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.