Mystery Wall

Over the past few months, I dedicated some time to finding hidden gems. Along the way, I naturally came across some pretty amazing pieces of street art. The best are the ones in the most unlikely of places. I sometimes stopped to think – this isn’t the easiest place to set up shop and spray paint away. One of those locations was near a very busy highway-like street where cars zipped by at pretty much illegal speeds. So basically, the last place on Earth you’d want to jaywalk.

I stayed safe across the street and snapped these pictures of a long wall with a bunch of works. It’s as if a few street artists teamed up and decided to have at it together on a random wall in a mostly industrial area. It could be just one very ambitious person but it looks like quite a few different styles to me.

It’s a long wall with a lot of colors and movement. Like someone’s crazy dream got spilled over onto the concrete. In a good way.


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Not the friendliest door I’ve ever seen. Maybe it’s a good way to keep burglars at bay.

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I don’t remember if I saw more tags/signatures but this was one of the clearest ones…

To the cars that whizzed past as I was snapping pictures: you don’t know what you were missing. Cheers to this big burst of creativity.

A Nice Nod from a Fellow Blogger

Every time I log back in, I give you guys (you there, sitting, standing, walking, reading) an excuse for why I haven’t posted in a while. And every time it’s a little generic and vague.

So, are you out there? Do you care to know why it’s been so long? Are the pics worth it, is the writing good enough?

Any blogger must/has/will have insecurities like all of the above so it’s nice when I get a little nod from someone, especially people who have successful blogs that I admire.

So big THANK YOU to Modes of Flight Blog for the recent nod – I’ve been giving the Universal Blog Award on this page’s behalf (aka UBA) and have to adhere (have to because I decided not to be more creative) to the following rules:

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3. Identify the top 2 family members who have greatly influenced your life (names or other titles are acceptable, even if they’re pets).

4. Identify the top 2 non-family members who have influenced your life (you may have personally been in some form of contact with them or are only familiar with them through popular media).

5. State what you believe would be the worst thing to happen to mankind, and what you will personally do to initiate the effort to prevent or control that issue.

6. State what you believe would be the greatest thing to happen to mankind, and what you will personally do to initiate the effort to achieve that goal (big or small; whatever is within your power to commit to every day from this point onward).

7. Nominate 7 other blogs to receive the award (why 7, because it’s the rounded mathematical average of 5, 10 and 7), and tell them that you’ve nominated them.

So here goes:

1. My mom and dad

2. (this one is SO tough, but this is them at the moment) Randall Roberts and my entire high school

3. I think the worst thing to happen to mankind is that we fall apart in terms of staying together. It’s obviously impossible for everyone to get along with everyone but the moment we stop trying or decide to hate each other is the moment we are really doomed. To prevent that, I always make an effort to understand people and be open to different personalities and let that be known to others. When I’m with friends, I make it clear that life is boring and wasted when you shut yourself down to others. It’s only when we’re all united that the world makes more sense.

4. I think the best thing is to realize our common humanity. It’s lame in a way, but I try to do that with this blog. I want you (the reader) to read it and like or dislike the pieces but ultimately realize that the world is a space to create. And it doesn’t matter who’s behind the spray paint can or other chosen medium. You see a piece by Herakut or Vyal or anyone and it speaks to you – there’s no barrier there whatsoever. That’s my effort – to expose people to the amazing pieces out there and to make the street a place that I think street art manage to make it – a common ground for anyone to come and go, for anyone to share an idea and for anyone to take away a true piece of inspiration.

5. Here are the blogs I nominate for the award:

1. Modes of Flight (maybe that broke the rule, but oh well)

2. Burp and Slurp 

3. The LotusLand Chronicles

4. Butterfly

5. Rodrigue Favre Photography

6. RENSLITTLEWORLD

7. thepencilcaseproject

That is all! Happy blogging and reading to everyone.

 

P.S. Forgot this tidbit from the original post:

NOTICE: absolutely NOTHING will happen to you, anyone else or anything else if you chose to not follow ANY of the rules in this post. It all in good fun!

Cheers!

Who’s that Chick? — Rosie

As I’ve come to learn, stickers might be the easiest way to get your stuff out on the streets. But I’m always pleased to see the different ways artists create their own style within a tiny amount of space.

Walking down a busy street, I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary until my eyes happened to roam over the side of an (sadly) abandoned newspaper stand.

I thought it was the perfect backdrop – the red of the stand made the little heart pop out even more. It’s a very simple design but that’s what makes it so great – some sticker artists try to pack two much into two little space. The little character is also unique – her hair is a bunch of little circles and one eye is huge, while her nose is tiny. She also has no legs. So basically, she’s not your usual little cutesy Sharpied character. Hopefully there are many more ‘rosies’ out there.

Familiar Face — Another El Mac and Retna Find

I’ve driven by some streets multiple times before I finally force myself to swerve in the direction of the art I’ve spotted there. For months, I knew about this piece but never got the chance to photograph it up close. Finally, much to the consternation and fear of my surprised passenger, I turned around a few streets to snap a picture of this piece.

