The temporary Stella Artois mural advertisement at monOrchid in downtown Phoenix was recently tagged with black spray paint.
The tagger drew the outline of a heart and wrote several short phrases, including "this is an ad" and “this is not art.”
Krissy Emanuele, catering and events manager for monOrchid and Conceptually Social catering company, discovered the tagging the morning of Thursday, June 1.
“I was horrified,” Emanuele says of seeing the tagging when she arrived for work that day. “It’s a really aggressive and cowardly act.”
Wayne Rainey, who owns monOrchid, says he doesn’t know who is responsible for the tagging. But he’s got strong feelings about it on several levels.
“It’s really odd to me how someone would have a sense of ownership about that wall,” Rainey says. “This is nothing but their own ego.”
The mural advertisement is actually a banner with digitized art created by Travis Bedel. It incorporates both desert plant imagery and a chalice used in Stella Artois branding. Bedel previously lived in Phoenix, but is currently based in San Francisco.
Stella Artois paid monOrchid to place it there, as part of a nationwide campaign called The Art of the Chalice. They installed it in late April, and arranged for it to be up for three months. Rainey declined to disclose the amount monOrchid was paid.
The banner covers a mural painted by Phoenix artist Brian Boner, which will be visible again once the Stella Artois banner is removed. Boner's mural was inspired by a homelessness awareness project called I Have a Name, created by Phoenix artist Jon Linton.
"We got their okay before we moved forward with the Stella Artois mural," Rainey says. "And we insisted that Stella Artois create something to go over the Boner mural, rather than painting over it."
The tagger also included the words "people died," which Rainey suspects is a reference to the homelessness theme.
Emanuele notified Stella Artois about the tagging Thursday morning. New Times reached out to Stella Artois for comment, but had not heard back as of this writing.
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At this point, there are no plans to remove the temporary mural, Rainey says. Instead, he’s thinking of creative ways to paint over the tagging.
In the meantime, Emanuele posted a statement on the portion of the mural that’s closest to Roosevelt Street. It’s addressed to the tagger, but anyone is free to read it. The statement includes this recurring line: "What happened to artists supporting artists?"
Rainey echoes the note's sentiment. “We’d love to have a conversation with whoever did this,” he says.