Saturday, May 25, 2013
MENO: Works of Art or Vandalism?
Known on the street as graffiti artist MENO, Maximino Gonzales was arraigned in court on charges of felony criminal mischief after police say he caused more than $9,000 worth of damages with his graffiti.
A controversial graffiti artist facing felony criminal charges of mischief was arraigned in court today.
Maximino Gonzales, 21, better known as “Meno,” faces felony charges after he caused more than $9,000 worth of vandalism across the city, according to Anchorage police.
“I think it's a sad situation that the state is using the resources of the people to prosecute a talented artist when they should be using the resources of the people to help promote art in Alaska” said Phillip Weidner, Meno’s attorney.
Whether you think it’s art or a crime is the ongoing debate. And although graffiti has been an art form with a long history of controversy, many in the community admire his talent.
Tap Root, a local restaurant and music venue, features artists every month and has come out publicly in support of his work.
“The bottom line is he is an artist. A lot of people get angry about him doing his art in public places,” said Ellie Stefano, an employee at Tap Root. “I, personally, think it’s art and I think it’s beautiful.”
Tap Root admires his work so much that it let Meno paint a stencil on the side of their building in Spenard. His work will also be showcased at Tap Root for the entire month of October.
“We're kind of just wanting to give him a venue to show art legally,” said Stefano. “He is an artist so we just wanted to be able to have him show his work.”
But ultimately, it’s an opportunity for the public to determine whether his work is art or vandalism.