[UPDATED: New Mural in Works] Laguna Beach Winery Owner Paints Over Landmark Mural, Claiming He Didn't Know It Was a Public Work of Art

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lagunamuralcrop.jpg
Mia Tavonatti
​UPDATE, APRIL 18, 5:03 P.M.: Mural painter-overer Marlowe Huber wants to help repair the damage, offering a monetary contribution towards the mural's restoration and organizing fundraisers to launch a new mural, according to Laguna Beach Patch.

He told the media outlet that that his reason for removing the mural was to clean up the space so that the city might approve a sign that advertised the winery. Laguna College of Art and Design president Dennis Power has also received an offer from the winery's property owner, Steve Henry, to help with the new mural project, planned for next winter. Power called the mural paint-over a "regrettable mistake."

lagunamural.jpg
Mia Tavonatti
ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 8 1:32 P.M.: A vibrant mural that served as a landmark work of art on Laguna Canyon Road is now a dull gray wall after a paint job by a winery owner who apparently didn't want it adorning his business.  

The piece, an 82-foot-long bold-colored landscape featuring a bear, an eagle and an adult and child holding hands, was designed and painted in 2003 by students of Laguna College of Art & Design. 

Mia Tavonatti, the school's mural instructor who oversaw its creation, was shocked when she heard it was gone.

"I'm disheartened," she says. "I think that's the best word to describe it. I don't see the sense of it--to blatantly and knowingly do something like this. It's criminal."

The mural, which Tavonatti says was the largest in Orange County when it went up, graced the side wall of Laguna Canyon Winery, a tenant in a building owned by Steve Henry. According to the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot, the tenants had applied to put signage on the wall, but the application had been denied due to the wall's status as a public work of art, protected by the city. City cultural arts manager Siân Poeschl first noticed the mural was gone at the end of February. Henry was surprised, as the lease agreement made it clear that the mural was public property, the Coastline Pilot reports.   
  
Marlowe Huber, co-owner of the winery, admitted to the Coastline Pilot that he painted over the mural, and that it was a misunderstanding. He's meeting with the school to devise a plan for another mural, the newspaper reports. Huber could not be immediately reached by the Weekly.   

Tavonatti does not believe it was a misunderstanding. 

"As artists, we have the right to sue, but that's a major endeavor and that's not what my mindset is," she told the Weekly. "But I would like to see something done. A lot of these small businesses in Laguna wouldn't exist if it weren't for the art. It is the economy of Laguna Beach. He had a huge mural on his wall. He could have taken advantage of that. I don't get it." 

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33 comments
Moon-laker
Moon-laker

What an idiot. Didn't know? Idiot!

prettylittlebird
prettylittlebird

What unfortunate news. It's hard to understand how someone has been able to survive owning a small business while being a complete idiot and it's so heartbreaking to witness such uneducated ignorant selfishness. Marlowe Huber is an embarrassment to himself and family and it's sad that Laguna has to suffer because of him. I think it's only fair that he not only be charged with the costs to restore the original as well as some major additional fines but also be denied ANY requests made by him in the future. I wish there were a way to put him through a class that teaches common decency and the meaning of respect. His winery should be publicly banned :).

Enjoey
Enjoey

He needs to be sued & pay for the new mural.

Shmeddy
Shmeddy

I'd love to see the art school do a half-assed artistic work of anger and disgust toward the shmuck that painted over their original, colorful & vibrant work of art. That would be one nasty mural to be forced to look at everyday and remember the moment they decided to think they were smarter than the city and cover up another groups hard efforts.

anonnymouse
anonnymouse

The original mural was beautiful. They should remove the coat of grey paint, and restore the original. And the Marlowe Huber should be forced to pay all the costs of the restoration, three times over. The excess could be used to fund other art murals in the city. Maybe they could also raise additional funds by selling t-shirts that read "Marlowe Huber is a dunce." Just an idea...

Eblnt
Eblnt

I bet if i painted something on your busines you would want the right to civer it up. It is his place his wall his right. You are all so high and mighty and start calling him names. Do any of you know the guy who painted it or for that matter anything you didnt just read. Take a second before falming poeple and find out the real story.

circeherbivora
circeherbivora

FINE. Let him pay for another mural. Landmarks are expensive though, and I have a sneaking suspicion the second one is going to be twice as expensive as the first.

