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Circle has its eye on mural for new wine


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POSTED: Sunday, July 19, 2009

Artwork for a new brand of wine recently launched by a longtime local radio personality appeared in an unexpected spot recently — as a mural in a public place.

The “;Look Me in the Eye”; wine label artwork, at the end of a long stretch of black paint on a wall, is visible from the eastbound lanes of the H-1 freeway.

The wine, formulated by former KDNN-FM 98.5 morning man Grant ”;Lanai”; Tabura, hit the marketplace in May, as reported in the Star-Bulletin.

The mural spawned a complaint to the Outdoor Circle early last week, confirmed Bob Loy, director of environmental programs for the group.

“;The sign is clearly in violation of the sign ordinance and it should be removed,”; he said. “;It is advertising a commercial product. ... You can't advertise specific products in that manner, and you can't have any advertising off-site from a business' location.”;

Large-format advertising in parking garages is allowed if the ads are not visible from a sidewalk, roadway or other public thoroughfare.

“;They can't be seen from a public place,”; he said.

The organization planned to forward the complaint to the City & County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting for action by its Code Enforcement personnel.

Tabura had been in Japan and was surprised to learn of the mural upon his return, he told TheBuzz.

“;Yeah, somebody told me it was spray-painted ... by about 100 people.”;

Neither he nor his wine-business partner recruited or knew the artists who did the painting, he said, but he has since learned that it was done by the same “;kids”; that painted Michael Jackson's likeness at Kokua Market. They range in age from children to young adults and “;are fans of mine and they did a piece on it,”; Tabura said.

“;The guy who runs Palama Gym (where the mural was painted) has been taking kids off the street, about 600 kids that are graffiti artists, taggers,”; and other kids at risk, “;and he's been giving them a place to paint.”;

“;He's turned their lives around”; and has gotten them jobs with T-shirt printers and other companies.

“;He's basically running his business off donations from companies,”; but not his company, Tabura said.

While he has known the man for 20 years, Tabura hasn't seen him for years, he said.

Informed that a complaint about the wine-label mural had been filed with the Outdoor Circle and that somebody would likely get into trouble, Tabura was indignant.

“;Are Michael Jackson's kids getting punished for the (increased) album sales because of the painting on the wall at Kokua Market?”;

The mural was pictured in the Los Angeles Times, Tabura noted.

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Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).