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Fast Life Mural's Final Days Are Numbered

The "Fast Life" mural created by artist MTO for the Sarasota Chalk Festival will be removed March 11.

The coffin is being closed on a Fast Life in Sarasota come March 11.

owner Scott Gerber announced Friday that the "Fast Life" mural created  by French artist MTO for the Sarasota Chalk Festival will be taken down in 30 days and serve as a kick-off to a new arts movement in the Rosemary/Central Coconaut neighborhoods.

"During this time, I would like to give everyone an opportunity to come out and look at the mural, document it, discuss it and possibly preserve it," Gerber said.

Gerber is required by city ordinance to give the artist a 30-day notice that his artwork will be taken down.

On the 29th day of that period, Tube Dude will host a community block party to kick off a Tube Dude Going Vertical partnership with the Chalk Festival, said Chalk Festival Chairwoman Denise Kowal.

"On March 10, the evening before the 30th day notice to MTO will be up, we will be having a closing celebration block party here on location at the Tube Dude's building," she said. "The entire community of Sarasota is invited."

During the next month, Tube Dude and the Chalk Festival will seek ideas and take applications from artists who are interested in constructing murals in the area. MTO would be welcome to apply.

"Our goal is not to create a whole area where it's just kind of fluff art," she said. "We are still working with artists who have their own ideas. As a curator, we don't want to create a dumbed-down product."

The movement will need contributions, donations and in-kind supplies and materials to have it move forward, she said.

Gerber wouldn't offer specifics of what folks could expect for the new movement, but did tip his hand at some inspiration he's drawing from. Just last month he told

"My dream is to bring life and money and prosperity to the neighborhood," he said. "I live south of here so I pass the homeless people on these streets every day, and I look in their faces, I look into their eyes. People don't need to be there. I think this is an opportunity to help these people."

The mural wasn't exactly fitting in with Tube Dude's message, he added.

"It doesn't necessarily depict what Tube Dude is," he said. "We sell happiness and smiles. It's one thing when you look at that, I don't think it exudes happiness or smiles. It definitely does create a lot of controversy and attention to this neighborhood."

Kowal said she also asked if there could be a children's chalk day at the festival and she expects the mythical figure to provide a positive response to her request.

Kowal explained her festival's Going Vertical co-chairwoman Beverly Smith was introduced to Gerber who was trying to have art on the building and through the "Going Vertical" theme of the festival.

County Commissioner and former Sarasota Mayor Carolyn Mason said she supports the new movement despite her objection to the MTO mural.

"I think what he's doing here is worthy of support from everything. I think it is an outstanding effort what has bee done here," Mason said. "I need to tell you that I don't support the subject matter of the piece that is out there. That's my own personal opinion. I do support murals. I support murals in this neighborhood. I think it's going to do a lot to this neighborhood to get it to go where it needs to go."

To Mason, and others in the community, the mural symbolized a gang life hood and the community's issue with drug dealers over the years didn't help the image. However, the inspiration behind the mural is far from it.

last month where he told and showed us how his hands were on the mural.

"It's just a part of life," Cattanach told Patch at the time. "Life goes by fast, you're not promised tomorrow. I love to surf, love to skate and love the artistic rush."

Kowal expanded on how MTO viewed Cattanach's hands were used and the message behind it.

MTO had observed Cattanach's tattoo while the surfer and Clothesline employee volunteered at the festival and inquired about its meaning. And then it clicked with the artist after seeing how quickly people worked to go from place to place and hobby to hobby.

"He felt that Americans live a fast life," she said.  "He's here, everything's going fast." 

She added that MTO tried different hand positions, but needed a way to actually read the words on the hands and just having them shown straight down appeared boring to the artist. So instead, Cattanach was told to make an "M" for MTO.

City Commissioner Willie Shaw, who help lead opposition to the mural was invited to the press conference to participate, Gerber said, but Shaw did not appear at Friday's event.

Kathy Oravec February 11, 2012 at 01:31 PM
What happened to freedom of expression and creativity in art? Also, Scott Gerber seemed to support this art work and then changed his mind? Where is the integrity and why is Chalk Fest supporting this censorship?!!
virginia hoffman February 11, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Did I hear Scott Gerber compare himself to Dr. Martin Luther King?
Julia February 11, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I like the Fast Life Mural !! Leave it. Better to take down the Unconditional Surrender on our bayfront - ugliness - imho.
virginia hoffman February 12, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Charlie, do you know exactly which law Gerber was referring to that requires him to give the artist 30 days notice? I can not think of one myself, very curious about that one.
Charles Schelle (Editor) February 13, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I'm trying to find the exact code but it is mentioned in this Public Arts Information Packet that the Public Art Committee and City Commission must approve the removal of public art and says it's per city code, but again, trying to track that one down. http://www.sarasotagov.com/NDS/Public%20Art/Public%20Art%20Info%20Pkg-Application-Checklist.pdf
virginia hoffman February 15, 2012 at 11:48 AM
The City does not regulate art work on private property only if it is considered signage. Maybe Scott Gerber could shed some light on which law he was talking about.

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