. "And, frankly, the city shouldn't be in the business of art police or censoring artistic expression."
Despite her best efforts, DSD wouldn't budge, and so the mural her group was close to finishing had to be removed.
"I was left with no choice but to paint out the entire mural given that the mural would remain incomplete on the street," Anderson laments. "We're such purists. If we're not going to have the entire art work on the street as it was intended to be, then we're not gonna have it at all. Moreover, the mural patron could not allow its artwork to remain in the public incomplete. So, the wall is now just a boring blank facade."
Anderson says she can't "fathom how this is good for the city." She's disappointed that the story of this particular mural is over.
However, she and her team hope to work with the East Village Association to lobby for changes to the municipal code that will enable future murals to go up without issue. She feels that the city is inconsistent in how it approve permits and enforces sign laws; she points to the large amount of signage allowed during Comic-Con and notes a recent campaign to save the Agua Caliente racetrack mural—an old advertisement for the now-defunct Tijuana racetrack—located on the western wall of Downtown's California Theater.
"There should be one set of laws, one set of rules," Anderson says. "They should either apply them equally across the board or not apply them at all. East Village lost a beautiful mural as a result."
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