Ms K
Ms K

This "man" who owns the winery with his wife is a total jerk. My boyfriend went into the store front that they have in town and did a tasting and bought a bottle of wine because the woman working (co-owner and wife of Marlowe) said there was a 50% discount when you did a tasting. Later that day Marlowe called my boyfriend and told him that they had not charged him enough for the bottle of wine and could he call them back to pay the rest!!! Needless to say we will never ever go there again and tell everyone we know to stay away. He just gave us one more reason to boycott his business, he should definitely think about relocating out of Laguna, I don't see this going well for him.

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tb
tb

...."the tenants had applied to put signage on the wall, but the application had been denied due to the wall's status as a public work of art, protected by the city" .... "Marlowe Huber, co-owner of the winery, admitted to the Coastline Pilot that he painted over the mural, and that it was a misunderstanding" ....

Yeah, a misunderstanding. Sure thing. Explain it then, please?

Their selfish & destructive act should NOT be rewarded by them getting their signage.

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twitter
twitter

call in NATO, to bomb his ass, make sure they don't bomb the artists.

twitter
twitter

next Mural, "Stupid yuppies hanging at the Winery".

Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob

It is technically possible to strip off that gray paint to reveal the mural underneath, a task that art restorers do all the time. Of course, with such a large work of art, it would cost a considerable amount, including the cost of touching-up the newly-revealed mural, to which I say "Good! Can you spell JUSTICE ???"

Min Gullen
Min Gullen

Unbelievable! Laguna Beach is on the map BECAUSE of our art and artists! I will never set foot in the winery...possibly the winery should move to another city that adores plain, grey walls....not our town. I'll continue to find my wine at our many fine establishments here in LB.

The Dude
The Dude

What a complete moron, short bus riding idiot, retard, low life scum bag, dullered, dildo, pilon, dilbert, vib w/dead batteries, traffic cone, nimrod, self serving, narcissistic, child like, protozoa, life hating slice of crap. Nuf said.

Guest
Guest

Do you suppose the *new* mural will have the winery as the theme?And how does someone "notice" that a mural is gone? Did they do their painting in the dead of night?

Matt
Matt

I wish that the city had protected that public mural by having it painted on a publicly owned building.

OCLocal
OCLocal

Wow. How could you cover up such a beautiful mural with a can of gray paint?

This guy is an idiot. I have never been to the winery but now I will make sure I never go.

It is too late to try to correct this Mr. Huber. A new mural will not make what you did right. I hope the city fines him for this, since it was a public mural and he was denied the sign application for that reason.

Jan
Jan

That's what's wrong with todays society people don't adhere to the word NO anymore. They think the rules are for those of us that follow them

art lover
art lover

I went once but I'm never going to go again. . . I'm going to set up a picket in front of the winery to make sure everyone boycotts it as well as a key word search optimization so the first result people get when the search it is how SHITTY of a palce it is.

Pete Kalamaris
Pete Kalamaris

I will never visit that winery and it is a mile away from me.

MayhemInTheHood
MayhemInTheHood

I don't get it either. Most businesses around there, you'd think, would be happy to have that mural on their business. Especially a winery. Fuck you, Marlowe Huber.

Bill T.
Bill T.

He's still a philistine.

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

Well Insame1, #1 the guy did NOT OWN the building, he was a tenant, a renter... and #2 the lease (a legal document specifying rights and responsibilities of owner and tenant) specifically said the mural was public property. I am not sure, but perhaps the guy is a foreigner that has no respect for our laws we are here to make him wealthy.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Whew... Thanks for the clarification because I thought Laguna Beach was on the map because of uninsurable multi-million dollar homes that occaisonally get burned up or slide off the side of the hill... Either that or Lauren Conrad... Actually im pretty sure it was Lauren Conrad

Miatav
Miatav

As for doing a new mural, the law clearly states that no mural can have anything to do with the business of the building that it is painted on. That would technically make it a huge advertisement, and not in the interest of public art.

Sent from my HTC on the Now Network from Sprint!

OCLocal
OCLocal

as stated by a 909er

909Jeff
909Jeff

HA!

Did you stick out your pinky finger when you typed that?

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