Santa Barbara mural of George Floyd draws viewers
“This is art. It’s not graffiti.”
That’s the reaction as a large mural on the corner of Haley and Anacapa streets stops passersby in their tracks.
The work of art is raising awareness of the death of George Floyd, the man who was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minn.
Painted on the eastern wall of EOS Lounge, the mural depicts a large portrait of Mr. Floyd. Next to his face reads the words: “Please, I can’t breathe,” the words Mr. Floyd cried out while he was suffocating.
The other side reads: “Rest in peace.”
The artists, who tagged themselves “@chadillac_green” and “@xgriffinx”, started painting Monday and finished up Tuesday.
The vivid colors and letters have attracted numerous onlookers who snap photos or just pause for a minute to reflect on it.
“Say his name, keep him alive, keep everything alive, keep it going,” said Chadillac Green, one of the artists who painted the letters. “We’re not good with words so this is how we express how we feel of what’s going on.”
Bix Kaufman owns EOS Lounge and gave the artists permission to paint the mural.
“This is a house that doesn’t accept anything except equal rights for everyone,” Mr. Kaufman said. “Someone’s doing something a little more colorful than a march that lasts one day and goes away. This is art. It’s not graffiti.”
He added that he will keep it on the wall for as long as he legally can. Public Information Officer Anthony Wagner of the Santa Barbara Police Department said the department has no comment at this time regarding the legality of the mural, and that it is likely a civil matter and outside the scope of law enforcement.
Bachir Ramadan owns Santa Barbara Shoe Repair, right across the street from the mural.
“They did a great job,” Mr. Ramadan said. “It’s very peaceful to draw a picture. Things like these are good.”
The mural turns the heads of many who walk or drive past, but the mood of the space is quiet, honoring the memory of Mr. Floyd.
“I just felt like I needed to go somewhere, and this seemed like a space to go,” said Cassandra Harter, a viewer of the mural. “I was sitting at my house this morning trying to work, and I was like, ‘I can’t. I need some time, some meditation space.’”
Ryan Villacrucis was one of the many snapping photos of the mural.
“Pretty much everyone in this nation is fighting for his death,” Mr. Villacrucis said. “How fast everything is moving, how impactful his death was to everybody … This [mural] is really moving and really impactful.”
Capturing photos on a professional camera, Nikhil Patel said, “In a peaceful small town, it’s good that we’re raising awareness. This is good that we stand against systemic racism. We do want change.”