Seal Team 6 Hits Meridian Park

We first caught wind of the altered sculpture on Twitter, in a tweet from Jeanne: “Look what some guy welded onto a sculpture at Meridian Park. And no, it wasn’t the original artist.”

Yep, someone added to the sculptures that ring the playground at Meridian Park. (For some beautiful shots of the other sculptures, see Jeff Ng’s photostream on Flickr.)

This morning, we heard from the artist himself, who forwarded his note to the original artist:

Hi Pat,

Hope you are doing well, I really like the dragon knocker on your site.  (enough of me kissing yer ass)

I’ve re-armed your sailor boy sculpture that has was damaged and disintegrating at Meridian Playground by my house.  I thought my addition was great, a bit tongue in cheek but a nice addition.  Unfortunately while I was making my install tonight (surreptitiously of course) I was accosted by some crazy lady who was completely bent out of shape.  I thought nothing of it but she returned with her drunk husband and buddy to berate me.  Some choice quotes, “This is no longer whimsical.  I’m on the committee.  You’re an idiot! You ruined the park.  You’re an idiot! I worked hard on this park and you ruined it.   You brought a gun to the park.  You must have voted for Bush.  You’re an idiot! You don’t understand kids.  I’m sending this picture to the parks dept, the artist and the cops.  You’re an idiot!”  So feedback has been mixed so far.  I will say the bums bbg’ing in the background loved it.  And a bunch of other folks coming by, but I suspect you’ll hear first from this crazy lady.

If you get called to cut off the gun, I’d love to get it back, I spent way too much time and effort to get this on there.  I am bummed my welder wasn’t penetrating like I’d hoped, so I had to lay down way to much in futile attempt to attach.   The kids torso was breaking loose from the pants so I figured I better act on my fantasy cooked up after endless swinging sessions a few weeks ago.

I still am hoping to get your assistance on my backyard project I talked to you about awhile ago.  Or you can tell me I’m an idiot.  Turns out I kinda like that.

Hope to see you soon,

He adds “Would hate to have this summarily removed without input from all my fellow wallinghood peace mongers! Personally I think this kicks ass, but really what do I know.”

So, Wallingford, what do you think?

  1. Chris W. said,

    I think it kicks ass! And if anyone thinks the imagery is violent & shouldn’t involve a gun, just ask yourself if you or your kids have ever been photographed straddling a cannon. Every kid in my family has, and nobody thinks twice about it.

    Good work, Marc. Love it!

    Sun, July 3 at 10:42 am
  2. Michael said,

    Personally, I think it is like adding graffiti to a mural. Make your own art.

    Sun, July 3 at 10:49 am
  3. John Scott Tynes said,

    The world is chock full of ugly, violent things and that park is a lovely place to be apart from that world. The gun you made is simply ugly and violent; if you wanted an ironic juxtoposition there is a long list of options and styles you could have explored other than this lackluster brute-force approach.

    You’re no Banksy.

    Sun, July 3 at 11:13 am
  4. Maggie said,

    Funny, but out of place in a family park. When the homeless drunks are the most appreciative fans, there are better places to display your work.

    Sun, July 3 at 11:19 am
  5. Frank said,

    Not sure if i agree with the artist’s actions entirely, but people need to calm down. Look at it. It’s a cartoonish, whimsical “gun”, not some symbol of violence.

    One thing I’m sure of, this “Jeanne” person sounds like an annoying self-righteous individual who I would not enjoy the company of.

    Sun, July 3 at 11:21 am
  6. Bruno said,

    I think its sweet! Am I the only one that sees irony here? We need more art like this, especially in Wallingford. Nice work Marc!

    Sun, July 3 at 11:24 am
  7. Jeanne said,

    I am the so-called “crazy-lady.”. And my husband wasn’t drunk, he was horrified that someone would do this to a public art piece. I was a volunteer for the Friends of Meridian Playgroud group that raised the funds and worked with the city to renovate the playground when it fell into disrepair 10 years ago. We, based on our talks with all of the neighbors, commissioned the original artist who created all of the sculptures to create whimsical and playful pieces. The neighborhood, the City, and our group, did not contract for machine gun imagery. In addition to defacing a charming sculpture, the vandal also welded with a mask to protect his own face but in front of other people, including his own baby (!) who had no eye protection. The vandal was extraordinarily rude and kept arguing that machine guns are what kids want these days. As far as I am concerned, this is not the point. He defaced a piece of public art with imagery he wanted. This is not the place for him to display his own work. If he truly believes that he is an artist and should have his art displayed in public parks, they he needs to participate in the process of getting hired as a public art artist. Vandalizing other people’s art and calling is justified because he is an “artist” is arrogant in the extreme.

    Sun, July 3 at 11:28 am
  8. bb said,

    It’s amusing, but I have to agree it needs to go.

    It’s a public playground for small children.

    Many parents in the neighborhood, if not most, try to minimize their child’s exposure to this sort of violent imagery. You may not be bothered by this soft of thing, but let’s have some respect for other people.

    There’s no reason to impose it on other families.

    Sun, July 3 at 11:40 am
  9. Eric said,

    I worked with Meridian School and the Wallingford Community Council on the park renovation and led the expansion a few years ago. I don’t think we had any crazy ladies on the committee at the time.

    The sculptures in the back area were designed to be whimsical and inspired by children’s books. The sculptures at the front of the park are designed to evoke the past use of the site as a catholic school for girls. All were done by Patrick Maher.

    I’m sure we wouldn’t have chosen a submachine gun at the time, but I love that people are doing additions instead of destroying stuff. We’ve previously had problems with people knocking the sculptures off the plinths and of course the ripping off of the boy’s arm off in the first place. Great to see them brought up to date with a cyborg addition :)

    BTW- if you’re interested in getting involved with further improving Meridian Playground, please contact me at [email protected]. Also, if you see or hear any suspicious activity around the park, please contact 911- their patrols are based on how many calls they receive, and Seattle Police told us to not be shy about calling 911 to report activity.

    Sun, July 3 at 12:00 pm
  10. King G said,



    Remove it, or someone else will.

    Sun, July 3 at 12:00 pm
  11. Eric said,

    Also, I should add that the boy used to have a sword, so it’s not like he had a flower or a peace sign that got replaced with a machine gun. Apparently the sword wasn’t a strong enough weapon to save his arm, so now he’s back and looking for sweet, sweet revenge.

    It will be interesting to see how the parks department chooses to handle this. I suppose if enough people complain they’ll remove it, but I think that would be sad. I would rather people had chosen to get involved when the boy’s arm was ripped off in the first place.

    Sun, July 3 at 12:07 pm
  12. Jenny said,

    Seems a bit of a narcissistic approach, to alter the work of someone else and leave it up to the public to decide if your whimisical addition stays or not. Kind of a cheap shot and a good way to generate free press for yourself too. Tired, derivative, been done, no thanks.

    Sun, July 3 at 12:51 pm
  13. brady said,

    Unfortunately banksy hasn’t made it to Wallingford, but this appears to be the next best thing. The fact that there was already an arm missing makes this addition for me that is pretty cool We have a small child and this doesn’t seem to me to be an unnecessary violent image for me child. I appreciate the irony. Obviously this is a gray area, but I think it is pretty cool.

    Sun, July 3 at 12:59 pm
  14. Blue said,

    It’s arrogant to assume we would all approve and it’s lazy to tack onto someone else’s art.

    Sun, July 3 at 1:02 pm
  15. Ryan said,

    It’s awesome. Keep keep keep.

    Sun, July 3 at 1:11 pm
  16. Josh said,

    There’s always two sides to a story.

    #1: Over-reactive people who think any sign of a weapon is going to scar children and they’ll turn into the next Columbine killers, really annoy me.

