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Local Tagger Wants to Sell His Art, City Attorney Says No Way
East Hollywood resident Cristian Gheorghiu has left his mark all over Los Angeles, using his tagging name "Smear." His work has gotten him in plenty of trouble over the years, and now that he has begun to sell his art, Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is pursuing a "one-of-a-kind court injunction," that could bar "Smear" from making a profit off anything that boasts his unique tag, according to the LA Times.
"The 34-year-old Gheorghiu has an arrest record dating back to 1999," notes the AP's terse report on the subject, adding that the street artists "was ordered to pay $28,000 in restitution after a 2007 felony conviction." That conviction came after a raid on his home by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department prompted by his tagging on property, including that of the Metropolitan Transit Agency. To date, Gheorghiu remains on probation because he has only paid $5,000 of his fine.
Gherorghiu says he has not tagged on others' property since that conviction, and that he is concentrated on selling his art. Comparisons between him and well-known artists like Basquiat and Banksy abound. His works, made in his studio, sell for up to $2,500.
The City Attorney's injunction could bring that to a halt, though. According to the Times: "The American Civil Liberties Union calls the lawsuit an assault on artistic freedom. For Gheorghiu, it is something more: an attack on his cherished outlaw persona."