Aaron Brothers cancels L.A. “Artrageous”
Criticized for glorifying graffiti
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—An art supply chain store canceled its “urban art” promotions in metropolitan Los Angeles at the request of City Councilman Dennis Zine, an ex-cop who accused the company of promoting graffiti, it was announced today.
Aaron Brothers president Jim King wrote to Zine and told him he canceled all of the “Artrageous” events, which were set for mid-September at six stores in the city and thirteen others in Los Angeles County. The events were to include spray paint demonstrations, sales on graffiti-related art supplies and giveaways.
King said the Los Angeles stores would not distribute “urban art toolkits” that include markers popular with vandals. Zine earlier called those “graffiti starter kits.” The company, based in suburban Dallas, also removed the “Graff 2” technique book from the selected stores.
“We do not want to adversely affect the community,” King wrote to Zine. “Our program was designed to celebrate all art forms on surfaces such as paper and canvas.”
A video on the company’s website shows artist Scape Martinez spray-painting an Aaron Brothers logo on a wall.
The events also were to include guest appearances by Southern California street artists Revok, Risk, Sever, Ces and Wane.
A message left with Aaron Brothers corporate communications was not immediately returned.
The city’s Office of Community Beautification spent about $7.1 million cleaning up graffiti at 675,000 sites in the city last year.
Zine hailed the decision.
“I am very pleased with this outcome and commend Aaron Brothers for listening to the concerns raised,” he said.
In a motion last week, Zine said graffiti “instills fear, anger and frustration” and called it a “vile act of vandalism ... that destroys property and reduces the value of homes.”
The motion, which the council never took up, asked Aaron Brothers to cancel the events and “refrain from the glorification of graffiti.” Zine said he would withdraw his motion.
King said Aaron Brothers intends to donate proceeds from the sale of works by graffiti artists to the Boys and Girls Club of L.A.
Aaron Brothers has 46 events scheduled in California, including promotions in Long Beach on Sept. 10 and Sept. 24. Similar events are also scheduled at stores in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington.
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