Art or not, the city said it violates municipal codes, particularly setback requirements, and has told Perasteh it must go.
“They told me I have two months to get rid of it,” lamented a perplexed Pirasteh recently outside the home he's lived in for 14 years on the corner of Avenida Manana and Nautilus Street. “I'm a public artist, not just a gallery or studio artist. This is my work.”
Pirasteh noted he's donated some of his work to Scripps Memorial Hospital and to important institutions including universities.
Explaining his unorthodox sculpture, avant-garde artist Pirasteh noted the piece is analogous to the human body. Walking through his structure, he pointed out components inside of it represent two hearts, one of which is pumping.
“When you visit my sculpture, you are revisiting your body,” he said. “Time has passed, like sand in the hourglass, and you are checking what you've done.”
The sculptor noted In Out's blue color represents the “galaxy of each individual,” adding mirrors of recycled materials in the structure's exterior “tell us we're going through this world.”
Pirasteh said the goal of his work is to “get people to relive their lives,” adding his sculptures “are speaking about complexity.”
Following up on a complaint lodged against Piratsteh's 10-foot-tall “hut” at 6706 Avenida Manana fronting Nautilus Street, the city's Code Enforcement division ruled it violated the municipal code constituting an unpermitted structure, which does not meet the city's 20-foot setback requirement from the street.
“Mr. Pirasteh was found to be in violation of City land development and building codes by constructing an unpermitted accessory structure in his front yard setback and installing electrical wiring without the required permits, inspections or final approvals,” said city PIO Paul Brencick Sr.
“Consequently, Mr. Pirasteh was ordered to remove the unpermitted structure from his front yard.”
The city's ordered Pirasteh to remove In Out, or comply with the 20-foot setback requirement within two months. Stiff fines amounting to more than $11,000 were also leveled against the sculptor, with the understanding that half the penalty would be stayed if the city's conditions regarding the sculpture were met.
The sculptor insists his constitutional rights have been violated.
“This (sculpture) is an expression of my First Amendment rights (to free speech),” he said adding In Out “is not offending anybody, and is not religious.”
“I'm a public artist, this is public art,” Pirasteh concluded. “I just have a piece of art. Why should I be punished?”