Pseudo Art

I debated even mentioning this, but since it is gaining public attention and is relevant to Axl, I decided to go ahead with it in the hopes of injecting some rational thought into the matter.

Recently an L.A. photographer named Laura London announced her new art installation, “Once upon a time… Axl Rose was my neighbor.” The title alone should throw up dual red flags of exploitation and name-dropping. The main feature of her exhibit is a 20 + year old photo of a garage door with graffiti aimed at Erin Everly, Axl’s wife at the time.

According to London, Axl and Erin were having a fight and, in the heat of anger, Axl ran outside and spray-painted the garage. The only thing is… London never actually witnessed this; she just made the assumption that it was Axl because she “was hearing stories about him…” While she was taking the photographs, Erin came home and confronted her and she subsequently stored the photos away. Not very well, apparently, because they’ve been circulating on the internet for years. Why she decided to make a big deal about it now, I can’t imagine. In addition to this photograph that is old news anyways, she also hired “actors” to portray Axl, Erin, and even Slash, not one of whom resemble the real people in any way. But it’s art because somebody hand-painted the tattoos on Faux-Axl. Groovy.

On 26 September, Axl’s attorneys issued a cease-and-desist letter to London. The following day, another cease-and-desist letter was issued, this time from Erin’s lawyers who stated that not only does Erin back up Axl’s denial of having painted the message, she is also willing to testify on his behalf. At this point, with their marriage dissolved 21 years ago, there would be no reason for Erin to lie to protect him. If Axl had in fact painted the door, Erin’s cease-and-desist letter would have only had to request that her name and image be pulled from the exhibit. But the fact that she verifies Axl’s account exposes London’s artwork as defamatory.

Now, if that is not enough (and it doesn’t seem to be for some people who are bound and determined to believe anything negative about Axl), a simple comparison of handwriting should be proof enough. Take a look at the garage door photo and then study the following samples of Axl’s handwriting.

Handwritten lyrics to the song “My Michelle,” circa 1986, signed by Axl on the lower left side.

Postcard sent to the band publicist in October 1987. Axl’s note is in black.

Samples from the “November Rain” and “Don’t Cry” videos, 1991 & 1992

Samples from the “Estranged” video, 1993.

Axl always writes in all capital letters. The graffiti message is an odd mixture of capitals and lowercase. Axl’s handwriting tends to be more angular while the graffiti letters are more rounded. Even accounting for the difference in using a spray can versus a pen, no one’s handwriting would change that much. Note in particular the R’s, E’s, and S’s. Axl has a very distinctive way of writing these letters, none of which is used on the graffiti message. Also notice that, on the garage door it says “nothing” while in the postcard sample, Axl writes the colloquial “nuthin’.” In addition, the message itself is inane. Even in a rage, I would expect Axl Rose to come up with something more poetic and shrewd than that. The man expresses himself through words as a living! Erin has told sources that neighborhood kids were the ones who vandalized the garage door. Some people have wondered, “Why would kids do that?” Why not? Kids do lots of stupid things. If they were aware that Erin and Axl lived there, they probably found it funny to be a nuisance and stir things up.

London’s exhibit was supposed to have taken place on the 29th of September, and judging by the gallery’s website, it apparently still did. They offered a weak back-pedaling statement saying, “The show title beginning with ‘Once Upon A Time…’ was, we believed, an obvious reference to fantasy and a re-imagined reality. The gallery regrets any possible inference otherwise made, and we apologize for the confusion.” Maybe so, but was anyone else going to see it that way? This probably would have remained largely under the radar for most people, being a small exhibit and all, and Axl has been accused of drawing too much publicity to it. Again, maybe so, but if someone were making money off of your name and purporting that you did something in which you had no part, wouldn’t you be upset, too? Even though the added publicity is unfortunate, if Axl had let this quietly pass by, people would always wonder. The guy has a hard enough time with public image without people “re-imagining reality.”