    #2: Second, I respect parents decisions to not allow their children to view images of violence (I hope you don’t own Super Mario brothers or any other type of video game. Don’t let them watch any movie or tv either. While you’re at it, toss the computer out the window, oh wait, it’s Seattle, Recycle it :).

    #3: Think about this from a child’s perspective. I’m a young impressionable young man between the ages of 7-12 and you know what? That statue is cool! He’s not killing anybody, he’s not shooting the gun, he just has a big cool looking gun. In fact I think he looks like a solder standing to guard the park, I like it. I guess maybe I was raised differently than some? My Dad taught me about guns and their safety, had guns in the house, taught me responsibility with a BB gun..ect.

    Gun’s don’t kill people, people kill people. I liked what Eric said in his posts. If the sailor already had a sword, what’s really the big deal with a big gun?

    Your children are exposed to way more than you think, everywhere you go. A happy go lucky sailor fighting off “bad guys” is probably the least of your worries.

    Thanks Marc for fixing the statue, maybe we should all step up and take a bigger part in our community instead of griping about somebody who just sent a pretty clear message.

    Sun, July 3 at 1:51 pm
  17. Megan said,

    I like it – sounds like the sculpture needed to be repaired anyway. People are taking this way too seriously. Shall we also remove the Lenin statue in Fremont because kids will start becoming communists?

    Sun, July 3 at 2:02 pm
  18. Wallyhood said,

    FYI: I removed one comment from this thread. Reminder on our politeness policy: saying “you are an idiot” is not acceptable on this blog, those comments will be removed. Saying “your IDEAS are idiotic” is acceptable, if not ideal. Saying “I disagree with your ideas for the following reason” is best.

    Sun, July 3 at 2:13 pm
  19. Breadbaker said,

    You don’t mess with public art, period. Some years ago, someone decided to remove the green patina on the statue of Chief Sealth and ended up doing thousands of dollars of damage to it. Moreover, it’s another artist’s work. You have no right–legally or morally–to decide how you’re going to “fix” it.

    Sun, July 3 at 2:17 pm
  20. Mello said,

    I think it is even more whimsical now.

    Sun, July 3 at 2:17 pm
  21. DB said,

    Won’t somebody please think of the children!

    Sun, July 3 at 2:18 pm
  22. Flash said,

    As a kid I’m sure I would have loved this.

    As an adult I love this.

    Sun, July 3 at 2:21 pm
  23. Chris Witwer said,

    KIRO just covered this, and say the police found that no crime has been committed.

    Sun, July 3 at 2:37 pm
  24. Meredith said,

    I think the outrage seems out of proportion given that one weapon was replaced with another. Guaranteed, most of the ‘innocent’ children people are trying to protect already own scores of Star Wars figurines with guns, Transformer toys with weapons, and many other toys which support the violence so many vehemently object to. This isn’t going to scar any kid on that playground.

    Get over it.

    Sun, July 3 at 3:06 pm
  25. Lincolngrad said,

    The man should be arrested and charged with crimial mischief. He is nothing but a vandal.

    What next, making over the Fremont troll? I suppose the recent vandalization of it is perfectly OK with him!! Maybe someone should paint clothes on “Waiting for the Interurban”? Then you would not have the tradition of dressing them for different holidays, etc The man faced dog is of questional taste to some. Maybe someone should change that. If you know the histroy about that you would see what I mean. Clothes can be removed. They do not damage the sculpture.

    When I have visitors I take them on a tour of Seattle showing them all of the street art. Even when the ball and chain was put on the hammering man the stealth artists padded the shackle so that no damage was done to the sculpture. It was easily removed.

    Welding something on a piece of public art in the manner he did is a criminal act of vandalism regardless of belief or intention of the person who is doing it. His action was idiotic, therefore idiotic used as a noun is more than appropriate for him.

    Actually he is much worse than that.

    The sculpture was not his to alter, repair or vandalize.

    The Sculpture in Myrtle Edwards Park “Ajacent. Against, and Upon”, when it first was put in place some one working in the parks department thought that the large rocks were just dumped there and they were getting ready to remove them when they were told that was the art. (sculpture). So if you do not like the art do not look at it. Leave it alone. .

    Sun, July 3 at 3:18 pm
  26. Josh said,

    Really the most serious thing is welding in front of others including small children with no eye protection. If that is true, he really should be charged with reckless endangerment. He could have permanently damaged someone’s eyesight.

    I also agree he is just a self serving vandal, not an artist. You have to earn the right to display your work in public, not just force it on everyone.

    Sun, July 3 at 3:45 pm
  27. csh said,

    Keep. It honors and enhances the whimsicality of the site. It makes me proud of my neighborhood.

    Look, people: the sculpture was broken and no one else fixed it. The volunteer artist contacted the contracted artist to notify him/her. This is as close as Seattle is ever going to get to renegade public art.

    I think it rocks. My child and her posse love it.

    All you buzzkills can exit throught the gift shop.

    You can exit through the gift shop.

    Sun, July 3 at 4:04 pm
  28. Old Crow said,

    I like it.
    Its funny.
    Kids see far worse than this in television and video games.
    I am taking my kids to have their picture taken – before the little old ladies get it ‘fixed’.

    hey – think of all the free press you are getting – i didn’t even know this park existed and now I want come visit!

    Sun, July 3 at 4:26 pm
  29. Emily said,

    I am perplexed…isn’t this vandalism and against the law no matter how we as individuals feels about it?

    Otherwise, what is protecting public property from all of us imposing our own agendas on it?

    I am very sensitive to the use of color architecturally. To my knowledge, if I decided to paint the town to my tastes I would be arrested.

    Sun, July 3 at 4:33 pm
  30. Lisa said,

    Greetings from Boston. Hello to all who are and were involved in this project over 10 years ago. I was the volunteer project manager for this renovation and met with Pat many, many times when we commissioned these works. I have to say as a parent and professor of early childhood education that while I see the artistic quality of this addition, I feel there are enough violent images of guns as power symbols around us. Children have become desensitized to these images via video games, cartoons, etc. You know the story. I am left wondering how this would have gone over in South Seattle neighborhoods….do you as the artist and those who think it is whimsical have the luxury of believing so given that your daily lives are relatively free of the violence some children experience daily? So, while the addition is technically interesting, the justification behind the addition is faulty. However, I also assert it may raise conversations for families about why the glorification of weapons as symbols of power is so prevalent, and what would cause someone to do such a thing to a piece of public art. Even with the inspired conversation…ultimately it needs to go – and hopefully this artist can find another venue.

    Sun, July 3 at 5:16 pm
  31. Eric said,

    Hello Boston!

    When Lisa moved on I took over the reigns on Friends of Meridian Playground and arranged for the subsequent playground renovation and matching grant.

    The reason I differ from Lisa here is that the sculpture has been in a vandalized state for a long time. The arm was twisted off several years ago. It was art before it was wrecked, and now it is art again.

    It stayed wrecked for so long as Patrick wasn’t interested in the repair work and I wasn’t motivated to find someone who could do matching work. Nobody else was taking action either- this is the first I’ve heard of Jeanne despite a very extensive process on upgrading the park.

    So when I look at the sculpture, I am not comparing it to the little boy with the sword, I’m comparing it to the semi-demolished state it was in last week. This art addition is already invaluable in that it gets people talking about the playground and hopefully leads to a revitalized Friends of Meridian Playground.

    In other words, if someone wants to pursue getting a new sculpture put in to replace this one, please let me know! I will gladly work with you.

    Sun, July 3 at 5:29 pm
  32. Jonathan said,

    Just a note, freaking out about something so minor in front of your children will do more harm than any cartoonishly sculpted gun, any day of the week.

