Community 1st Bank hires graffiti artist to cover vandals’ work with aerosol art - Auburn Journal

An EBMC-managed commercial property in Auburn, California has been mentioned in the article below.

By Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal features editor

Over the next few weekends, Auburn resident Myk Santori can be found at Community 1st Bank, where he’ll be covering up an entire wall that has been tagged by vandals. Myk Santori Credit Kim Palaferri Auburn Journal

Santori has been commissioned by the bank to replace the current graffiti with one large graffiti mural. Bank President and CEO Robert Haydon said he was impressed with Santori’s work during a visit to PlacerArts’ "Writing on Walls" aerosol art exhibit in February. When the taggers hit the wall recently, Haydon knew who to call.

"I just thought that the whole concept of creating a work of art out of their mess was going to make it fun," he said..

The vandalism on the wall, which faces the railroad tracks, has been an ongoing problem, Haydon said. He didn’t want to fence it off to avoid the vandals, but realized that crews would have to keep repainting over it for who knows how long, as the taggers would probably just come back and tag it again..

Myk Santori Credit Kim Palaferri Auburn JournalBut if a mural is there, Santori said, a code of respect among those who do graffiti should help protect the artwork. Along with creating the mural, Santori will also maintain it in the future, in the event that it does get defaced..

"I was just so impressed with what the people did with the art project that I thought we could solve two problems at the same time," Haydon said. "Clean up our wall and give them a place to perform, if you will. It’s beautiful artwork – it’s fabulous."

Haydon said the bank will purchase the materials necessary for the project, which Santori estimates will take about 50 cans of spray-paint, and will also make a donation to PlacerArts.

Santori has been into graffiti for 22 years, he said, and the artwork was what kept him away from drugs and gangs as a youth. He’s been commissioned to do large works many times before, and said he looks forward to getting creative and colorful with the bank wall. He expects to start work this Friday.

"I kind of just freestyle it as I go," he said. "So I don’t have a drawn-out plan most of the time, maybe a loose idea, but it changes as I start painting. I just get creative and it just kind of flows."

Natalie Pohley, community and youth organizer for the Auburn Hip Hop Congress, said the bank’s move to hire Santori is good for not only the artist, but the hip-hop culture as well..

"This is huge, I think," she said. "It’s going to change the whole culture of the area."

Santori agreed, saying he hopes people will see the art in his graffiti as opposed to the vandalism aspect of graffiti.

"It’s kind of funny," he mused. "I’m kind of covering graffiti with graffiti. It’s a graffiti anti-graffiti."

Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at krissik@goldcountrymedia.com Follow her on Twitter, @AuburnJournalAE.

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