(click for big - from August 15, 2011)
Willy St., of course.
That passion led Brendan to the Illinois Institute of Art in downtown Chicago, from which he graduated in 2007 with a degree in visual communications. He secured a job as a graphic artist with an advertising firm after graduation, but by that time he had developed a second, more nocturnal, hobby as a guerilla artist: first under the name “Urban,” and later using “SOLVE.” The Chicago police were not the only ones that noticed; Brendan’s work had a legitimate following in both the underground art scene and with an attentive portion of the general public.
For a life so defined by intricately planned works of art executed in secrecy, Brendan’s death was starkly random and public. Early in the morning on June 14, 2008, Brendan and several friends were hosting a party, when, Bill and Eileen said, a group of neighborhood thugs broke in on the action.
As Bill explained, it was not the first time that group had crashed a party Brendan was attending, so perhaps that is why, according to a Chicago Tribune report of the case, Brendan initiated a fight with a member of the crew.
Moments after, while fleeing the scene, Brendan was stopped, pinned and pummeled in an alleyway. The fight should have ended there, but a man named Kirk Tobolski wielded an intricately-decorated switchblade he had received as a gift for his birthday just days before. Sickeningly eager to use it, Tobolski stabbed Brendan in the chest, killing him on the spot.
We are dismayed that today Cook County Associate Judge Thomas Hennelly, who has presided for the last two and a half years over the case against Brendan Scanlon's murderer, found the murderer guilty of only second degree murder. In our view, on the facts and the law, it was clear that the murderer committed first degree murder.
Nonetheless, with today's verdict, more than three long years afterward, we have some measure of justice for the murder of Brendan, our son, brother, uncle, and friend, and the intensely creative, prolific and provocative artist known to many across the world as SOLVE.
For this measure of justice, we want to thank a number of people:
-- Chicago police officers for their quick, careful and brilliant work in dealing with the crime and gathering within less than a day afterward evidence important for the conviction.
-- The seven witnesses at the trial for providing testimony to establish the defendant's guilt beyond any reasonable doubt.
-- Our Cook County victim assistance coordinator for guiding us gently over most of the past three years through the tortuous criminal justice process in Cook County involving serious crimes.
-- The Cook County assistant state's attorneys, who handled the case, for their careful and masterful prosecution and completely honest appraisals for us of what was happening as the case proceeded ever so slowly.
As Brendan's immediate family, we also must thank all those who have supported us through this long, tortuous and painful process, including our large extended family; our neighbors, friends and colleagues in Madison and across the US; Brendan's classmates, teachers, friends, colleagues and artistic collaborators; and people around the world who have responded to Brendan's message to reasonably and peaceably SOLVE their problems.
Finally, we want to say that for us today is not a happy day.
Though Brendan and we received some measure of justice with today's verdict, the verdict will not bring him back to us, others who knew him and loved him, or the world. The profound emptiness of Brendan's absence, the profound evil of his having been taken much too early, are not salved by the verdict.
And the murderer will now spend - and justly so - a large portion of the rest of his life incarcerated. This is appropriate and just, because of what he did and his apparent failure to take any responsibility for having done it. But it is also tragic, not a cause for happiness.
Tomorrow, June 22, at 10:00 AM the trial will start for Kirk Tobolski, the person accused of having murdered the artist Brendan Scanlon.also known by his guerrilla art name SOLVE.
Scanlon, who is also known by his street art name SOLVE, grew up in Madison, where he graduated from Madison East in 2002. In 2003 he moved to Chicago for school and work. He was killed in Chicago in June, 2008 at age 24.
The trial, titled People v Kirk Tobolski, Case No. 08CR-13164, is open to the public. It will be in Courtroom 205 at the Criminal Courts Building, 2650 S California Ave in Chicago.
Tomorrow the trial will likely run into the late afternoon. It is also scheduled to continue on Thursday, June 23, and might continue on other dates that are not yet set.
The trial is starting more than three years after SOLVE was killed, even though Tobolski was arrested within an hour after the killing and charged with the murder less than a day later. Tobolski has been out on bail since late October, 2008.
World renowned artist, Sofia Maldonado painted a quarter pipe skate ramp LIVE... The exhibit will be on display until March 22nd... Want to know the best part? The Madison Skatepark Fund will hopefully be able to auction the art off (in March) as a fundraiser for our cause! The Union galleries are always free and open to the public.I missed the night Sofia did the live painting, but fortunately the exhibit runs through the end of March and can be easily checked out any time. For more on the Madison Skatepark Fund, too, check their website here.