A mural celebrating accused murderer Kyle Rittenhouse, who allegedly opened fire on protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, killing two and wounding one, was recently painted on a Colorado Department of Transportation-owned underpass near Interstate 70 in Wheat Ridge, right by the Clear Creek Trail. On the evening of September 23, longtime graffiti artist Lovechuself capped the mural with a gentle message of love. Then, by mid-morning on September 24, the City of Wheat Ridge painted over that piece too.
The original art celebrated vigilante violence and portrayed Rittenhouse holding an assault rifle, standing in front of a tattered American flag in the shape of Wisconsin. Next to the mural, somebody had sprayed “KYLE WAS RIGHT." That was soon painted over, though, and somebody tagged the portrait with anti-racist words such as ACAB (“All Cops Are Bastards”) and “Fuck Racism.”
On September 23, Lovechuself intervened.
The lavender, purple and light-blue colors Lovechuself painted over the black-and-white Rittenhouse portrait state: “LOVE CHU.” The piece also included a peace sign, a heart and the simple phrase “We all need love now more than ever.”
In a note to Westword, Lovechuself said that the original mural appeared to have been painted by hand, probably using a ladder and possibly even a projector. The skill with which it was executed suggested a committed ideologue going far beyond the scribble-scrabble Nazi propaganda that litters Denver’s streets.
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“Anyone that is willing to go out of their way to make a brush-painted racist mural illegally is really passionate about their beliefs,” wrote Lovechuself. “They did it for the hype to make people flinch to get an article.”
Lovechuself, who paints around Denver nearly every night, wasn’t going to allow the racist message to stay on the wall.
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“If they put another one up, I would be more than happy to regulate,” said Lovechuself. “If not me, then another graff artist. I think ‘capping’ (covering) the piece is more important than if the city were to do it — to let them know directly that the streets are always watching.”
Lovechuself, who paints his moniker on train cars, buildings, trash cans and lamp posts through the metro area, wanted his name to reflect that firm belief in love.
“In the graffiti community, you must have a name to write,” Lovechuself explained. “I clung to a message: ‘Lovechuself because only then can you truly share love with anyone else.’”
Earlier today, September 24, Lovechuself's work was painted over, according to Sara Spaulding, public information officer for the City of Wheat Ridge. While the piece was not technically on city property, Wheat Ridge opted to help out CDOT.