    I would love to see this addition stay as it is. I like the original conception of the art in the park, and I find this addition inoffensive, enhancing, entertaining and thought provoking. When does public art provoke any thoughts around here aside from, “how high were they when they commissioned that!?” Nothing really springs to mind.

    I’ve had many, many discussions about public art over the years with thoughtful people, both artists and non-artists, and the only consensus is that the vast majority of public art in Seattle is ugly and banal and might have been plucked from the reject bin of a 1971 sculpture contest.

    Good luck little soldier, and godspeed.

    Sun, July 3 at 5:38 pm
  33. Shelly said,

    So, if I understand correctly, sculpture was busted, and from what I have read here, original artist did not fix it. New artist did, with a twist. Probably should have asked first, but it does appear he made contact with original artist. Have we heard from him re his thoughts on this?

    There is already a lot of “violence” out there for our children to see. I like the comment from Eric who worked on the renovation… referring to the new limb as an updated “cyborg addition”. Lighten up about the gun issue folks. There are far larger things for parents to worry about with their children, that weren’t caused by a cartoonish representation of a firearm. I’d rather take my 4 kids to this park with it’s Navy Sailor sporting a service appropriate prosthesis, than to one with broken sculptures showing obvious disrepair.

    Sun, July 3 at 5:40 pm
  34. Crystal said,

    I, for one, will be taking my children to ENJOY this new addition before someone with idiotic ideas attempts to destory it.

    Wallingford never used to be the neighborhood of people with sticks up their hoo-ha’s but apparently it has changed…so to those people I say but one thing, move.

    Sun, July 3 at 5:55 pm
  35. Mimi said,

    I say. “NO” to guns.

    Sun, July 3 at 5:56 pm
  36. Relax said,

    This upgrade is great! I say they let the artist upgrade more of the statues… Not only did he fix it, but it came out of his pocket. Kudos Marc!!!

    Sun, July 3 at 6:06 pm
  37. Kristin said,

    I’m sorry to see the artist’s email copied verbatim. It’s pretty cruel toward the “crazy lady”, a woman who turned out to have web someone who dedicated a lot of time to helping provide a wondeful park we all love. I wish that we could be respectful to one another as a community whether we agree with each other or not.

    Sun, July 3 at 6:41 pm
  38. MaryW said,

    I love it, love the whole concept and project and artist who took the leap and just did it (thank you!). Hope it stays…believe Wallingford could use more quirky rogue art–and music, too, for that matter. Embrace it, love it, welcome it, encourage it, keep it.

    Sun, July 3 at 6:56 pm
  39. just4today said,

    If he’s the great artist he seems to think he is, why does’t he leave other people’s work alone and get his own commissions? And he’s a hypocrite, to boot! Messing up one person’s piece and then asking the original artist to give him his garbage back if the original piece is restored. It should go into the garbage, and he should be charged with vandalism.

    Sun, July 3 at 7:03 pm
  40. NeenB said,

    I have to agree with Emily. Beyond my opinion as to whether I think its appropriate for a kid’s park, how is not considered vandalism? I’m an artist, and I would want someone to get my permission to “add to” my work. In a mutual respect, I don’t go around changing up other people’s artwork. (and even if I tried, I would get arrested, right?)

    Sun, July 3 at 7:14 pm
  41. Barney Gravel said,

    Get the kids familiar with weapons now. In twenty years the military will be the only job around. The draft will be back but in a gentler way than during Vietnam. This time you’ll be able to choose where to defend America, fight for freedom, and export Democracy: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Iran or China.

    As a piece of art this isn’t much and would have been much more effective installed at the entrance of some corporation making billions off America’s wars-like Boeing for instance.

    Sun, July 3 at 7:14 pm
  42. Kris said,

    I love it!!!

    Sun, July 3 at 7:15 pm
  43. Dave said,

    Let me get this straight: “I removed one comment from this thread. Reminder on our politeness policy: saying “you are an idiot” is not acceptable on this blog, those comments will be removed”

    But calling someone crazy and calling someone else a drunk…as long as you approve of the viewpoint of the offender. That’s hypocrisy. It’s fine, but let’s not pretend that the purveyors of this for-profit .org are interested in civility in both directions.

    And this is vandalism. Arty vandalism. I’m guessing that many of the supporters don’t live nearby or use the park or have kids. But I could be wrong and it doesn’t even matter. I would like to find this articts public works and alter them for him. I’m guessing he has not had many commissioned, however.

    Sun, July 3 at 7:28 pm
  44. Dan said,

    Regardless of whether your readers think it appropriate or not, it’s vandalism akin to tagging a mural. It needs to go.

    Sun, July 3 at 7:38 pm
  45. shirley said,

    I think the salient points are that it is messing with another artists’ work. Damaged or not. And, if it is true, welding when others are around, while protecting your own eyes, but disregarding other people, is not the right thing to do.

    Sun, July 3 at 8:41 pm
  46. Dan said,

    Just got back from hack-sawing the gun off the sculpture. The parks department has the machine gun. Case closed.

    Sun, July 3 at 9:03 pm
  47. Jeanne said,

    Earlier this evening, a Parks and Recreation employee came and cut off the machine gun part that was welded onto the sculpture. The original artist of the piece did not authorize the “addition” as the vandal claimed he did. And the machine gun piece is now at Parks and Rec should the vandal wish to reclaim his property.

    Sun, July 3 at 9:05 pm
  48. Mark said,

    I love it! Am going to see it before someone destroys it in the name of the children…

    People should calm down and take it easy. There is enough irony and workmanship in the piece that it easily passes the threshold from vandalism to art. This can’t be compared to tagging the troll. No one before had concerns over the previous state of the piece. Seattle is supposed to be the kind of hip and funky place where things like this occur occasionally as part of the city’s culture. Clearly if he picked something other than a gun, there would not be the current uproar over this.

    Shall we remove the artillery pieces from Woodland park? Those are real guns that point down into the zoo parking lot. Do you keep your kids away from the zoo because of those?

    If you didn’t tell a child about this in advance, but instead took them there and let them run around, they probably wouldn’t pay more than a couple seconds notice to it. Of course, now that the adults have made it such an issue, it’s all the children will notice.

    I am against vandalism, but I like this. It’s should stay.

    Sun, July 3 at 9:15 pm
  49. justin said,

    i am an artist from wallingford where i have lived for close to 15 years. rogue art is cool, but not when it can disturb kids. some kids have moms and dads at war in iraq or afghanistan, and are worried daily about their safety. this might have been a place they could be free of that worry for a while. not any more. it is a gun. a machine gun. gun’s like this are used for one thing, killing people.

    playgrounds for very young children are supposed to be a respite from the negative aspects of reality. that is why the community chooses to put up whimsical, fun, youth oriented art there.

    yes, here is a tradition of dressing things up and expressing ourselves by modifying public art in seattle. the stone bus riders in fremont wear a different outfit every few days. however, the guy hasn’t put a funny hat on the piece in wallingford. you actually hacked off its arm. if someone hacked of the arm of one of the stone sculptures in fremont, people would be pissed and the city would cite them with a ticket or misdemeanor. how is this any different?

    seems to me like marc is looking for attention.

    also, how does the other artist feel about their work being messed up? seems very narcissistic/selfish of the second welder.

    Sun, July 3 at 9:38 pm
  50. Eric said,

    Crazy Drunks 1, Vandals 0?

    I should have seen this coming though- if someone changes a park outside proper processes and even 1 person complains, then the parks department has a policy to undo the change. There are many major changes in local parks that have not gone through any sort of process, but since people did not complain the changes were not undone. The Woodland Park bike jumps are one example- that was a citizen effort where nobody complained, and now they’re grandfathered in.

