By ED RUNYAN
Artist Aaron Chine says it really bothered him when a vandal struck David Grohl Alley two weeks ago and put white spray paint on Chine’s painting of the three faces of Dave Grohl — the native son rock star of internationally renowned bands Foo Fighters and, earlier, Nirvana.
Chine, a former wrestler at Austintown Fitch High School, said he obsessed over the vandalism to his and nine other paintings. The vandalism was captured on surveillance video.
“When it first happened, I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. Then I’m like, I’m not going to cry over it. I’m just going to fix it,” he said Saturday as he and other artists and some helpers brought paint and cleaning products to the alley to repair the damage. The alley is just south of Courthouse Square.
Over the past couple of weeks, Chine said he spent a lot of time on his computer investigating leads into the man later identified as Kurtis Aguilera, 35, of Miami, whom police have charged in the crime.
He would like to see Aguilera, who is still at large, taken into custody.
“I’ve never had anybody do that to my art before,” Chine said. “It made a knot in my stomach.”
Within a couple of hours of the start of the Erase/replace Rally, downtown resident and businessman Paul Clouser had used a cleanser specially made for graffiti and removed the spray paint from a work by Scott Chopko. Several other people had removed the graffiti from other pieces, and Chine had started to paint over the graffiti on his brick-wall canvas.
“It’s going to be pretty similar to what was there but with a twist,” Chine said of the work.
“It looks pretty damned good,” Clouser told a friend as he stood back and looked at the Chopko work after its cleaning. Chopko was going to touch up the paint and apply another coat of sealer, Clouser said.
Others already had done the cleanup on other vandalized paintings earlier. Some artists also were creating new ones.
Grohl was born at Trumbull Memorial Hospital while his family lived in the Warren area. His father’s parents lived on Orchard Avenue near Stevens Park in Niles, and his mother went to Boardman High School. His uncle, Tom Grohl, and his father, Jim Grohl, live in Howland.
Tom Grohl, who was visiting the alley Saturday during the event, said the “music gene” skipped him and went to his nephew — Dave, and his son, Brian Grohl, who is program manager at the Hollywood Bowl, the famed Southern California amphitheater.
“I’ve always been impressed with the way Warren has embraced David and the alley,” Tom Grohl said. “This tragedy happened, and they even supported it again. It’s a tribute to the people and the way they came together,” he said.