Artist pens open letter to mural vandal

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Down on West Main Street near VCU’s campus, murals line the streets on the sides of buildings, bringing character and a pop of color to the neighborhood. However, when a graffiti artist decided to deface the mural on the side of Foo Dog restaurant, things got personal.

Artist Abernathy Bland penned an open letter on abernathyart.blogspot.com after seeing graffiti spray painted on her mural, which has been in place since last year.

Jyra Thompson works at Refuge for Men on the same street.

“Vandalism, of course is ugly to the city, so I feel like it should never happen. You do have people that’s very inconsiderate about what’s going on and the beauty that we try to bring in,” Thompson said.

“That’s absolutely ridiculous…why would you do that to somebody else’s artwork?” says VCU student, Michael Rozynski.

In her letter, Abernathy talks about the value of art and respecting yourself as an artist. She says while graffiti can be beautiful and has a culture and a place, she says what she found on her painting is “dumb”.

In her response, Bland writes nine tips to her defacer, including: “Find your own space,” “expand your materials,” and “don’t be a jerk.”

Haneefah Robinson, who also works at ‘Refuge for Men’, gave kudos to the artist for her response.

“That was a good gesture, just to let it be known that it’s not acceptable, that it’s not appreciated. They should take their artwork and do something more constructive with it and not vandalize and demean things that’s good,” Robinson said.

We reached out to Bland to get her comments, but have not heard back yet.

As for the people in the neighborhood; they say to the mural artists to keep up the good work.

“I just want to say thank you. I live right up the block and it adds a lot of character to my neighborhood and I like it a lot,” said Rozynski.

Bland has since cleaned the graffiti off of her mural.

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