A few days ago, the Elliott Smith Memorial wall was back to its original shape. I was driving past 4334 W Sunset Boulevard, the address of Solutions!, the audio repair shop whose facade was used for the cover of Elliott Smith’s 'Figure 8', and I noted the wall, completely redone, but not redone as it was a dozen times before, perfectly repainted in all its black and red stripes splendor. But for how long, that’s the question! Every time an attempt has been made at redoing the wall, graffiti have come back within a week!
When Elliott died in October 2003, the wall served as a shrine for fans, very soon candles, cards and flowers were left at its bottom, but fans also began to write all over this wall, and since that day, they have never stopped. Stefon Lew, the owner of Solutions!, let it happened as he thought there was a need for fans to gather somewhere, but over the years, his kind tolerance didn’t pay much as huge graffiti, that had nothing to do with Elliott, began to invade the wall, covering all the fans’ writings with ugly gang non-sense.
I talked to Stefon in the past, and since 2003, he has had this curious idea about transforming the wall into some more blatant homage to Elliott. And it seems he still has some of these same bizarre thoughts as he explained to the Echo Park Patch:
‘Lew says at some point he'll give it some texture-make it a kind of "three-dimensional book."
He also wants to place a life-size sculpture of Smith in the precise curve of where it appears the album, Figure 8.’
First of all I have no idea what he means by ‘three-dimensional book’, then there is the sculpture! He had already mentioned it to many people in 2003, and at that time, he was talking about doing a sculpture made of electronic bits and parts. I remember having this weird vision of this odd Elliott statue in front of the wall,…Elliott, the last person on earth who would have wanted to have a statue erected for him…Today, I have the feeling we will never see this sculpture.
Nevertheless, that’s a very good thing they did restore the wall, the problem is that it never lasts very long, and this time a record was beaten. I drove by the wall on Thursday and there was already a huge ugly black and red graffiti spoiling once again the work…. We’ll never be able to have nice things here, until someone decide to apply an anti-graffiti coat!