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Glendale City Council OKs cowboy cutouts

In public art project, artist will create likenesses of notable western stars.

September 12, 2013|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • The Clint Eastwood cutout above the Glendale (2) Freeway, just south of the Foothill (210) Freeway between Glendale and La Canada Flintridge, photographed Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. City officials offered to give the cutout an official home after a columnist for the Los Angeles Times wrote about multiple acts of vandalism it sustained, and on Thursday, July 18, 2013, the Arts & Culture Commission recommended that the City Council approve making it a city art piece.
The Clint Eastwood cutout above the Glendale (2) Freeway,… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

A life-size cutout of Clint Eastwood in cowboy garb won’t be the only likeness of a western star to become city property.

In a unanimous vote on Tuesday, the City Council approved accepting the donation of five western-inspired art pieces, including the one of Eastwood, from a Los Angeles artist who had originally placed some of the cutouts secretly along the hills above Glendale.

“This is the kind of organic art that I really respond to,” said Councilwoman Laura Friedman. “It was an artist who took it upon himself to have a vision that included Glendale.”

The artist, Justin Stadel, created the cutouts to evoke a feeling of freedom in commuters driving on the Glendale (2) Freeway beneath the hillsides.

As part of the donation package, Stadel plans to also give the city cutouts of John Wayne, Annie Oakley, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers riding Trigger, his horse.

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Of the five, Annie Oakley is the only one who was an authentic old-west character.

A cutout of Wayne once stood on a hillside overlooking Glendale High School, the star’s alma mater, but was eventually destroyed. The Autry cutout still resides on a hill northwest of the Glendale Sports Complex. The Eastwood statue is set to be placed near the entrance of the complex.

The Oakley and Rogers cutouts will be new projects, each of which may take Stadel about a month to create.

Previous iterations of the Eastwood cutout stood on the hillsides near the Verdugo Hills Hospital, but those were vandalized.

The one donated to the city will feature the actor holding a bell in place of the gun seen in previous cutouts. Stadel swapped the weapon out after meeting La Cañada Flintridge resident Reg Green, whose murdered son inspired a memorial in Bodega Bay, near San Francisco, featuring 140 bells.

Green, who hikes the San Rafael Hills daily, met Stadel while he was picking up the pieces of a previous Eastwood cutout that had been broken. He was so moved by the mysterious figure that he told Stadel the story of his son, Nicholas, who was killed by bandits while the Green family vacationed in Italy in 1994.

After the 7-year-old was declared brain-dead, his organs were donated to seven Italians, one of whom has named their own son after Nicholas. After that, Italian citizens started sending Green bells to honor the fallen boy. They eventually were made into the memorial.

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