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Arts and Entertainment

After 7 Years In Hiding, Shepard Fairey Mural Of Germs Frontman Is Back In Echo Park

Gary Leonard's original photo of Darby Crash (left), and Shepard Fairey's stylized design. (Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection; Right image via TheGiant.Org Wiki)
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In 2009, street artist Shepard Fairey collaborated with L.A. photographer Gary Leonard on an Echo Park mural of legendary punk rocker and Germs frontman Darby Crash, but the mural was defaced soon after and then covered up for almost a decade.

Fairey and Leonard worked to repair the mural this past weekend, retouching the paint and covering it with a protective coating, and the design is now back on display after nearly seven years in hiding.

"This is extreme, and you might want to say, it's a violent act toward art. That being the case, I just covered it up," Leonard told Eastsider LA in 2009, just after the vandalism.

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Fairey's stylized design is based on a photo that Leonard took of Crash in 1980, months before the singer died of a heroin overdose. Like many images created by Fairey, the Crash design became iconic, and a painted version by Fairey recently sold at auction for almost $30,000. The nearly 15-foot-high collage was wheat pasted to the side of a building owned by Leonard, but according to L.A. Weekly, the mural was tagged by "local gangs" within 24 hours of its completion. Soon after, Leonard covered the defaced wall with sheets of corrugated tin. At the time, the building was occupied by Echo Park Cycles.

L.A. Weekly reports that when Silver Lake art-and-design shop Hemingway and Pickett moved into the corner spot at 1932 Echo Park Avenue, owner Toby Hemingway spoke to Leonard about reinstalling it.

Here's a clip of Darby and the Germs in action, from the excellent documentary, The Decline of Western Civilization:

Related: Hipster Mayor Teams Up With Shepard Fairey To Unveil New Library Card

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