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Ads could replace Kobe and Gianna Bryant mural in downtown Los Angeles

The mural cannot be missed.

It depicts Lakers legend Kobe Bryant with his arm around his teenage daughter Gianna – two of nine people who died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020 – with angel wings and halo-like glows around the head.

It’s larger than life, encompassing an entire wall on the side of Hardcore Fitness at 400 W. Pico Blvd., a few blocks from Arena, the Lakers’ home court.

“It’s a work of art that pays homage to an iconic person,” gym owner Cecilia Moran told The Times in a phone interview Friday.

But soon it might disappear. Moran said she was informed Wednesday by her landlord that the mural had to be removed by the end of the month to make way for advertising.

Moran told him she wouldn’t do it.

“I said I don’t think it’s fair,” said Moran, who told the Times that she has since received written notice from her landlord informing her that he will have the mural removed and he would send the bill if she didn’t take it apart herself. “This mural also benefits publicity and has a lot of meaning for the city and for Kobe fans. So I said I don’t agree. I don’t want to make the fans angry and I don’t want to no disrespect and I don’t think this mural should be removed.

The Los Angeles artist who painted the mural more than three years ago agrees.

“You have to make sense of it, man, and think about it and what it really means for Los Angeles,” Louie Palsino told the Times. “Even if the owner wants to make money, it’s a monument that people come from all over the world to visit, so it’s good for him, for his property and for all parties involved. I don’t see much sense in removing it for advertising purposes.

Moran told the Times that she did not ask her landlord’s permission for the mural, but he knew the painting was being installed before it was finished and never expressed concern. ‘objection.

Hideharu Tanaka, professor and dean of Kokushikan University in Tokyo, photographs his students in front of a mural depicting Kobe and Gianna Bryant in front of Hardcore Fitness in downtown Los Angeles.

(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Maroud Omrani – the agent for 400 W Pico LLC, which owns the building – was contacted by telephone but had no comment.

In the days following the deaths of Bryant and his daughter, Moran was approached by Palsino about the mural. She agreed after seeing the affectionate photo of father and daughter that Palsino based it on.

“I fell in love with the idea of ​​(Kobe) taking care of Gigi,” said Moran, who had lost her own father the year before. “I feel like that’s how my dad looked after me, so I said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’ »

Moran personally financed the project, spending approximately $2,500 on supplies and equipment. The artist did his work for free and cherished every moment.

“The community, when we did it, a lot of people from all over the world came to watch me do it,” Palsino said. “I always viewed this piece as a group effort. There were people who brought me food, fed me. It was awesome, man, the energy that people were putting out there was just awesome. It was definitely a unique experience and I was able to share this moment with everyone.

A petition aimed at saving the mural had nearly 5,000 signatures as of late Friday afternoon.

“Maybe we can raise our voices together,” Moran said. “I need more people to help me preserve the mural and find a way to ensure that it continues to honor someone who has had a positive impact on the lives of so many people and has been a role model for many people.”

Los Angeles Times

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