Elliott Smith was a quiet and shy person, humble even. But he could write and sing like few of his contemporary musicians. He was a testament to how one man and a guitar could move the world. When he died in 2003 after committing suicide there were many people who mourned his passing by scribbling notes of love, poems, remembrances on what has become known as The Elliott Smith Memorial Wall in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Smith had once posed in front of the red and black swirling mural for the cover of his 2000 album Figure 8. Over time the wall has become what Strawberry Fields is for John Lennon fans.
Recently this memorial has become defaced be graffiti and the city of Los Angeles had done nothing about it. Not like that’s all that surprising. This is something that would only concern those who were deeply moved by the gracefulness that was Smith’s music.
Afterall, Smith was probably best known to the public at large for contributing a few songs to the Goodwill Hunting Soundtrack, but he was so much more.
However, the defacing of the memorial was the last straw for several writers over at the Laist (here, here, here, here). Thankfully their disgust with what happened to the wall, led to an even more touching memorial, as several Smith fans and artists came out to clean up the mural and restore it (even created a Mypace page to stay updated).
Even though the remembrances and poems and the outpouring of affection for Elliott are gone, fans (and to be sure I count myself as one of them) will be able to start anew.
The owner of Electronic Solutions, located at 4334 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, where the mural is located, has even announced plans to create an actual memorial for Smith in front of the mural. In a comment on the original article, Stephen Law original owner of Electronic Solutions and designer of the mural, which he called a “figure S” has said this about his plans:
Let me clarify some rumours….
These are my dreams: I plan to place an electronic object of importance….a 5 foot 7 inch tall monument (of Elliott’s size–with two loudspeakers at the base of the monument to represent his two big shoes) formed from crushed electronics parts —to play and to identify Elliott’s musical influences (Elliott’s hobby, I hear, was to experiment with electronics to make music tone)—to have the monument –emanate new energy and the many solutions that music can provide.
I will present the statue-monument as “Art in-front-of Art”—at where Elliot stood for the Figure 8 album cover photo— Many fans have promised to help me complete this in due time…after next winter, perhaps…..I plan, with the help of Elliott’s fans…, to also place along the two foot ground area in front of the Wall…. a removable display (video or otherwise) of all his lyrics—not placed on the vertical Wall— but at the ground base…somehow…..and those of the Beatles or other music groups that influenced Elliott —-I hope that when one visits the Wall Area, we all will just smile.. ..and walk away with the happiest of an ice-cream-type closure—- to be able to take with you more of Elliott’s true vibrations and the beauty of other bands’ music —. This is just a dream. –Thank you! Stephon
As it should be! If you live in LA or are in the neighborhood, stop by and pay your respect for Elliott Smith.
I don’t know why, but this fan made video of the scribblings on the wall set to Smith’s song “Between the Bars” almost made me cry.
This was a great interview and studio performance he did with KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic. It’s short, sweet and pretty wonderul.
Elliott Smith – On KCRW’s “Morning Become Eclectic” 5/6/1997