Sgt. Gonzalez checks out the art on Venice Beach. Photo credit: Hannah Karp.
In Los Angeles, three policeman left their patrol after the L.A. City Council implemented a new ordinance in January banning commercial activity by anyone except local artists on Venice Beach Boardwalk. Violators face consequences that could include not just fines but also, if repeated, jail time. Police Sergeant Daniel Gonzalez sees the ordinance as an opportunity to encourage others.
While some policeman quit, Sgt. Gonzalez chooses to encourage the artist within others. Objects that are “mass produced,” or that encourage utility more than art violate the new law. Pottery, auto parts and of course appliances are among several items that are violations. Although the policemen were given guidelines to assist their rounds, Sgt. Gonzalez focuses more on how offenders can be artists. The California native inspired one woman to melt her crayons onto a canvas using a blowtorch.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Sgt. Gonzalez’s new duties are part of one of the LAPD’s more unusual mandates: keeping Venice weird.” It’s all part of the fight against commercialization and in favor of quirky artisans. Venice Beach has long been known as a bohemian enclave within Los Angeles, and has always attracted street artists.
Read more in the Wall Street Journal.