    So I will once again appeal to anyone that is interested in fixing up and further developing the park to contact me at [email protected]. I tried to fix up the water run but couldn’t get design changes through the parks department, and then there’s maintenance issues like a little metal boy with a decapitated arm to worry about.

    Sun, July 3 at 9:39 pm
  51. Fill said,

    And now Jeanne can sleep better tonight.

    Sun, July 3 at 9:44 pm
  52. Tracy said,

    Glad it was removed. Not because it was a machine gun, but because it sets a bad precedent to allow original art to be altered or destroyed. If “Marc” wanted to add a piece of permanent art to the park, he needs to work the with Friends of Meridan Park committee and get it done that way. It’s not that hard to do, and they’d be over the moon about it. Oh and Marc? Next time protect your kid’s eyes – you should totally know better. Bad dad move.

    If there is any good out of this, maybe someone will work with the park folks and/or the original artist, and get the piece repaired properly.

    Sun, July 3 at 9:49 pm
  53. Junipero said,

    It doesn’t matter what the actual addition was – there’s no good justification for altering someone else’s artwork. It’s no different from spraying graffiti on a mural or decapitating a statue. The artist who added the gun needs to find his own place to install his art. If this had been left on, then it would be declaring open season on all existing public works of art.

    Sun, July 3 at 9:53 pm
  54. Forrest said,

    I went by the park, (correctly) assuming that if I didn’t go look now, it’d be gone. Parks was there, the gun was being attacked by hacksaw & sawzall, I met Jeanne (who is decidedly *not* crazy, btw) and some neighbors w/ differing POVs. Channel 5 showed up, so you can probably relive the excitement any moment…

    Sun, July 3 at 9:59 pm
  55. Blue said,

    Thanks parks dept and Jeanne. It’s disturbing to think that public art can be permanently modified without any consent or process- at least it appears to have limits within our parks. Glad that we could stand up for playgrounds and kids!

    Sun, July 3 at 10:07 pm
  56. wow said,

    great to see the forces for good were riled up and marshalled to victory. Now you can get back to not giving a crap about these sculptures. None of you cared for the past two years but great to have you out now, “contributing to the process.” The children and their fragile psyches are now saved.

    Sun, July 3 at 10:17 pm
  57. Minne-ha-ha said,

    Eric, you got the score wrong. Also, that sailor boy is about kids pretending–he has a paper hat and a wooden sword (well, he did….). That machine gun is not in any way like what had been there before and altered the statue’s intent completely. Don’t support it just becuase the real artist wasn’t in a hurry to fix the vandalism.

    By the way, how can you build community using language like “crazy” and “drunk” to describe your neighbors? Or does the “?” absolve you? If so, perhaps the new score is:
    Community: 1, Self-Important Jackass Emporer of Ice Cream and His Craptastic Pseudoartist Pal: 0 ?

    Sun, July 3 at 10:21 pm
  58. Leo said,

    If kids can’t climb on it or ride it, I doubt they even give a crap about it. This was purely about the adults here.

    Sun, July 3 at 10:52 pm
  59. Eric said,

    When I said “Crazy Drunks 1, Vandals 0?” I was making a joke about the name calling not being productive. I don’t think Marc is a vandal any more than I think Jeanne is a crazy drunk.

    Sun, July 3 at 11:02 pm
  60. Paul said,

    Honestly, what a pitiful group of people who seem to believe they are they ones who can define art. Seattle should be ashamed of itself today for allowing a few pea brains to take down a wonderful conversation piece. Just one step closer to California.

    Sun, July 3 at 11:16 pm
  61. Domenic said,

    I’m gonna play armchair artist for a moment. With the Fourth tomorrow, Marc should’ve welded a Revolutionary War-era musket and fixed bayonet.

    Sun, July 3 at 11:42 pm
  62. Ben said,

    Eric, it’s nice to know that we have folks like you in the driver’s seat around here. Your comments were right on as far as I’m concerned. It’s disappointing that people only started caring when the “original art” was altered, despite the fact that it was in horrible disrepair for the last two years without any attention and without any willingness from the artist to fix it. I much prefer any new arm to the sad stump that the poor sailor had for the last few years and has again now.

    Also, I think that the cyborg-transformer arm couldn’t represent any truer expression of imagination. A paper sword?? Boring and unimaginative. Cartoonish robot gun arm? Awesome!! Seriously. Ask any 7-year-old, and they will tell you there is absolutely no contest. The level of violence was no different, but the wacky, kid-friendly whimsicality was a huge improvement.

    I vote for the robo-gun-arm to be reclaimed from Parks and for it to be reattached by whatever “process” needs to happen to satisfy the overprotective neighbors.

    Sun, July 3 at 11:46 pm
  63. John Scott Tynes said,

    I know it’s really easy to mock “process” and “committees” and so on, but it’s exactly the hard work of all those process-oriented people who made that park happen in the first place. There wouldn’t be a park or a statue or a playground for Marc to use as his canvas if it wasn’t for all the long, boring hours of meetings and paperwork and approvals that people gave their time for.

    It’s romantic to cherish the rebel and the spontaneous act. There’s no romance in bureaucracy. But I really wish we had a lot more neighbors willing to invest that kind of time and effort and I’ll happily value it higher than a one-off glory hog who thinks it’s cool to piss in public.

    Mon, July 4 at 12:01 am
  64. Anti Dan said,

    I think Dan should be arrested for defacing Marc’s work. Anyone up for a citizens arrest?

    Mon, July 4 at 12:02 am
  65. eM said,

    I think that it doesn’t matter if I like the sculpture or not, I think this blog has missed the point. See #43.

    Mon, July 4 at 12:14 am
  66. jonD said,

    I think it should STAY!, absolutely. Art is not like it used to be, immutable and permanent, elitist and isolated… art is adaptive and community, it is a living breathing part of many people’s lives… it is obvious that Wallingford is conservative and republican, and so will try to keep progress and change from occurring… Dan should have taken his art down to Seattle Art Museum and instead of a ball and and chain on the working man, which I thought was WONDERFUL… given him a machine gun. Contrary to all you neigh sayers…. graffiti is NOW MAINSTREAM!

    Mon, July 4 at 12:18 am
  67. Dan said,

    Oh but I’m an artist too. And I thought the new arm was a bit long so I “fixed” it. Isn’t in great that we live in a city when we can do whatever we like to public property so long as we call ourselves “artists?” Hoo-effing-ray!

    Mon, July 4 at 12:21 am
  68. Jonathan said,

    I hope all the concerned parents embrace this teachable moment by bringing their kids to see this no-longer-interesting sculpture and explaining that when something unexpected happens, you can wave your arms around and make a fuss and a nice man with a hacksaw will come and make everything better.

    Mon, July 4 at 1:20 am
  69. Lilagirl said,

    Dear Wallingford residents that support art vandalism,

    I’m an artist and I decided I’m going to buy several buckets of yellow and purple paint and throw them on your houses’ facades. I’m doing art so no one can criticize me or prosecute me for “adding” some color to your (boring) upper-middle class house. I’m even thinking about asking Marc to help and guide me.

    Hopefully, you’ll support me the same way you have supported Marc. Because, apparently, there’s nothing wrong with altering other people’s work. That means I have your full support to go change your home.

    I’m cute and whimsical. Applaud me for my willingness to contribute with your curb appeal.


