California residents woke up on the first day of 2017 to find their iconic Hollywood sign had been altered. The sign suddenly read Hollyweed. It is presumed that it was done to represent the new bill that will take place in 2018 that will allow the states residents to use marijuana for recreational use. You can see an image and get the facts here.
Originally, police said the sign was not damaged so they wouldn’t consider it to be vandalism, however, city councilman David Ryu encouraged the LAPD and the city Attorney to pursue a case. The sign is an internationally recognized icon and is set in an urban wilderness park that sits next to many residential homes. Ryu takes the safety of residents and visitors seriously, and pushed the case to be pursued.
Artist Zach Fernandez, nicknamed JesusHands, turned himself in to the police Monday, January 23, 2017. Police took him into custody on suspicion of trespassing, a misdemeanor in California. Fernandez said he felt a lot of pressure to turn himself into the police. He felt that while he might have bent the rules, he did stay within what he considered the spirit of the law. He also said that if he did actually break the law by trespassing, he was not going to run from it.
Fernandez pulled off the sign change with the help of his former wife and about $35 in materials. The entire change took roughly 3 hours. It was inspired by a previous artistic statement made in 1976 when Daniel Finegood wrapped the sign so it would read “Hollyweed”. Finegood did so for an art project while attending the University of California, Northridge.
Since Fernandez altered the sign, he has received numerous marijuana gifts, not only from his state of California, but from other states as well. He admitted that while his actions were risky, it was all worth it for the adrenaline rush he got from it as well as the person growth he feels he’s experienced. He doesn’t feel like it was a prank, he believes it is an art installation, it’s sacred to him in ways. Fernandez will be released pending a court appearance on Feburary 15, 2017.