The mural is another awesome creation by artists El Mac and Retna. You can see some photos of them working on the mural, which they titled “The Knight,” here. The two have teamed up plenty of times and provided Los Angeles with some really intricate pieces. Retna does the lettering in the background, while El Mac tackles the figures. Both artists create complex pieces that fit beautifully together; you can look closely at Retna’s letters and try to find a pattern while discovering some detailed swirls on the surface of El Mac’s figures.

I’m sad about the tag that’s over the piece, especially since I don’t remember seeing it before. Either way, you can’t cover up all the great details within the work.

Sure makes parking, biking and walking through here a completely different experience. That’s the best part about talented artists taking to the streets – it changes your perception of the streets around you, simply through the power of a single mural.

Make Your Heart Melt — Buff Monster @ Corey Helford Gallery

It’s not every day you see pink ice cream scoops with one big eye involved in all types of war-like scenes.

But that’s exactly what greeted me when I went to check out the work of street artist Buff Monster. Merging his love for Japanese culture and the color pink while taking inspiration from Renaissance paintings, Buff created some interesting and unique pieces for his solo show “Legend of the Pink Cherry.”

This guy covers almost an entire wall and is pretty much the character you see throughout the whole show. The pieces on the first floor are acrylic on wood done with airbrush – a first for the artist – and center around a common theme war and gore sprinkled with humor. I’ve never seen such adorable creatures in such dangerous situations. “Birth of a Zombie” was an especially interesting piece. There’s a lot going on in small amount of space and Buff has a great attention to detail – both the ice cream scoops and the flying creatures seem to be dripping, the cloud has plenty of shades of pink and there are even small shadows on the ground.

Same goes for “Triumph of Death.”

Look at that poor guy lying dead in on the floor with an arrow through him! So sad and funny and adorable. And violent. Pleasantly confusing.

One of my other favorites was “The Demon Tamer” because it looks very much like a Renaissance portrait.

Here are a few more shots of some of the works downstairs.

Upstairs you can see Buff’s series “Melty Misfits” which is inspired by Garbage Pail Kid trading cards.

There were also some studies of the works in the show. You can also buy a pack of the trading cards!

Who knew you could create such cute yet violent art?

This little guy just  makes me melt. I’d love to have him as my bodyguard…

Between a Palm Tree & a Produce Store — Sand One

As fun as it is to have there be mystery around a piece of street art – some of them aren’t signed in any way – it’s nice when you get the artist’s signature right under any given piece of street art.

A casual stroll on Fairfax gives you plenty of opportunities to spot some street art and on this particular walk, I was snapping away like a frenzied, overly-excited tourist. Behind a huge palm tree and on the way of the Three Amigos produce store, I found this particular gem.

I love the girl’s eyelashes. I’ve seen that style on other walls, too and it always amazes me, especially on a wall this big! This particular gal’s also got some awesome hair that curls all the way down to the bottom of the wall. Even her big pink lips have spots with white that make them look more realistic.

And interestingly enough, this artist had both her name and website on the her piece. She’s a great artist that’s created some really awesome works and when I looked through other pics in my handy memory card, I came across another piece she did on the side of a bar in Culver City. Any good street artist gets their name across the city- that’s how you know they mean business. Sand One is no exception.

This girl is equally detailed and I’m loving her long nails and the bottle she’s holding. Female artists usually get that bad wrap about making ‘feminine’ art but I love Sand One’s pieces but they are somehow feminine, gritty, humorous (the XX bottle is pretty witty) and eye-catching.

I can’t remember where I spotted this next one, but the style is very much hers.

Just further evidence that girls can rock the streets too. Check out her website to shop for handbags, shirts and more that rep her street art. Oh, and to make her even more legit, I found an interview on Laist from 2011 that talks about her having a lot of art up around Los Angeles at the young age of 19. You’re never too young to start!

Victor Reyes @ Known Gallery

It’s fun to look for street art around your neighborhood so imagine looking for twenty-six letters throughout a portion of the city.

Street artist Victor Reyes was able to provide that for the residents of Mission District in San Francisco. In swirling, beautiful colors he covered certain parts of the streets with letters – one was a giant ‘M’ on the wall of a liquor store. Reyes began his career in the 1990s and now has a second solo show at Known Gallery. “The Jungle,” which runs until the 7th, shows off both Reyes’ skill with typography and his ability to work with colors.

When you first walk in, two opposing pieces greet you. What I liked about these were that they were so different yet so similar. “Diamond” was a strictly black-and-white piece with an amazing amount of detail.

Across from this piece was “The Jungle” which was an explosion of color that contrasted this piece. But it also had a good amount of detail and some of the same swirling shapes.

