PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A Peoria building is vandalized just days after a mural in the same spot is covered up.
On Monday, WMBD spoke with local artist Joshua Hawkins who painted a mural on the side of a building at 1301 Adams St. over Thanksgiving weekend. The original mural featured Cookie Monster and a phrase in Russian that roughly translated to “Peace, Land, Cookies.”
Hawkins claimed someone posed as the building owner and commissioned him for the piece. Later, the building’s actual owner said he never hired Hawkins and eventually painted over the mural.
On Thursday, someone spraypainted explicit graffiti against the building owner and created a makeshift memorial where the mural once was. Below it, random cookies were scattered across the sidewalk and a poster showing Cookie Monster reads, “C is for COVER-UP.”
Hawkins said he understands why the owner covered up the mural. He said if you want to support local artists, vandalizing buildings isn’t the way to go.
“I don’t support going down and vandalizing them. Put yourself in [the owner’s] shoes, I’m sure he’s kind of trying to figure out what’s going on, and it’s his building,” said Hawkins.
He thinks art can be an outlet for people’s frustrations, but also hopes they turn it into something positive.
“Instead of going down and vandalizing, try to support the art community and let Peoria become a little more of an art hub than it already is,” Hawkins said.
The artist suggested supporting Jonathon Romain and ART Inc. Peoria. He also said he’s hosting a socially distanced art show at his studio at 606 W Main St. in Peoria on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Hawkins said he is not the person who vandalized the building. He said he didn’t even know it had happened until WMBD reached out to him Thursday.
WMBD also reached out to the building owner Thursday, but have not heard a response at this time.