    Mon, July 4 at 1:52 am
  70. Ex-patsy said,

    At this point, it seems to me like the provok-able have been quite provoked.
    But Seattle’s art scene sucks generally, and its public art sucks specifically. Which is probably why this piece was allowed to fall into disrepair. That, or because it totally sucked in the first place.
    This is definitely an artistic statement, not mere vandalism, and it totally overwhelms the original artists’ intention. For me this brings up very complicated feelings and I see it as problematic. Not sure yet where I stand on this issue…
    Definitely art can be created that destroys other art. Just think of an artist painting over their own canvas.
    That this wasn’t an artist’s own work that was altered seems, prima facie, to be a violation of the autonomy of the original artist. However, it was a *public* work of art. The addition was made by a member of the public. One can act as an agent on behalf of the public, just think of a citizen’s arrest. (Please, Lawyers, this is a philosophical point, put your ordinances and precedents down and move away from the keyboard).
    It is pretty funny that there was a sword in the earlier sculpture that didn’t cause a neighborhood committee to remove the sculpture entirely. It’s not like watching your entrails fall out because you are gutted is any prettier than being riddled with bullets. And kids can get their hands on a sword facsimilie that can do a lot of damage a lot quicker than a gun.

    If the anti-gun people in this thread and in the neighborhood had any imagination, they would have burned a hole in the tip of the gun and made it into a flower holder, cycling fresh flowers in continually. But they don’t, reflecting the larger passive aggressive culture generally. Which is why I moved back to NYC after three years in Fremont.

    Mon, July 4 at 2:07 am
  71. The After said,

    I think most would agree that Marc should have asked the original artist if he can change the work. However I would question what all of the people up in arms about protecting the sanctity of the park will do now. You chopped the arm off the boy, will you leave the park in disrepair as it was before someone took the initiative to fix it? Or do you actually care about the park to enough to contact Eric and help out. I would venture a guess that if this Marc had simply showed up with a plasma cutter and took the statue home it would not have been noticed. Or if he removed the arm like he did and welded a new, similar, one on. Would we call it vandalism then and wish to punish him? Or would we congratulate him on keeping his community in good shape? The issue is purely the machine gun.

    Also I to add,. He.wore a welder’s helmet because he needed to look directly into the light to see where he was welding. I doubt he called everyone ever to do the same knowing they did not have one. I would like to believe he told everyone to look away or at least not directly into the light, thus making it not harmful. So I would think twice before casting aspersions on this man just because he did something you didn’t like.

    I also find it quite laughable that everyone says this is for the kids when I am fairly sure I am the youngest one posting here… yet I am not calling anyone names or the like.

    Eric, I heed your call and expect an email from me soon. I hope others do the same, eventhough its a little harder than saying things from behind a screen and keyboard.

    Mon, July 4 at 2:58 am
  72. Andy said,

    I personally wouldn’t have welded something vaguely gunlike onto a statue in a city park, but I think it was an improvement over a long-broken statue, and guerrilla art is always about taking chances, and I applaud that. In a community not dominated by the obsessive-insane, people would have debated whether or not the statue should have his new limb amputated, or possibly even have a new one made (and with the gun barrel stuffed full of flowers as the debate goes on, naturally). Instead, people who have nothing better to do with their time not only dominate the committees that put this art in in the first place, their histrionics are able to get a formerly broken statue re-broken in record time.

    I also agree with Ex-patsy’s statement above and would remind people that they shouldn’t be so shocked when public art invites a public response, *especially* when that art is broken or otherwise dysfunctional.

    Mon, July 4 at 3:20 am
  73. Andy said,

    Also, anyone comparing this to tagging a mural is horribly misguided. This would be much more like someone painting over a destroyed portion of a mural with their own art in their own style. It may or may not match the original style and intention of the mural, but someone cared enough put work into it, and the first response to someone taking initiative is to hurry up and paint over it.

    And to those who think that the original artist’s work should be sacrosanct, you’d better put your money where your mouth is and make sure you scream as vocally when an arm goes missing from a statue as when a new noncompliant one appears. And @69, if you’re going to start throwing paint, I’d suggest you start with the houses that need paint, just like the guerrilla artist here started with a statue that needed an arm. (For the record, if my art sat broken and then someone finally cared enough to fix it up, regardless of whether I agreed with the change I’d appreciate that they actually *cared* enough about it to do something, unlike the rest of those who were apparently content to let my work lie broken.)

    Mon, July 4 at 3:48 am
  74. Bansdidos Vince said,

    Everyone should stop being so hippy like and relax. It was a sculpture of a gun. It’s not like a live perso. Was there trying to give the children a sample of drugs or sell them a gun.

    Next time paint a orange tip on the art piece. That way everyone knows the gun isn’t real.

    Mon, July 4 at 6:25 am
  75. Hik Bikski said,

    Thanks to everyone who commented without insulting others and to the volunteers who re-invigorated the park.

    — another Crazy Lady

    Mon, July 4 at 8:53 am
  76. Lisa said,

    It’s nice to see that artists really can create art without any financial assistance from that ridiculous “1% for Art” program.

    Mon, July 4 at 9:05 am
  77. DOUG. said,

    Volunteerism is noble, but it does not equal ownership. I’m sorry to see the Parks Department react so swiftly to just one or two outraged voices. I appreciate what Marc tried to do here. And I hope he keeps it up.

    Mon, July 4 at 9:20 am
  78. Nancy M said,

    DOUG, what do you make of Comment #60?

    Mon, July 4 at 9:27 am
  79. phil said,

    I like it, You urban liberal pussies need to stfu. Go eat some tofu and get over it.

    Mon, July 4 at 9:37 am
  80. Marc said,

    I can’t say I’m surprised but I am disappointed in the lack of imagination evidenced amongst the righteous. I didn’t dive into the fray here yesterday, I was honestly a bit taken aback that my original mail was made public. Lesson learned: never forward materials to blogger you wouldn’t see leaked to the web. I was just hoping Wallyhood would put up a simple vote widget to gauge the feelings of the neighborhood. I would have removed the pejoratives from the mail, well at least called them hobos. Like others in the past, my interest in this playground and the park have peaked with my period of daily, sometimes twice on weekends, visits with my young boys. I didn’t do this for the fame or attention, I did this because I thought it was fun. This one sculpture, unlike the others, is not made to last due to a combination of design oversights and vandalism. The overalls are the support, but water gets inside the pants and the torso is just rotting out of there. I personally love Pat Maher’s work, I’ve taken classes from him and recommend him above any blacksmithing instructor in town. My one hope is he gets some valuable publicity from this brouhaha and folks remember to look him up for metal work projects large and small. You can see his amazing work at and visit his studio in Ballard. I never told anyone I had permission for this work, duh, graffiti style! I thought I did enough to make this gun look like the over the top comic book, cartoon, video game style weapons it is meant to emulate but obviously not. In hindsight, maybe a 50s style ray gun would have been better. To me, this was just a fun addition that would hopefully prolong the life of this piece and start the process of the powers that be pulling together the $$ to have Pat do a replacement piece. This can’t really be fixed in place and the work needs to be changed to last longer. I would recommend at a minimum creating a new shirt that meets the inside edge of the pants so water doesn’t enter. I think some new hands, clasped around a open bottomed vase that faces the girl would be best. That way flowers and whatnot can cycle though, facilitating community involvement and a dynamic element. Or maybe our community committee can workshop something suitably benign and whimsical. I’m mostly glad my 4 year old son was out of town and missed the display by the Sauvages and the short 24 hour life of the blaster as he liked to call it. We do want to keep our children sheltered and having to explain the existence of people like that is something I’d prefer to delay.

    Mon, July 4 at 9:43 am
  81. Dazed said,

    The sculpture should have never have had the gun removed by some random guy who doesnt approve. The sculpture was a piece of garbage before and being ignored until the new addition improved it. (and it did!) I feel like taking a hacksaw to things that I decide are eyesores just cause I feel like I am the only person whose opinion matters. If people dont like what I remove tough because I am the ultimate judge of art and there is a lot of art that I think we’d be better off without. You all might not agree with my choices but I’ll probably hacksaw it anyway.

