LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Proving a spray paint can, like a pen, is truly mightier than the sword, one big change was made to the mural in downtown Lexington, and now it’s created a controversy of another kind.
“I think they should’ve left it up,” said Jim Gormley who was passing by on the way to his office. “It” being the words, “F*** Trump,” which artist Elle of “Street Art” tacked on to her mural on the side of a building located on Short Street. She said she wasn’t wanting to send a political message, but the words had everyone talking about politics around Lexington for the last two days.
“Freedom of expression, whether you like it or not, is part of what our country is based on,” said local business owner John Popovich. Mr. Gormley agreed, saying, “A big part of what our country was built on was freedom of speech and expression, and that includes our elected public officials.”
The mural itself is stunning, and the talent behind it cannot be questioned, but once she sprayed those words onto the wall, it was never going to end well for anyone; not the artist, not the building’s owner (it’s a privately owned building, so the city did not commission this art work), and not for a public, which has been pitted on polar ends of the political spectrum in recent years. Some will love it, some will hate it. Those who wanted it to remain up will argue for freedom of speech, and those who wanted it to come down will be not-so-subtly reminded about freedom speech.
PRHBTN, which contracts these street artists even had to toe a very fine line when releasing a statement, which supported the rights of their artists to express themselves freely, while agreeing with the building owner’s desire to remove the wording after being harassed.
It’s a delicate time across the Bluegrass where Republican Governor Matt Bevin will be looking to stave off Attorney General and Democratic challenger Andy Beshear in next month’s Gubernatorial election. President Trump is expected to hold a rally of his own inside Rupp Arena next Monday night.
“I’m not trying to make people angry,” Elle said, "I’m trying to make them talk.”
Mission accomplished in downtown Lexington. “As long as you’re not libeling somebody, you have a right to say what you think,” Gormley said.
And the right to paint what you feel. Even if someone felt the need to have it removed 24 hours later.