Detroit, MI – When Chicago artist Chris Devins devoted much of his weekend to painting an Eminem mural in the rapper’s hometown of Detroit, he likely wasn’t expecting it to be defaced a day later — but that’s exactly what happened to his work.
Devins spent Saturday (September 4) drawing a young Eminem onto a wall in the Cass Corridor neighborhood of Midtown Detroit. He began at around 1 p.m. and finished six hours later, with members of the public taking photos and paying respect throughout the day. But by the next day, the six-foot tall portrait had been vandalized with 18 bird head sketches drawn with a Sharpie.
“Only one day after it’s completion, some idiot in Detroit already defaced the new M mural,” he wrote on Instagram. “You can’t give some people anything good. Dumb. I can probably fix it but damn….”
Chris Devins wasn’t hired by anyone, but decided to do the Eminem mural simply as an act of “tactical urbanism” while in town with his wife for Labor Day weekend. Speaking to The Detroit News about the incident, he said he “felt terrible” and called the graffiti “disrespectful.”
“I was devastated,” he said. “Who would do that? That’s against the rules of street art. I want to restore it to its original value. I would like to re-present it to the community in its unblemished form.
“It was a great wall. It looked like it was going to sit there for a second, so I thought it could use some beautification. It really enhances that wall. To me, it’s totally appropriate. I wanted to do him looking young and fresh. I didn’t put up anything ugly.”
He added, “There was time and effort spent to make sure it was something people would want, and to make it relatable to the community. It’s not just usual tagging.”
“Their complaints were that the mural would promote gang retaliation: people coming to shoot up the mural,” Delilah Martinez, who commissioned the Von artwork, told Complex in August. “And they were worried about people in that area. After they said all that, they were like, ‘This has been going on for years.’ And I’m like yes! That has nothing to do with the mural!”