The beast, also known as Galería de la Raza’s Digital Mural Project, was tagged again last night. There were two tags: one, the name Kanos, is no big deal. The other, which reads “Yo soy una mierda,” or “I am a shit,” indicates a dramatic shift in tagging mentality. The mural was first defaced sometime before Thursday morning, but was restored that same evening.
The late-night markers have become docents, their tag a manifestation of their desire to help explain Spencer’s work. Many of us in the neighborhood have been bewildered by the same question: Just what is that image?
Some call it a potato, a frijol or an immigrant, but for Spencer Keeton Cunningham, the artist behind the piece, it’s a picture of a beast, a symbol of evil huddled over a glowing crucifix.
“To me, the mural is about the false, grandiose notions of Christian/Catholic myth and the effects these notions have on the moldable minds of consumers of them, both historically and in present-day society,” he said.
The taggers, or as I would like to call them now, the Bryant Street Docents, offered a clearification of the image. Actually, their artistic interpretation was distilled into one simple tag; evidently they have voiced their ideas in the first person from the perspective of the image.
Cunningham knows that defacement is part of the experience of being a mural artist. “It’s expected that kids will tag anything,” he said after the mural was first tagged. “I’m not shocked or surprised or even upset.”
Seriously, I hope the marks can be cleaned up before the show opening tonight at Galería de la Raza. The mayor will be attending.
George Lipp is a contributor to Mission Local.