    Why did you even bother to ask for peoples opinions when it apparently doesn’t matter? Damn your commitees, and unilateral actions Wallingford! Think about the poor children that have to endure your parenting. I bet they all join the army when they grow up just to spite you for not letting them even see guns.

    Mon, July 4 at 9:57 am
  82. Kristin said,

    Marc, thank you for your thoughtful response.

    Mon, July 4 at 10:11 am
  83. Jonathan said,

    If someone decides to raise money to fix this statue, I’d like to see it replaced with a new piece from Pat and the existing piece, along with the re-attached gun, privately displayed in Marc’s front yard.

    Mon, July 4 at 10:17 am
  84. Lincolngrad said,

    The issue is not what he welded on the sculpture or about it being a gun. It is that he is a self absorbed vandal .A Criminal act of vandalism. He talks about taking his children to the park. What a good lesson. It is ok to vandalize something you do not like.

    Mon, July 4 at 10:18 am
  85. bb said,

    We took the kids to see the sculpture before it was cut down.

    It was even funnier to see in person, as the cyborg boy appeared to be aiming at the statue of the girl on stilts, ready to blow her away at any second.

    That said, even setting aside the fact that this is a public park, it was completely inappropriate for the site. The fence it was on wraps around a playground for babies and toddlers. The original sculptures were pastoral, evocative of kids at play in a park. The addition was evocative of violent video games.

    The incongruence made it funny, but not something that makes sense as a permanent addition.

    I do think the level of histrionics on all sides of this has been unnecessary. Calling people “republican” is just going too far.

    Mon, July 4 at 10:34 am
  86. Dazed said,

    He didn’t break anything or take away from what was left of the previous piece. I’m also just about positive the police said he did nothing wrong and broke no laws. Just cause you dont like it doesnt elevate it to the realm of criminal vandalism.

    Mon, July 4 at 10:35 am
  87. Bruno said,

    Oh goody its boring again. Sometimes I hate Wallingford…

    Mon, July 4 at 10:38 am
  88. Tyrone said,

    Marc says “I can’t say I’m surprised but I am disappointed in the lack of imagination evidenced amongst the righteous.” Marc, some people just might not care for your work. It doesn’t mean they are “righteous” and “lack imagination.” They simply might not share your aesthetic.

    I don’t know how you can claim “To me, this was just a fun addition that would hopefully prolong the life of this piece and start the process of the powers that be pulling together the $$ to have Pat do a replacement piece.” Whom do you think you are kidding? Several sentences earlier you state “I didn’t do this for the fame or attention, I did this because I thought it was fun.” So you either did it for attention or you didn’t; which is it?

    Reading your response here – criticizing those who don’t care for your art, and contradicting yourself – makes me doubt the veracity of your side of the story that you sent to the blogger.

    Mon, July 4 at 10:40 am
  89. Fred said,

    Marc, way to go, you shook up the GOODY TWO-SHOES in the area. You are a true artist

    Mon, July 4 at 10:43 am
  90. Brian said,

    Meanwhile, twelve Americans died in far-away places last week from real bullets and real explosions. I’m glad that we all have this controversy over a toy gun to distract us from actual violence that ruins lives.

    Mon, July 4 at 11:19 am
  91. Bruno said,

    This is exactly what art is supposed to do… well done Marc

    Mon, July 4 at 11:28 am
  92. Pug Amigo said,

    Regrettably it is an act of vandalism. Period. Not something that should have been done to some one else art. However, it is not the end of the world as we know it. And what makes far worse is the self righteous chicken keeping crazy lady who calls other people idiots and makes a scene to entertain the local drunks in park. Now the question is which is more shameful, the vandal who should have known better or the goody- two shoes crazy lady who cannot control her temper?

    Mon, July 4 at 11:32 am
  93. Frieda said,

    I think it’s the height of arrogance to decide that someone else’s art either “needs” to be “improved” or altered in some way. Make your own art and don’t sully someone else’s.

    That being said, I would think that when the missing arm or deterioration was noticed that the intelligent solution would have been to contact the artist about fixing it.

    Mon, July 4 at 11:49 am
  94. Ned Devine said,

    Get a life, the gun was cool. The world that exists between your guns=bad mind is fantasy land. Go smoke another bowl hippie. Guns=Freedom, happy 4th!

    Mon, July 4 at 12:03 pm
  95. jck said,

    The vandalism comments are so ridiculous. This was clearly getting to be a piece of junk that the original artist didn’t care enough to fix…. and I’m sorry but a toy gun on a park sculpture is not going to harm children.

    Mon, July 4 at 12:08 pm
  96. M.D.Kat said,

    “Now the question is which is more shameful, the vandal who should have known better or the goody- two shoes crazy lady who cannot control her temper?”


    Mon, July 4 at 12:09 pm
  97. Pug Amigo said,

    M. D. Kat has a good point. It boils down to this. Which is the better role model for the kids that use the park:
    #! The individual that messes with some one else’s art because he can
    #2 The righteous individuals that turn a confrontation in the park into a shouting match with lots of “you idiot” thrown in
    Frankly I don’t want my kids to be subjected to either.
    Gee kids I don’t think you should go to the park anymore. It is filled with angry old ladies, hostile husbands and friends, vandals and don’t forget the homeless drunks. Maybe you should just play out in the street. You will be safer.

    Mon, July 4 at 1:08 pm
  98. Sgt. Peterson PPCLI said,

    Loved it!

    Libtards getting all bent out of shape over art and guns!

    Perhaps if we put up a little statue of Kim Jung-il or Karl Marx or Chavez or, my favorite, Che it will be fine and multicultural and indicative of the struggle to free the masses from the grip of the capitalists pigs who enslave the planet. It will speak truth to power! Oh wait, Obamao is in power!

    It actually looks more like Zurg’s cannon from the Toy Story movies than a machine gun!

    As the artist has been paid who cares what he thinks.
    Let the kids vote on if they wish to keep it! They actually use the place.

    Mon, July 4 at 1:37 pm
  99. Frost said,

    People may disagree with the addition to the sculpture, but I do think that the Seattle Police Department has shown good judgment. It is different than if someone had smashed existing statues or affixed more objectionable “power symbols.”

    Mon, July 4 at 1:39 pm
  100. Jeanne said,

    I’d like to remind everyone that your notion of who I am and how I behave is based on a letter from the vandal that Wallyhood inexplicably chose to reprint in full. In the letter, the vandal needed to paint me a crazy lady doing wacky things in order to defend his actions and portray himself as the poor, artistic victim. He claimed that the original artist gave him full persmission to do what he did. As it turns out, original artist has said that the vandal did not have his consent (or even knowledge) to add anything to the statue.

    Mon, July 4 at 1:40 pm
  101. Sandy said,

    Much ado about nothing…stop arguing with each other and get away from your TV’s and video games. We want this to be a neighborhood, so why not act like one?
    I only read about one thrid of the comments, I don’t have time to read all, but #24 Merideth has hit the nail on the head, and #31 Eric and #32 Jonathan are more of the common sense type, to me. I’m tired of government regulations telling me what I can and cannot do and say. Look at the kids of today. They are so regulated that they can’t even play baseball without having to pay fees to use a park! So sad…for the kids. Everything costs! Thanks to government meddling into our personal lives. Now even adults are making it more difficult to enjoy the parks meant for kids to have fun. Next thing you know, people will start complaining about dressing the statues next to the Greek restaurant! Judgemental and righteous people need to get a grip.

