For two Santa Barbara artists, the death of George Floyd moved them to action.
The pair united to paint a mural on the side of the EOS Lounge building at the corner of Anacapa and Haley Streets.
Griffin Lounsbury, who goes by the handle xgriffinx, painted Floyd’s face in shades of blue, red and black, and Chadillac Green, a painter and tattoo artist, used spray and house paint to create the phrase “Please, I can’t breathe,” in purple, black and green.
Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s head and neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Floyd spoke the words, “Please, I can’t breathe” before he died, as captured on cellphone video.
The two local artists set out about 9:30 a.m. Monday to paint the mural. They said they got permission from the owner of the EOS Lounge to paint it.
When he saw the video of Floyd’s death, xgriffinx said he needed to do something.
“I felt really sad,” he said. “It hit me straight to the heart. It’s messed up, you know. I don’t think anyone should be treated that way.”
xgriffinx said he just wants to stand up for what he thinks is right and acknowledge “all the injustices going on right now in this country, and inequality.”
He grew up in Santa Barbara and always enjoyed art. He is working on a “27” series to remember people who have died at the age of 27. He’s also turning 27 this year, and plans to put on an art show. He just wants to pay respect to people who have died.
He used house paint to create Floyd’s face.
“This is all for the love,” xgriffinx said. “I am doing this all out of my pocket.”
He hopes the city doesn’t order them to cover the painting. They don’t have a permit for the mural.
City Hall spokesman Anthony Wagner said the city has received complaints, but there’s no plan for the city to get involved.
“It’s not hurting anybody,” xgriffinx said.
Green said he’s not the best at speaking or voicing his opinion, so art is his path.
“It’s my strong belief that there needs to be change,” Green said.
Green is from Kansas City, Missouri, and came to Santa Barbara about 10 years ago. He works as a tattoo artist at 805 Ink.
“I wanted something powerful, so I just quoted him and put it on a wall as big as we could and made it readable and as legible as possible,” Green said.
He said he was outraged when he saw the video of Floyd being pinned to the ground, with the officer’s knee on his neck.
“It just needs to stop,” Green said. “We don’t need this. It’s just too much, too many.”
A steady stream of people have walked by and voiced their support for the mural since the men started painting it.
“It’s bringing so many people together and getting the message out there, not silencing the people,” Green said. “It’s been good.”
Green said he hopes the mural can stay up.
“It’s making people happy,” he said. “It’s just the people who just don’t want a change in Santa Barbara are the ones who are complaining. They just want to whitewash over it like they are doing this whole entire thing.”