EVERETT — A brand new mural on Rucker Avenue was painted over with solid gray on Tuesday due to objections from the building’s owner and one of its tenants.
Four graffiti artists had spray-painted the large mural for free at Rucker and Wall Street, which depicts a fierce samurai warrior and dragon, during the four-day “Going All City NW” event last weekend. The event brought together more than 150 graffiti artists to create dozens of murals around Everett.
On Monday, the building’s owner requested the mural be painted over. Brianna Mattes, who organized the event with husband and graffiti artist Hyper, said it was a shock to get the request, especially after artists did the work without compensation and paid for their own materials, travel and lodging.
Michelle Conley, the building’s owner, said the final product did not match the type of mural she requested. She had initially reached out, enthusiastic to support the event.
“I asked if it could be something bright, happy and artistic,” she said, explaining she communicated her preference ahead of time and pointed out other murals in Everett she liked. The mural painted last weekend wasn’t appropriate for the church that occupies the building, she added.
Prior to the event, organizers signed agreements with participating building owners, Mattes said. The contracts gave artists artistic freedom, as long as they omitted profanity, drug use, nudity and political themes. No sketches were provided in advance. She said the Rucker wall’s artists changed the concept last-minute, after two others dropped out due to COVID-19.
The contract also stated the organizers would buff the wall for free if requested. In graffiti culture, it’s called “buffing” when graffiti is painted over.
Hyper said it was emotional to see the painting-over of the mural, created in part by two of his mentors, veteran artists Faust and Spawk of Arizona. He said there could have been more communication about the Rucker mural. Ultimately, he’s grateful the city of Everett chose to give a platform to graffiti artists.
“Unfortunately, you’re not going to please everyone,” he said.
Artists created nearly 40 murals around Everett during the event — one of the largest of its kind in state history, according to organizers.
“99% of the people were very pleased,” Mattes said.
Mattes said one idea is to raise funds for the Arizona artists to fly back to Everett to paint a new mural in a different location.
See a map of completed murals at map.proxi.co/r/MuralsOfEverett.
Jacqueline Allison: 425-339-3434; email@example.com; Twitter: @jacq_allison.
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