Artist Touches Up Mural in Oak Park After Vandalism

OAK PARK -- Giant, bright and whimsical.

"Oh, it's gorgeous, right! It's fantastic," said Travis Owen who lives in Oak Park.

The side of an old brick building on the corner of 34th and Broadway in Oak Park is now a piece of art.

"It's beautiful. It's a beautiful piece," said Christtianne Fuentes.

It's a labor of love for the community by Sacramento muralist Waylon Horner.

"It's a playground for the art, stimulus, visual intrigue," said muralist Waylon Horner.

But weeks after creating the piece for the mural festival "Wide Open Walls,"  on Thursday, Horner was out making some changes.

"Who would do that?" Horner said.

Someone defaced the mural he spent over 100 hours perfecting.

"I don't really take it personally," Horner said.

The white spray-painted letters spelled out a message against gentrification.

"If you're spray-painting over a nice mural that anyone can enjoy," Horner said.

The message is likely a reaction to the change and development in the neighborhood. But Horner says the playful mural is meant to be an equalizer.

"Doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, this is here for everybody," Horner said.

Owen says he's feeling the effects of gentrification, first hand.

"I'm not exactly thrilled about it. I don't make much money myself, and feel kinda forced out of Sacramento," he said.

Still, he doesn't think this is the way to tackle the complicated issue.

"Defacing a mural is kinda like defacing a playground. Everybody in the community can enjoy. Really no point in being mad at it," Owen said.

Wide Open Walls reacted to the defaced mural saying, "We are working hard to ensure the remaining murals are coated and sealed with a protective layer that will keep them safe from graffiti in the future."

Horner has restored his piece to its original purpose: serving as a bright spot in the neighborhood.

"It's what I love," Horner said.