Group apologizes for pasting posters over L.A. mural

A nonprofit group seeking to raise awareness of a deadly conflict in Africa apologized Thursday for pasting its campaign posters over one of Los Angeles’ best known street murals.

The group, Falling Whistles, admits it “screwed up” this week when it covered the mural, known as “Only Time Will Tell,” at 2nd and Garey streets in the heart of the Arts District. The mural was a global effort by street artists from several nations, many of whom show their works in galleries and museums around the world.

Falling Whistles pasted over the mural with images of the faces of hundreds of people from Los Angeles and the Democratic Republic of Congo — part of an effort to raise awareness of the conflict in the African nation.

The destruction of the mural sparked anger among graffiti writers and other artists who bombarded the nonprofit’s director with social media messages Wednesday.


“Why would you try and raise awareness for human rights campaign by destroying culture!?1!?” asked @JetSetGraffiti on Twitter. “Worst marketing ever!!!”

Jason Williams, the artist known as Revok, said he considers the defacement of the mural a personal loss because he was one of the people who helped create it in 2009.

“It was stupid and naive to paste over it, and it is such a shame because it is a cause I would support if I’d been asked,” Revok said. “It is probably the last mural I will be able to paint in Los Angeles. I have been involved with that wall for years.”

Falling Whistles director Sean Carasso issued a letter of apology acknowledging the gaffe.


He said the Arts District had supported his organization — as well as its fight against the war in Congo.

“We screwed up,” Carasso wrote. “It was not our intention to disrespect the artists of that wall. Or any wall. We love the art in our community and treasure the freedom to say what we feel however we feel it.”

Carasso said the wall was donated by the building manager, who told them the mural was scheduled to be sandblasted clean in the next couple of months. He blamed a breakdown in communication and said “everyone” has learned from the experience.

But the action came at a particularly sensitive time for street artists, who say that legitimate graffiti art is being unfairly targeted by city and county officials. Earlier this month, artist Saber hired skywriters to take his fight to the skies, with messages such as “Art is not a crime” and “End mural moratorium.”


Saber, who first tweeted a photo of the covered-up mural, said in an interview, “Have respect for L.A.'s murals and leave the art to the artists.”

But he thanked Falling Whistles for its apology and said he agrees with their cause — he just wishes it had been handled differently.