AdWeek is reporting on a series of funny anti-Trump outdoor ads have been popping up on bus-stop billboards around New York City the past week. These cheeky, hilarious ads riff on well-known films and popular fiction such as Dr. Strangelove, Thelma and Louise, The Shining, Humpty Dumpy, and Dumb and Dumber. The campaign amounts to an unpaid exercise in creative guerrilla activist-marketing. The ads were created by three friends, each of whom work for different advertising agency. See more more images on Adweek.
This hilarious wheat-paste street art on an old clapboard bungalow in Venice looks like a child’s Crayola drawing of a human body. Or is it a robot? No matter. Various parts of the body are called out: Eyes, mouth, hands, etc. Which reminds us of a children’s educational song, the kind use to teach kids in pre-school. But we think an adult may have had a hand in the creation of this artwork (aside from illegally posting it) because where logic would suggest the word “butt” it instead says “shit.”
We stumbled upon this “I Take Care of My Beaches” message on a sticker-bombed pole at the Rincon Beach parking lot near Santa Barbara, California. The sticker’s message is positive and encourage visitors to keep the the coast clean. The message itself can be read as a bit of a cheeky pun, playing off hip-hop culture’s lyrical tropes where usually the word “beaches” would be “bitches.”
The work of Brooklyn-based artist Simone Leigh explores many themes. Among these are the African diaspora and identity. A small exhibition of this work is currently on view at the exceptionally well-curated Hammer Museum of Art in Los Angeles. The show includes sculpture and an installation of an African-modeled thatched hut that houses a monitor displaying a video of a choreographed dance.
The curb in front of the Alfred Coffee in Silver Lake, Los Angeles has been cheekily employed as signage, and as such a clever branding device that bears the cafe’s slogan in stenciled white-on-black paint: “But First, Coffee.” Whether this guerrilla marketing tactic is legal is unknown. (We suspect it isn’t legal and they didn’t ask the city for permission.) In the extreme car culture of L.A., where people are especially attuned to the meanings of the city’s various color-coded curb markings, finding free, legal street parking can be frustrating. Alfred Coffee brings a welcomed touch of levity to the experience, as well as a reminder of our caffeinated priorities.
One more note … On the sidewalk is a purple stencil street art that riffs on graphic designer Milton Glaser’s iconic “I Heart NY” logo concept, but the graphical quality with this street stencil is muddled and it isn’t clear what the message is. But the “heart” part of the visual trope looks a lot like the face of legendary film actor Jack Nicholson as he appeared in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.”
This crudely painted “Screamface”graffiti is on a sign behind a gas station at the intersection of Lincoln and Venice boulevards in Venice. It cries for attention, but without any visually relevant context or messaging its meaning is a mystery and can only be speculated. In other words: Who the fuck is Screamface? (Is it even a “someone”?) Why do we care? Graffiti, even as plain as this, and with relative anonymity has a history. In New York City, this style could be seen often. The graffiti writers and artists “Rambo” and “Neckface” scrawled their names in large crude letters on massive billboards around the city and around the world for years. Only a few knew what it meant and who was behind it. It’s just a moniker. But the word “scream” and “face” apart or combined conjure evocative, emotional notions for the viewer, perhaps, an idea of rage. But the Why is a mystery.
Photographer Mike Kelley photographed airplanes taking off from airports around the world and then composited the images to provide a visualization of all the various airlines and takeoffs. Kelley calls these “Airportraits.” You can view more of these images on his website. The image of LAX above was used for the front cover photo of Nicholas Felton’s recent data-visualization book “PhotoViz.”
We love this type of street art, the kind that takes a mundane, boring piece of “street furniture” — in this case an electrical utility box — and uses it as canvas for something aesthetically interesting, beautiful and evocative. This painting in Venice, in Los Angeles, uses elements of collage, illustration, graphic design and fashion, as well as a liberal use of striped patterns, to create a bold and fresh interruption of suburban visual landscape.
The work space at the Los Angeles offices of mega-global advertising agency TBWA (a.k.a, TBWA Chiat Day) is epic and includes an indoor, park-like plaza where people can meet, hang out, collaborate, or dine. (Full disclosure, we do work for another, separate ad agency that is related to TBWA.) The space is bathed in natural light from large skylights and is part of a massive warehouse-like former industrial building that was converted into a warren of multi-level interior office structures, bridges and open spaces reconcieved for the agency culture and work style.
