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New 'Rap Quotes' signs are coming to L.A., artist says

Just a few weeks after artist Jason Shelowitz put up 45 “Rap Quotes” signs around town, he took to Twitter to unveil the locations by tweeting out pictures of the signs.

But by then, Angelenos had already started scavenging for the red-and-white street signs with rap lyrics printed on them, and most of the signs were gone.

Some were taken by street-art enthusiasts, and at least one quoted artist took his sign for himself.

Guide: Jay Shells 'Rap Quotes' project

But for those who missed out on a piece of free art, Shelowitz said Tuesday that he plans to post more than 30 new signs “from Malibu to Inglewood” by the end of April.

The New-York-based artist will be in L.A. this weekend and had planned to hang six new signs while he is here. On Tuesday he said the signs may not be ready, so he will hang one in Hollywood that he could not get to during his visit in December.

In April, Gallery 1988 on Melrose Avenue plans to exhibit limited-edition signs and photos. Shelowitz said he’ll come back to L.A. before the exhibit opens to post more than 30 new signs all over town.

As an extension of a project he started in New York, Shelowitz (also known as Jay Shells) installed 45 of the 46 signs he had designed for Los Angeles County late last year, but since then he believes all have disappeared.

The Times searched for 19 and found only fragments of one. A spokesman for the city of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services said it is illegal to post signs on public property without a permit, but the department has no record of removing any of the signs.

Tony Castillo was skateboarding down Fairfax Avenue in December when he noticed the artist’s work.

Clasped to the streetlight pole in front of the sneaker store Flight Club, a bright red sign with white text stared him in the face. Though it had the look of a standard street sign, it displayed a rap lyric that made reference to the very spot Castillo had just blown past.

Bun B the OG like '95 Air Max / Neon green outta Flight Club off Fairfax

Hours later, the 25-year-old from the Venice area found himself sweeping in front of his store next door and gravitating toward the sign again. He set his fingers to work twisting off the nuts and pushing hard on the braces to pop out the bolts. After about "a cigarette and a half," Castillo scored one of his most treasured pieces of street art.

"I can see the energy the artist put into it," he said. "This is some really thoughtful stuff."

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Twitter: @MattStevensLAT

matt.stevens@latimes.com

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