Los Angeles Artists Fight to Save City’s Legacy of Murals

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LOS ANGELES (AP).- Every so often, Ernesto de la Loza drives around the city to check on the state of his murals. It’s a short tour these days. Out of 42 swirling, vivid pieces he’s painted, only seven remain, the rest lost to graffiti, whitewash and withering sun. “It’s really painful,” said the 61-year-old artist whose works depict Angeleno life from Mexican heritage to the dangers of drugs. “People say ‘don’t take it personal,’ but it’s totally personal. They’re my babies.” At one time hosting an estimated 1,500 pieces of wall art, Los Angeles is the nation’s mural capital, but that’s a fading distinction thanks to prolific graffiti taggers, a legal morass over classifying the artworks as illegal signs, and neglect. “I never thought 30 years ago that I would have to save works from being destroyed,” said muralist Judith