When we saw this graffiti truck in Los Angeles a couple of days ago, we were for a hot sec transported back to downtown New York City, where such trucks are everywhere. The elaborate artwork on this truck reminds us of the classic “wild style” graffiti art that emerged alongside early hip-hop culture in NYC. While seeing graffiti art like this in LA is not unusual at all, it’s not as common as it is New York, where this blog was founded and where we lived for 15 years. The sight of this truck parked off fashionable Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice gave us a moment of cognitive dissonance.
This beautiful black-and-white photo-realistic mural of palm trees silhouetted is a new addition to the street art scenery along Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, Los Angeles. Created by Noah Abrams Studio, the mural includes a single, tall palm tree trunk that if viewed from a certain angle lines up perfectly with an actual palm tree in the background. Clever.
The controversial Chinese artist and activist Ai Wei Wei is depicted in this new mural along Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, Los Angeles. (See other related posts on Ai Wei Wei.) Rendered in a style like a pencil illustration, the artist appears serious and pensive, as though he’s staring past you into the middle distance. Wei Wei’s head appears to float in the space of the white-painted brick wall, disembodied, iconic and alone.
We’re not “into cars” nor have we aspired to possess a stylish sports car. That said, we love great design and if somebody wanted to give us a Porsche 912 like the one pictured here, we wouldn’t say “No.” In fact, we would lovingly care for it and fully appreciate its beautiful form. A variant of the iconic 911 — a vehicle dubbed the “car of the century” back in the ’90s — the 912 was manufactured from 1965 to 1969 and originally outsold the 911. From appearances and body, the 912 and 911 would appear to be the same vehicle. But subtle differences exist under the hood that translate into the car performing differently and selling at different basic prices. We don’t know much about cars, but from what we’ve been told by our friends who do is that one fundamental difference between the two models was that the 912 had a 4-cyclinder engine compared to the 6-cyclinder of the 911. What strikes us most though are the aesthetics of the car’s design, a compact, elegant and curvy, if mildly sexy shape that seems to be unburdened by any superfluous volume or form. The one pictured here is in mint condition. We spied it parked overnight in a lot adjacent to some light-industry warehouses in Los Angeles. The next day it was at the same spot and we took a moment to photograph it in the afternoon light.
The cheeky message of this wheatpaste street art posted on a back-alley dumpster is unequivocal. Using a graphical, copy-paste collage style, the poster could be interpreted as form of commentary on the inherent narcissim of self-photography and image-making that is a by-product of social media. “Selfie This” offers a middle-fingered salute as hilarious insult, a visual offense that can be used for ironic, humorous effect by anybody taking a selfie with this poster. Which was probably the point. Look for it in the alley behind the restaurant Gjelina on Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice, is Los Angeles.
This new piece of street art is by the Syrian-born artist Hagop Belian, who also goes by the moniker “Made of Hagop.” The artwork is one of a few by Belian that adorn the exterior brown wall at Gjelina, a popular restaurant in the heart of Venice, in Los Angeles. Many of the artist’s street artworks are in the form of fantastical, larger-than-life renderings of various humans and animals as black-and-white wheat-pastes. The artwork evokes a playfulness like that of a classic illustrated children’s book. Belian lives and works in Venice and his street artworks have become a recognizable part of the Venice landscape.
This glowing, LED-illuminated sculpture of an old-school pay phone is by artist Doug Aitken. It’s titled “Twilight,” and it’s absolutely sublime. The artwork is one of dozens upon dozens of works by Aitken currently on view as part of his “Electric Earth” retrospective at MOCA Los Angeles. The exhibition is a must see. “Twilight” itself is an evocative object. The resin-cast sculpture generates a soft, cool light that beckons like a visual siren from the far end of a cavernous side gallery within MOCA’s gargantuan architectural footprint. It stands mysterious and totemic like a forgotten relic from the time before cellphones were ubiquitous, infused with a strange loneliness.
This cheeky mural on the side of liquor store on Normandie Avenue in Hollywood depicts current U.S. President Barack Obama fencing. Unfortunately the camera angle wasn’t wide enough to show his fencing opponent on the left, Russian President Vladimir Putin. The idea of Obama and Putin physically battling each other as fencers is perhaps an apt metaphor for current US-Russia political relations and the nature of geo-political engagements between world powers. The mural is by Art Via Art.