Monthly Archives: May 2018

ALL THE FEELS WRIT LARGE

This poignant street art, if it can be called that (we think it qualifies), is essentially poetry painted in black, handwritten cursive style on an back-alley gate in Venice, Los Angeles.

SNEAKERS : ARTIST DUMPS USED KICKS ON FLOOR, INSTANTLY CREATES CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED MASTERPIECE

Hey, you! Yes, YOU! You, the savvy reader of this blog. In case you did not know it, you are an artist!

Well, to clarify, if you aren’t, then you can be. Instantly! Yes, INSTANTLY! What if we were to say that you can be an artist within minutes, if not seconds?  

You don’t believe us. Well, let’s a try a little experimental exercise in art production. You have a pair of sneakers, yes? (If you don’t, that’s fine — for this exercise any type of footwear will suffice.) Ok, now grab those sneakers or loafers or mules or flips-flops or whatever, in fact grab a few pairs, as many as you can muster up really. Got ‘em? Great!

Now find some empty floor space, preferably bleached hardwood floor space and pick a spot near a wall, preferably a white wall. Place those pairs of shoes there, and by “place” we mean just dump the shoes on the floor and leave these as they lie when dropped.

And voila, you, savvy ready, have just created a work of art. In fact, it’s a conceptual artwork. It’s kind of like the artwork titled “Skin” by the awesome Moroccan artist Latifa Echakhch pictured in this post. (It’s was recently on view as part of the wonderful and cheeky “Stories of Almost Everyone” exhibition of conceptual art at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.)

You see, you are an artist! (To be more precise, you are conceptual artist!) Great job!

The real artistry here is in the next step: Getting somebody to pay you for this artwork, or at least to devote exhibition space to it.  

Of course, you can always just call the space you dropped those shoes a “gallery” and you’re now an artist with a gallery show. Look at you! You’ve come so far in just a few short minutes.

 

STREETSY : STENCIL STREET ART NOT DEAD, APPARENTLY

Stencil street art seems like it’s everywhere these days. It wasn’t always so. There was a time when mere graffiti art was put up either using cans of aerosol spray paint or for early graphical street art as poster sheets stuck on to walls using buckets of wheat paste and a brush.

The first use of stencils to create artwork allowed creators to much more quickly put up spray-painted works with more detail and graphical realism. Banksy was not the first to use stencils but much of his body of artwork uses elaborate stencils and the stenciled image is associated with his style. Using stencils made it so that he (he, she, they, whoever Banksy really is) could put art on walls in mere minutes if not seconds, thereby minimizing risk of detection by authorities.

The stencil may seem played-out now. Though the means of creation is not the artwork itself, stenciled street art has a distinct aesthetic quality. But unless the street artwork is super compelling, we’re a little jaded when it comes to seeing a stenciled work. The look is old, but the possibilities of its aesthetic potency remain undiminished.

Stencil street art is not dead, apparently.

The wheat-pasted stenciled artwork pictured here is rendered in red paint and shows a hand clasping a flower, possibly a rose. It’s in Venice, in Los Angeles, and it’s simple and poignant. What does it mean? You tell us.

SPACES: HIPSTER-MEXICO SURF CHIC

Salt Fish Surf Co is a surfy boutique in Venice, in Los Angeles, run by the effusive and friendly French surfer Romaine Goudinoux, who designs and sells branded t-shirts, caps, accessories, and leather-and-fabric surfboard bags hand-crafted in Mexico. But, to be clear, his  small second-floor store is not a surf shop. In fact, Salt Fish hardly feels like retail space at all, but rather a beautiful shabby-chic, hipster-surfer living room (dubbed “La Casa Saltfish“). It’s fillwd with Mexican blankets and rugs and a few surfboards propped up amid a tiny selection of merch for sale.  The space and vibe is so cozy and chill that you don’t ever want to leave.

 

DESIGN FOR DANGER

How do you sufficiently inform people of danger? Usually warning signs use visually strong graphical elements and bold lettering in all caps and bright colors — reds, oranges and yellows. But sometime the opposite can attract the same attention: Clean, sober and ultra -plain signage can get the idea across that the message is both important and serious, and can provide official credibility. Last week we went surfing at San Onofre Beach, an historically and culturally significant surf spot about an hour and a half south of Los Angeles. A shark had been spotted earlier in the morning and  California state beach authorities planted warning lines (pictured here) along the beach. The signage certainly looks official and the design is a simple black-and-white graphical treatment with a universally understandable icon of a shark swimming below the waterline.  It at a distance, a casual view of the sign doesn’t convey danger in an obvious way. If the sign hadn’t been planted precisely in front of where we had parked and camped out for the beach day, we wouldn’t have seen it at all.