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Art Tyranny: Businessman Must Remove Mural To Avoid Fines, Fees

Kim M.

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July 5, 2012

As if it's not bad enough to live in a country where Fourth of July fireworks are slowly, but surely, being criminalized out of existence...

Art supply store owner, Bill Arkfeld, has been told by the city of Atascadero, California to either remove the mural that he had a visiting artist paint on the side of his store, or be fined.

Or, he can appeal the decision to the city's Planning Commission by filing some paperwork and paying a $460 fee by July 6.

So let me see if I understand this?

Arkfeld can either pay a fine, pay a fee, or destroy the artwork (and take a hit on the money already spent for paint)?

It gets even better when you find out that the entire "controversy" and a "formal review" of the rogue mural was triggered by ONE snarky e-mail sent to the city of Atascadero anonymously.

According to the New Times SLO, the e-mail said that the mural "looks like graffiti in downtown Los Angeles and does nothing to celebrate the history of our town."

The city then produced a staff report recommending that the Atascadero Design Review Committee (ADRC) approve the mural... but no.

The ADRC voted 4 to 1 against it and told Arkfeld (and company) that they were being "hostile" when they asked the ADRC to produce some kind of design parameters for murals.

The mural in question is of a young man meditating under a very large tree.

(gasp, shock, horror)

You heard that right:

One man. One tree. Against a pale blue sky. 

There's obviously nothing lewd, profane, political, or offensive about a man sitting under a tree...

Except for the fact that Arkfeld obviously didn't pay off the right folks at the right time in these hard economic times...

And now he's got to pay. One way, or the other.

If you'd like to let the city of Atascadero know what you think of their fine art tyranny...

And/or what you think of their obstruction of Arkfeld's First-Amendment-protected right of free speech and expression...

You may do so here:

And/or by calling these:

General Info: 805-461-5000

City Council: 805-470-3400

Building & Planning Issues: 805-470-3491805-461-5035

Permits - Planning: 805-461-5035

Planning Commission: 805-470-3402