Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Los Angeles wants to stop tagger from making money off art

LOS ANGELES—A graffiti vandal who caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to Los Angeles property is trying to make it in the legitimate art world—but the city attorney doesn't want him profiting from his notoriety.

The Los Angeles Times says the city attorney sued Cristian Gheorghiu and nine others last year. The suit seeks at least $1 million in penalties and a court order barring them from making money off artwork under their street names.

The 34-year-old Gheorghiu has an arrest record dating back to 1999. He was ordered to pay $28,000 in restitution after a 2007 felony conviction.

But Gheorghiu now sells legitimate artworks under his tag, "Smear."

Some graffiti vandals, such as the British Banksy, have become artistic sensations.

Peter Bibring, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, says the suit violates artistic freedom.

Taken from: Mercury News

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