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,
Marc

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?

  • Sandy

    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.

  • Mark

    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.

  • Woof

    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!

  • Andy

    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.)

  • Jeanne

    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?

  • Bruno

    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…

  • Bark more, wag less

    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.

  • Nancy M

    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.

  • Woof

    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!!

  • Claudia

    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.

  • Claudia

    Unrepaired, sorry

  • Hik Bikski

    (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.

  • Sparky

    @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.

  • thatsjarrod

    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?

  • Bark more, Wag less

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

    The city of Seattle should implement an income tax?

  • Bark more, Wag less

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

  • walkinroun

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

  • Sparky

    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.

  • Tim

    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.

  • Bark more, Wag less

    $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.

  • Say No To Hyperbole

    @ 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.

  • Tracy

    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.

  • Tracy

    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.

  • Tracy

    (sorry for the double post)

  • thatsjarrod

    @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!

  • Say No To Hyperbole

    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.

  • Bark more, wag less

    “anti-feminism”

    A vibrator addition to the statue is anti-feminist?

  • thatsjarrod

    @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! :)

  • Ben Ball

    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.

  • Brian

    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.

  • Kristin

    Walter, that is beyond inappropriate.

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

  • http://www.wallyhood.org/ Wallyhood

    @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.

  • Kristin

    Thank you

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