What helped show off the art even more were some cool artistic and curatorial choices. In any given show, the curator works with the artist to decide placement of pieces and in this particular show both the curator and artist’s vision came through.

For example, the gallery chose to dedicate an entire wall to a group of piece which Reyes entitled “Quilt” followed by the piece’s respective number.

Reyes also chose to pair some pieces together, with one triangular canvas on top of a rectangular one.

Some pieces also showed off his typography skills, while still keeping to the themes of the other pieces (i.e. the swirling colors).

The show was focused on showing the “savage nature of humanity in context of modern day America while simultaneously exploring the primal, mammalian inclinations that pulse just under the facade of contemporary culture.”

My favorite piece was “Lions” because from far away I couldn’t tell that there were in fact two animals fighting. The color are spectacular here and it’s one of those pieces that you can’t just glance at and walk away from.

Check out the other pieces in the show. I definitely recommend seeing it in person. There’s something about these colors that is transifixing.

Shaping Up to Be a Sticker Art Star

So I’ve done a few posts about sticker art but I’m quite intrigued by this artist mostly because I can tell he/she really wants to be found.

Because I saw about six stickers in the span of 10 minutes on a walk of only about 5 or 6 blocks.

It’s a simple sticker made up of three trapezoids stacked to create an upside down triangle in the middle. All of it is in a white circle with a black outline.

Definitely a symbol for something. Whatever it is, I kept finding sticker after sticker with every few steps I took. Someone took the time – and went to some good heights – to post their stickers anywhere a careful or even not-so-careful observer could see them. These are only a few of the ones I spotted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over-eager or admirably determined? You decide.

Meanwhile I’m curious to know the artist. Send me a message? If not, stay mysterious. That’s always cool too. I’ll be seeing your stickers.

 

I Present You with a Facebook Page!

If you’re reading this, thanks a bunch!! I might not update often but this blog has been awesome to keep up. 

So to kick everything up a notch, I’ve created a Facebook page! Please click ‘like,’ share with friends and stay tuned! I’ll be putting up new posts but also sharing art-related news and tidbits. 

Get your art on.

Link here!! https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-World-is-a-Canvas/330210570352094

Audio Canvas 3 @ Crewest Gallery

Despite the fact that a lot of graffiti and street art is made with mostly the same medium, the style out there are probably more varied than any artist’s given spray paint can palette.

Crewest Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles is yet another gallery showcasing some memorable, exciting pieces from street and graffiti artists. One of their current shows called “Audio Canvas 3” revolved around live music and art. The opening night featured DJs spinning while artists did their stuff.

When you first venture forth into the exhibition, the first thing you’ll probably see is this piece…

The piece is by artists SER @ USE. It’s quite large and is mixed media – the smaller LA square are actually smaller individual pieces of paper. I especially like how a lot of the pieces liked to show off the fluidity of the spray paint, letting it drip in certain places for more effect.

In fact a lot of the pieces were about going beyond just the canvas, something street and graffiti art is definitely good at.

Take this untitled piece by Vyal, for instance. It’s on a canvas but the piece comes to life and extends onto the walls next to the canvas. So basically, it’s so artistically complex that it can’t simply be confined onto a canvas’ surface.

I’m not sure if those are meant to be bubbles or just bubble-like figures but check out those details! Vyal obviously knows where to put shadows and whites to create a realistic look.

The best part of the show was how different the styles of all the artists were. The owner of Crewest, Man One, actually had a piece in the show called “Reaching Up.”

I asked him to tell me about his piece and he basically explained that the figure is part of a series where he paints graffiti spirits. The background of the piece is made up of tags, which represent the negativity of the city. Basically, the spirit is rising out of this negativity.

The figure is reaching (thus the title!) for the cap of a spray paint can; Man One explained that he did this in order to say that graffiti art can be an escape from the negativity of the city.

Neutra’s work was also visually interesting though more playful.

This piece is interesting because it also plays with the way that canvases are set up. Some of them are on canvases even though the majority of the piece is painted directly on the wall. In “Ice Cream,” Neutra sets it up so that there is a pedestal on the wall and a canvas mounted on top in a clever mesh between the wall and the canvas.

The way in which the colors were blended in this piece was quite captivating, even when Neutra chose to use common, everyday subjects.

Another interesting part of the exhibit were the works of Black Light Kings, a duo made up of street artists Axa and Pops. Basically, a black light is shone on the piece at night for a cool viewing experience. But the piece are visually captivating even during the day.

There were also works from artists AISE Born and Robert Vargas, who also had their own distinct styles. AISE’s work used a dark background and contrasted it with brighter colors.

Vargas’ work on the other hand, used lighter colors. I liked the way that he created shadows and let the lines of his work show.

Overall, the show was quite diverse and exemplifies the versatility of street and graffiti art. It’s also a sure sign that street/graffiti will only keep developing. “Audio Canvas 3” is up until Jan. 29 so check it out if you can! Sound off in the comments about the artists, street art, galleries and anything and everything in between!