The Swarm

February 28, 2008

Elliott Smith Memorial Wall defaced and now restored...elaborate monument planned

TDS Editors

Shortly after Elliott Smith’s suicide was announced in 2003, the singer’s Los Angeles fans began to gather at Solutions, an electronics store in Silver Lake on Sunset Boulevard where Smith had once posed for the cover of his 2000 album Figure 8. The mural became a makeshift memorial, with many people writing notes, poems, and rememberances on top of the black and red painting. Ever since, the store has become a L.A. fixture, with thousands adding to the ever-changing collection of thoughts and tributes added to what became known around the world as the Elliott Smith Memorial Wall.

But last summer, the wall was defaced with a large graffiti tag. While many local residents were horrified by the vandalism, the tag remained a part of the Silver Lake scenery. Recently, the wall was hit yet again, with an even larger bubble-letter tag covering most of the memorial. This latest affront to the wall inspired some local artists and Elliott Smith fans – who had already set-up a MySpace page devoted to restoring the wall – into action, and earlier this week the original mural was restored to its pristine state. The thousands of memorial tributes are gone, though the blank canvas is sure to be covered with words of love for Smith and his music again soon.

Furthermore, the owner of the electronics store has expressed plans to turn the wall into an even more elaborate Smith memorial. In an interview with a neighbor that was related in an LAist post comments, Stephon Lew, the owner-musician of Solutions who designed and produced the art logo of the original Solutions Wall, explains:

These are my dreams: I plan to place an electronic object of importance….a 5 foot 7 inch tall monument (of Elliott’s size—with two loudspeakers at the base of the monument to represent his two big shoes) formed from crushed electronics parts—-to play and to identify Elliott’s musical influences (Elliott’s hobby, I hear, was to experiment with electronics to make music tone)—-to have the monument—emanate new energy and the many solutions that music can provide.

I will present the statue-monument as “Art in-front-of Art”—-at where Elliot stood for the Figure 8 album cover photo—- Many fans have promised to help me complete this in due time…after next winter, perhaps…..I plan, with the help of Elliott’s fans…, to also place along the two foot ground area in front of the Wall…. a removable display (video or otherwise) of all his lyrics——not placed on the vertical Wall—- but at the ground base…somehow…..and those of the Beatles or other music groups that influenced Elliott——I hope that when one visits the Wall Area, we all will just smile.. ..and walk away with the happiest of an ice-cream-type closure——to be able to take with you more of Elliott’s true vibrations and the beauty of other bands’ music—-. This is just a dream.—

Solutions located at 4334 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90029

This story was first reported on LAist here, here, here, and here.

Also: Elliott Smith photo exhibit by Autumn de Wilde opens at Noise Pop

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