The Hollywood sign is seen vandalized Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. Los Angeles residents awoke New Year's Day to find a prankster had altered the famed Hollywood sign to read "HOLLYWeeD."(Damian Dovarganes/AP)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, January 3, 2017, 2:32 PM
He was hashing out his plan long before the holidays.
Zach Fernandez - the Los Angeles artist who used four tarpaulins to transform the iconic HOLLYWOOD sign to read HOLLYWEED early New Year's Day - mentioned his wild idea to a friend "several weeks ago," pal Neil Favila told the Daily News.
"I thought he was kidding. I said, 'You're funny, man,'" the fellow artist recalled.
"I'm going to do it all right," Fernandez told him. "Want to help me?"
Favila said he laughed off the proposal but was delighted to wake up Sunday and see his former band mate, 30, had pulled it off.
"It's crazy. He made the whole world smile," Favila said of the stunt. "It was something fun and harmless. It wasn't vulgar, no one was injured, the sign wasn't damaged. It's been 95 percent positive feedback."
Favila described his friend, a married father of four, as a creative force guided more by his sharp wit than political leanings.
"He's obviously stressed about the whole Trump thing, but I think this was just him being a crazy dude who wanted to do something funny," Favila said. "It was lighthearted."
Fernandez, whose wife Sarah Fernandez is an artist as well, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The News.
Police said unidentified thrill-seekers had climbed up and arranged tarps over the two letter "O's" to make them look like "E's," CBS affiliate KCAL reported.(GENE BLEVINS/AFP/Getty Images)
"In all its glory," Fernandez wrote on Instagram Sunday as he posted an image of his handiwork captured by a local photographer.
As congratulatory messages started piling up, he thanked several of his fans, including the Los Angeles marijuana dispensary Hollyweed.
He wasn't overly concerned with the legal fallout and even wrote his Instagram handle @jesushands on the cloth used to transform the landmark, Favila confirmed.
Cops are investigating the incident as a misdemeanor trespassing, not vandalism, a police spokeswoman confirmed to The News on Tuesday.
The world-famous sign is protected by security cameras that captured the "lone" culprit dressed all in black around 3 a.m. Sunday, authorities said.
One of the tarpaulins Fernandez draped was emblazoned with a peace sign, while another was decorated with a heart.
Favila said his friend is someone to watch.
"It doesn't get much bigger than this, but I think there will be more to come. He's got more top-secret projects lined up," Favila said.
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