The murals were vandalized during Memorial Day Weekend. Marsha P. Johnson replaces the damaged Britney Spears mural.
On Sunday, a mural premiere was organized by Matt Brennan at the house of Chris Brugos. Brennan, an artist formerly living in Seattle, flew back to restore betting site/God mural painted on Brugos’ house.
“I actually had to redo all the black lines. The faces had to be completely redone,” Brennan said. This is not the first time he has had to fix the mural. Back in 2016, he was tasked with restoring the Bettie Page because vandals had targeted it. That’s when Divine, a world-famous drag queen, joined the 1950s pinup girl.
In the years since Divine was added, vandalism targeting the murals has become more extreme. Memorial Day weekend proved to be the worst incident ever.
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“This one, for whatever reason, seems like a lightning rod of people attacking it aggressively,” Brennan said.
Red paint splattered all over the house, ruining the mural that had no anti-graffiti coating on it: Britney Spears impersonating Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks.
“We have security cameras everywhere,” Brugos said. “I feel good that we’ll at least have a chance of catching those who come back.”
People kept asking Brugos why he thought the mural was the target.
“We don’t know why they did what they did with the red paint but it happened after we put the Divine, an icon in that community,” he said.
If Divine’s connection to the LGBTQ+ community is the reason vandals attack, then Brugos won’t back down.
“That’s what inspired us to the theme of the new mural.”
That new mural, replacing Britney Spears, is Marsha P. Johnson, a gay rights activist and a transgender woman. She is credited with helping start the modern gay rights movement, participating in the Stone Wall Riots. She dresses like the Statue of Liberty.
“I really hope people can enjoy the mural and like the new one and don’t hurt it,” Brugos said.
More $10,000 has been raised to help create a new mural that Brugos says is the silver lining whenever this happens: a huge amount of community support. However, his insurance company was not so generous. Because they have filed so many claims over the years, their home insurance rates are increasing. Brugos hopes the anti-graffiti coating used will minimize any potential vandalism, allowing for faster, cheaper cleanup without insurance.