from The LA Times

Graffiti artist’s past is tagging behind him

Cristian Gheorghiu scrawled ragged images and his nickname, ‘Smear,’ on L.A.’s lampposts, walls and riverbeds. Now that his gallery career is taking off, an injunction is threatening to bar him from profiting from art bearing his telltale ‘tag.’

His past tags behind him
Graffiti artist Cristian Gheorghiu, emblazoned with his street nickname “Smear,” in his East Hollywood garage studio. Gheorghiu is gaining acclaim as an artist and is trying to make amends for his past mistakes. (Brian van der Brug, Los Angeles Times / February 25, 2011)

For years Cristian Gheorghiu craved the thrill of the chase. Spray-paint can in hand, he lived on the edge, always a step ahead of the law.

His canvas was L.A.’s lampposts, brick walls and concrete riverbeds where he scrawled ragged images and his own nickname, “Smear” — probably thousands of times.

The graffiti made him a subculture sensation. Fans compared his art to that of another graffiti artist, the critically acclaimedJean-Michel Basquiat.

But just as the East Hollywood graffiti artist’s career was taking off, his past has threatened to overtake him.

First came jail and a whopping fine. Now, City Atty. Carmen Trutanich is seeking a one-of-a-kind court injunction to bar Gheorghiu from profiting from art bearing his telltale “tag.”

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