    Mon, July 4 at 1:40 pm
  102. Mark said,

    The bottom line here is a bunch of people overreacted to one guys statement. In reality it is the icon of a weapon that they cannot abide. It has nothing to do with vandalism, arc flashes, or the proximity to children. Grown adults make those claims when they are reacting emotionally and don’t want to own up to or admit their own psychological issues.

    Should the thing have stayed right next to a children’s playground? Maybe not in the long run… But at least leave to the community to decide. As in the whole community, not just the self important few that have decided they are the keepers of a public space with final say and summary execution of authority. You will claim the same argument of the welder, but at least his intent was to improve a deteriorating piece. Your intent was retribution for what was perceived as a personal slight.

    Why couldn’t the update work have been relocated if the location and proximity to the little snowflakes was the real issue? That would open the space up to a more tasteful piece to be installed. After all this controversy, I don’t think there would have been a lack of interest and effort to replace the original rotting piece with something all could approve of.

    Instead we have everyone calling names, some melodramatic chick who’s likening it to throwing paint on houses, and people screaming for criminal charges…

    Ironic that this occurred at a playground. All of these adults are acting like children.

    Mon, July 4 at 1:44 pm
  103. Woof said,

    Angry old liberal ladies really are a buzz kill at a park; anywhere really but especially at parks. To really piss them off I wear my “W still the President” hat! When they snear at you just blow them a kiss! Dated I know but it works every time.

    Liberalism is indeed a mental disease!

    Nice addition to the artwork!

    Mon, July 4 at 1:49 pm
  104. Andy said,

    Ick, way to pointlessly politicize this. Just to balance out the comment above, I’m sure my politics are to the left of of said “angry old liberal ladies”, yet I also find them just as much of a buzzkill as Woof does. (Though to be fair, I guess Jeanne politicized it in the first place if she really said “You must have voted for Bush” as Marc alleges. Even if it sprang from some protective instinct, it’s a really disturbing display of hatred and intolerance, if true.)

    Mon, July 4 at 2:02 pm
  105. Jeanne said,

    What? Wow. I never brought up Bush in the discussion with the vandal, which took all of about 3 minutes. Why do you guys take what the vandal writes as truth?

    Mon, July 4 at 2:49 pm
  106. Bruno said,

    It was actually Jeanne’s husband, Jeff that said Marc probably voted for Bush… just to set the record straight. I dont think Jeanne is “that” crazy…

    Mon, July 4 at 3:06 pm
  107. Bark more, wag less said,

    Personally, I think he should have welded on a giant vibrator, as most of the mothers I meet in Wallingford are in dire need of one.

    Mon, July 4 at 4:01 pm
  108. Nancy M said,

    WOW, a new low! The sexism and anti-feminism going on here and the lack of moderating a meaningful conversation is really stunning (and a missed opportunity) (107: Do you have a daughter or a mother or a sister . . . Really. ) These are neighbors? Getting to “know” each other on this blog? Yikes.

    Mon, July 4 at 4:10 pm
  109. Woof said,

    To #104 Andy,

    You are correct! My comments were directed to “Jeanne” who brought politics into a local matter involving art at a children’s play area at a park. I’ll take Marc’s allegation as true as Jeanne does not deny it in her post.

    Have a Happy Fourth All!!

    Mon, July 4 at 8:42 pm
  110. Claudia said,

    Let’s take the other arm off and called it Venus de Sailor!

    I am with Eric, and Megan, and Andy, and all the others who recognized that the poor little sculpture was already vandalized and this was an update. Maybe not one everyone loved, but not one that deserved such ridiculous outrage. Where were all of you the last two years when the impressionable little tikes could learn that it is ok to leave a vandalized sculpture unprepared? They might think that is “ok”! Really, let’s correct the situation with a nice prosthetic, like so many war heroes get, including little sailor sculptures.

    Mon, July 4 at 11:56 pm
  111. Claudia said,

    Unrepaired, sorry

    Tue, July 5 at 12:00 am
  112. Hik Bikski said,

    (101) “Look at the kids of today. They… can’t even play baseball without having to pay fees to use a park! Everything costs! Thanks to government meddling into our personal lives.”

    Do you think parks are naturally occurring and cost no money to build or maintain? Your meddlesome government PAYS for the fields. The government buys the park land, levels the playing field, maintains the grass and infields and lines and goals and fences. It pays for water fountains, toilets, sewage, lighting, parking lots, landscaping, and a whole lot of vandalism repair. And your government is running short of money.

    Tue, July 5 at 8:23 am
  113. Sparky said,

    @Hik: :”the government” is us…we are the ones paying for it, it belongs to us, the community, society. Not to an individual or some omnipotent entity. We’ve already paid. WE bought the park land, etc. If the government is running short, it’s because not everyone IS paying its share. If the most wealthy paid their taxes the government wouldn’t be “running short.” Our parks belong to us.

    Tue, July 5 at 8:37 am
  114. thatsjarrod said,

    So Marc, is there anything else around the city that you want to “surreptitiously” alter in the middle of the night with his welding gun? How about the Fremont Troll or the Space Needle? And how do you come to these enlightened unilateral decisions as to which of your whimsical “art” ideas should be forced onto the public?

    Tue, July 5 at 8:47 am
  115. Bark more, Wag less said,

    “If the most wealthy paid their taxes the government wouldn’t be “running short.”

    The city of Seattle should implement an income tax?

    Tue, July 5 at 8:51 am
  116. Bark more, Wag less said,

    Btw The wealthiest Americans pay 35% income tax. How much do you pay?

    Tue, July 5 at 9:02 am
  117. walkinroun said,

    I think there’s a couple of folks barking up the wrong tree on this post.

    Tue, July 5 at 9:09 am
  118. Sparky said,

    Don’t know where you’re getting your figures…

    These are from April 2011:

    New data released by the IRS reveals that, over a period of 12 years, tax rates for the richest 400 Americans were effectively cut in half. In 1995, the richest 400 Americans paid, on average, 29.93% of their income in federal taxes. In 2007, the last year for which the IRS has released data, the richest 400 Americans paid just 16.63%.

    In 1995, just 12 of the 400 richest Americans paid an effective tax rat of between zero and 15%. By 2007, that number skyrocketed to over 150. The massive reduction is due to both Bush-era tax reductions for the wealthy and the aggressive exploitation of tax dodges and shelters. (For details, check out the report from BusinessWeek.)

    As their tax rates plummeted, the total income of the richest 400 Americans skyrocketed. In 1995, the combined income of the richest 400 was just over $6 billion. By 2007, the combined income of the richest 400 was almost $23 billion.

    If the richest 400 Americans simply paid the same effective rate in 2007 as they did in 1995, the government would have collected over $3 billion in additional revenue. Some millionaires agree that the reduction has been unfair and have formed a group, Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, to demand higher taxes.

    Tue, July 5 at 9:18 am
  119. Tim said,

    I feel sorry for you people. Jeanne, if you took an ounce of the passion you have for “vandals” and used it for a canned food drive, then I’m sure you would cure hunger in Washington state. Vandals destroy something. Maybe it isn’t art, that’s debatable, but it sure isn’t something that’s been vandalized. For you to continue on your soapbox sure solidifies Marc’s claim in his private email that you are in fact crazy. It is funny how people sit around doing nothing to make their communities better and have the nerve to create such a stir when someone goes out of their way to improve their community on their own.

    Tue, July 5 at 9:48 am
  120. Bark more, Wag less said,

    $3 billion! Wow, the little statue could have been really upsized! Hell, he could have gone full Terminator for that price.

    Of course, the deficit would still be a trillion dollars.

