Los Angeles DJ/artist, Kutmah, was detained by federal agents earlier this month, and is currently set to be deported to his native Great Britain.
According to an LA Times report, Kutmah (real name: Justin McNulty) had been in violation of an outstanding order of deportation dating back to 1997. Half Scottish and Egyptian, he and his mother had been repeatedly denied a green card and had signed an order to voluntarily leave the country 13 years ago. But apparently, never followed the order.
So, Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division caught up with him at his Los Angeles home on May 5th and have been holding him at a federal immigration center in Chaparral, N.M., where he’s awaiting deportation.
The website PooBah.com says Kutmah began an art career from a very young age, rendering nude women from a 70s sex reproduction book he stole at the school library. By 12, he had moved to Hollywood and continued drawing women. In recent years, he’s been creating and selling large scale nude woodburns and has done other art projects such as album covers and shirts. In music, he’s a notable producer and DJ. The site says he’s “known to play the dirtiest beats in town.”
Since the news first broke, friends, family and industry peers have begun circulating an online petition at FreeKutmah.com, explaining the background of his story and some of the reasons why he should be allowed a to stay in the U.S.. They are asking for donations for his legal defense, via Free Kutmah t-shirts and buttons.
The L.A. Times says a team of friends have been working tirelessly to gain media and political support, and raise awareness of his situation, hoping to turn things around before he’s forced out of the country.
“We’ve been trying to get this on the radar of senators and other political figures. The clock’s ticking, and we know that we don’t have much very much time,” Daddy Kev, one of the founders of the Low End Theory, told the paper. “He’s a selfless person who has spent countless hours doing philanthropic activities. This isn’t someone who had a choice about moving here illegally. His mother moved him here when he was 12, and he’s built an entire life here.”
The support has spread to social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook as well, with supporters posting “Free Kutmah” messages since the arrest.
The Times says Kutmah’s art career was also something locals began to take notice of in recent years. His works frequently appeared with the Hit + Run crew, whose “live T-shirt screen-printing events have become a fixture around Los Angeles music events,” said the paper.
“He’s a bold and unashamed artist who was one of the pioneers for what we’ve been trying to do,” said Brandy Flower, the co-founder of Hit + Run, told the Times. “When he ran the ‘Sketchbook’ night, he incorporated art and music together in a way that no one else had done in this city. There are probably people in this city who can draw or DJ as well as [McNulty], but there’s no one that can do both like him. He’d taken a break from drawing in the last few months, but he called me last week before everything went down to tell me that he’d started drawing again. He was really excited.”
The window for Kutmah is closing quickly. His attorney, Jed Leano, said it will take approximately two weeks for the process to be finalized.
To sign the family’s petition or to make a donation, visit FreeKutmah.com