Kais al-Hilali was an anti-Gaddafi graffiti artist in Libya who made political statements with his brushes and paints, much like other graffiti artists who try to send a message to the public. Kais left his artistic mark on a roundabout in a pro-Gaddafi part of the city and when he was stopped at an impoverished checkpoint rebel gunmen opened fire on the car Kais was in, killed him, and left. Rebel commanders deny having a checkpoint at the location of Kais murder. Kais will forever be known as a brave artist who lost his life for a cause.
As Japan struggles to recover from the devastation that occurred this past week, artists and galleries are banding together to raise funds for aide relief. This gives the public a chance to purchase some art while supporting a good cause. In Los Angeles Japan LA has organized a “#PrayForJapan Art Fundraiser Exhibition.” The show will open on Saturday and proceeds will go to the Red Cross efforts in Japan. Also illustrators have created a long list of T-shirts, comics, and other items, organized by Comics Alliance in support of relief efforts.
Well-known LA graffiti artists Cristian Gheorghiu is being barred from making a profit off of his paintings that bear his “tag” name, Smear. The American Civil Liberties Union calls the lawsuit an assault on artistic freedom.
Gheorghiu was known for his bold tag that could be found all over the city and was often associated with the MTA (Metro Transit Assassins). Gheorghiu began experimenting with characters and portraits that he painted all over the city and he eventually moved onto canvases. Because of his already established fame within the community, his canvas work was immediate popular. Gheorghiu had developed a duel personality, graffiti painter by night, budding artists by day; until he was charged with a felony arrest for vandalism, was put on probation, and was charged $28,000. But the problems did not stop there, when MTA was suspected for creating a quarter-mile long tag, Gheorghiu was targeted by the police. He and nine others are now involved in a $1 million lawsuit that forbids any kind of activities that would lead to the artists profiting from their tag names. The lawsuit also states that Gheorghiu’s graffiti serves as free publicity- giving him an unfair advantage over other artists, which is a violation of state laws governing fair competition.
Gheorghiu knows that he is popular because of his bad boy persona and worries that his work will not sell without his famous tag name, but the courts will have to decide whether he is permitted to use it or not.
(Source: Los Angeles Times)