“Wow!” Just “Wow!” That’s what we exclaimed as we approached the stop at the T-intersection in our car. We were winding our way along a two-lane country road high in the far reaches of the Santa Monica Mountains. We were on our way to a beach in deepest Malibu for a bit if surfing.
As we brought our surfboards-laden vehicle to a full stop at the remote junction, we got a good, clear look at what had so suddenly gripped our attention and surprised us. We saw the graffiti tag on the directional traffic sign in front of us. Were our eyes deceiving us? Was this an apparition? Were we hallucinating with memories of street art experienced in our years living in New York City?
No this was real! It was the unmistakeable signature of an infamous artist whose wheat-pasted street art posters for years could be found all around the downtown Manhattan landscape, from SoHo to the Lower East Side. Here it was as a cleanly penned, fuschia paint-markered tag. It was “WhIsBe,” an artist whose work we’ve documented on this site and on our Instagram feed over the years. The tag was rendered in the same handwritten style we’d seen signed on so many of WhIsbe’s artworks over the years.
So what was his tag doing here in this remote, mountainous wilderness area 50 miles north west of Los Angeles? And why just a tag, instead of an actual piece of artwork or a graphic visual? We’d been driving this road almost daily in recent weeks as it had become our new route to our usual Malibu surf spots since moving to a new home a couple of months ago. So the tag was fresh.
We’d kind of forgotten about WhIsBe since re-locating from N.Y.C. to L.A. a few years ago. This was a nice surprise. “WTF?” we thought, “This is so random.” For a moment we were lost in our thoughts and memories, a reverie broken only by the impatient honking of horns from other surfboard-laden vehicles waiting behind us. We quickly snapped these pix and proceeded on our way down the canyon road to the beach, thinking “WhIsBe,” we’ve missed you!”