    Tue, July 5 at 9:49 am
  121. Say No To Hyperbole said,

    @ thatsjarrod,

    There is quite a symbolic, artistic, civil, and legal difference between altering the Fremont Troll or the Space Needle and altering a broken sculpture that has been abandoned for years. They are clearly not the same and it’s frustrating hearing you put them in the same category as a way to generate public fear and outrage around this event.

    Using hyperbole to build your argument is irresponsible and turns reasonable coversation into drivel. Its just not helpful. Please just talk about the present sculpture and your reaction to it. This artist’s altering of the little boy statue has nothing to do with The Space Needle or The Troll. Drawing connections to those other more substantial creations distorts the argument around this piece.

    Tue, July 5 at 10:18 am
  122. Tracy said,

    That specific piece is in disrepair and needs replacement. But it is only one component of several that are mounted on the fence surrounding the play area, and they as a whole have a unified, storybook, kid-focused theme. It was never a stand alone sculpture. I hope the Friends of Meridian Playground (which is now quite aware of the newly amped up issue) will be able to commision a repair or replacement that fits in with the entire theme, and I hope the original artist would be willing to work on it. That would help preserve the integrity of the entire installation.
    However, if someone wanted to create a completely new art piece, and go through the steps to get it installed in a public park, that would be great. I worked on a parks improvement committee a few years back (one of the ubiquitous Friends of… groups), and it really was not that hard to get approval. The main two things the parks department cares about are safety and maintenance, which is only fair since once a piece is donated, the parks department takes over all responsibility for it. I know that sounds all boring, and a huge drag, and impinges on organic creativity and whatnot, but Seattle doesn’t have a lot of spare cash for ongoing maintenance right now (as was clear by the disrepair the sailor boy had fallen into). This guerrilla addition seems cute, but there is no guarantee that it won’t quickly break just like the original arm.
    If going through the public process to install public art seems like too much of a hassle, you can always just install a piece in your private yard (and incur all the maintenance and safety costs yourself). Or, you can contact the Friends of Meridian Playground, and write a check for this or other needed playground and art repairs. There are plenty of ways to get involved.

    Tue, July 5 at 12:10 pm
  123. Tracy said,

    That specific piece is in disrepair and needs replacement. But it is only one component of several that are mounted on the fence surrounding the play area, and they as a whole have a unified, storybook, kid-focused theme. It was never a stand alone sculpture. I hope the Friends of Meridian Playground (which is now quite aware of the newly amped up issue) will be able to commision a repair or replacement that fits in with the entire theme, and I hope the original artist would be willing to work on it. That would help preserve the integrity of the entire installation.

    However, if someone wanted to create a completely new art piece, and go through the steps to get it installed in a public park, that would be great. I worked on a parks improvement committee a few years back (one of the ubiquitous Friends of… groups), and it really was not that hard to get approval. The main two things the parks department cares about are safety and maintenance, which is only fair since once a piece is donated, the parks department takes over all responsibility for it. I know that sounds all boring, and a huge drag, and impinges on organic creativity and whatnot, but Seattle doesn’t have a lot of spare cash for ongoing maintenance right now (as was clear by the disrepair the sailor boy had fallen into). This guerrilla addition seems cute, but there is no guarantee that it won’t quickly break just like the original arm.

    If going through the public process to install public art seems like too much of a hassle, you can always just install a piece in your private yard (and incur all the maintenance and safety costs yourself). Or, you can contact the Friends of Meridian Playground, and write a check for this or other needed playground and art repairs. There are plenty of ways to get involved.

    Tue, July 5 at 12:11 pm
  124. Tracy said,

    (sorry for the double post)

    Tue, July 5 at 12:11 pm
  125. thatsjarrod said,

    @Say No To Hyperbole

    Wrong. It is not up to you or Marc to determine scale, and define for the rest of us what is “art” and what is vandalism. There are many things around town that in my opinion are in “disrepair”. But i dont grab my sledgehammer and start “repairing” them as i deem fit. If Marc felt that somehow it was his civic duty to alter this piece then there is a proper way to go about doing it. And that way is not to do it, as he said, “surreptitiously”. Instead he appointed himself judge, jury and executioner of this piece and made this unilateral decision to change it. Then on top of that, he has the nerve to paint Jeanne and her husband as the bad guys here, drunken Bush haters who dragged politics into this silly mess. And half the commenters believe whatever Mr. Surreptitious spoonfeed’s them. Only in Seattle!

    Tue, July 5 at 2:10 pm
  126. Say No To Hyperbole said,

    To be fair, I think you read more into my comment than I actually said. I agree that it shouldn’t be me, Marc, Jeanne, you, or any one person to determine scale or what is considered art. And I by no means see Marc as a hero (though, his actions may ironically instigate a renewal project in the Wallingford park). I was arguing that you can’t acurately compare this act to any series of hypotheticals or other actual offenses without making huge generalization and false parallels. This artist/vandal’s act stands on it’s own and should be judged on it’s own accord in its actual context.

    Lilagirl in comment #69 made the same mistake in taking Marc’s actions with this sculpture and paralleling it to throwing paint on people’s houses. Come on, really?! The two arent the same at all. It’s an unhelpful parallel that does nothing to ground the argument for or against the artist/vandal in the hear and now and ultimately just takes the conversation into hypotheticals, false assumption, and hyperbole that really doesn’t add anything useful to the conversation except to get people riled up.

    I’m talking about sitational ethics. By this I don’t mean that Marc was ethically right, I mean that his actions should be judged in their proper context, not in the made up context of other scenarios.

    On a different note, I’m glad you stated your opinion more directly in your last comment and I agree that the way Jeanne has been painted in this has been unfair. I think the way that Marc has been painted has been unfair too, though. Marc and Jeanne’s values are different, as are many of the people in this forum. That doesn’t make anyone in here (including Marc and Jeanne) crazy or extreme, it makes them human.

    I love reading the debate. Its an interesting moral and value based dilemma. I just don’t like seeing hyperbole obscure an interesting debate.

    One question I would ask in all this is: Does art that has been destroyed by time and nature, and no longer communicates what the artist initially intended cease to be art? It’s an interesting question.

    Tue, July 5 at 3:31 pm
  127. Bark more, wag less said,


    A vibrator addition to the statue is anti-feminist?

    Tue, July 5 at 4:44 pm
  128. thatsjarrod said,

    @Say No To Hyperbole

    Well said. Oddly enough I personally think what Marc did looks kinda cool, I simply question the way in which he went about it. And one day I would be honored to down a few pints with you at Kates Pub and debate the merits of hyperbole! :)

    Tue, July 5 at 9:22 pm
  129. Ben Ball said,

    To Marc the artist,
    I appreciate your positive intent but in hindsight, i think you would agree that the approach was a bit inappropriate. You should have discussed it with the original artist beforehand and get his consent and approval. Based on what i have lived in the hood, I think your description of Jeane and her drunk husband is credible.

    Thu, July 7 at 12:08 am
  130. Brian said,

    No Walter (@130), I don’t. Perhaps I am misreading your poor attempt at sarcasm, but advocating violence against another member of the neighborhood is inappropriate and unkind and reflects poorly on you.

    Fri, July 8 at 7:07 am
  131. Kristin said,

    Walter, that is beyond inappropriate.

    Wallyhood, why doesn’t that qualify as a comment worth removing?

    Fri, July 8 at 2:23 pm
  132. Wallyhood said,

    @Kristin, mostly because I thought he was making a (poor) joke. However, fake e-mail address and an IP address that says the comment was made from New York says ding-ding-ding removed.

    Fri, July 8 at 2:36 pm
  133. Kristin said,

    Thank you

    Fri, July 8 at 2:47 pm
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