Street Art at Zinc … Arts District, Los Angeles

Black-and-white photo-realistic portraits on the exterior wall of Zinc Cafe, near Willow and Mateo streets in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District. These artworks are part of a series that run along the entire wall. The area has become a bit of a mecca for street art — and art in general — in recent […]

Street Art by Esoteric Truth … Arts District, Los Angeles

This wheat-pasted stenciled artwork by the artist who goes by the moniker “Esoteric Truth” can be found near the corner of Mateo and Willow streets in the Downtown Los Angeles  Arts District.

SHEPARD FAIREY IS EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE

We were in Silver Lake, in Los Angeles, stopping by a popular espresso bar for a quick coffee, driving around and around looking for a spot to park when there it was staring at us: A poster by artist Shepard Fairey. A little later, on a recent visit to the Arts District in L.A. to […]

PUMPIN’: STREET ART WITH LOTS OF HEART

We love coffee. You probably do too. But we REALLY love coffee. It’s actually kind of a problem, and, though we may try to curtail our consumption from time to time, we will probably never give it up. Caffeine is a drug. This addiction has driven us to go above and beyond in seeking out good […]

PAINTERLY: SARAH CAIN’S MASSIVE MURAL AT ICA FILLS EMPTY DEAD SPACE

“Now I’m Going to Tell You Everything” is the title of this site-mural at the recently opened Institute of Contemporary Art, or ICA, in Los Angeles. The painting is by L.A.-based artist Sarah Cain, and it fills what otherwise might be an unremarkable empty dead space in an exterior courtyard in an unremarkable strip of […]

DRIVEN TO ABSTRACTION: THE INCREDIBLE DEPTH OF ELLEN GALLAGHER’S “BLACK” PAINTINGS

These paintings by artist Ellen Gallagher speak to us in deep, immediate, profound ways. The black abstractions of these canvases are beguiling in their darkness and textures. They change hue and tone as the viewer inches closer to the artwork and the reflection of light off the surface of oil paint brightens and reveals previously […]

NOSTALGIA: STREET ART HAS NO SHAME FOR MEMORY LANE

The British jazz-pop singer Sade can be counted in the Pantheon of 1980s music icons. Her music videos for songs like the “The Greatest Taboo” and “Smooth Operator” were a staple of MTV (back when MTV entire programming consisted of music videos).  She is among several influential 1980s pop-cultural icons depicted in street art portraits by […]

PINKISH: PORTRAIT OF ROBED ELEPHANT-HUMAN STREET ART BEFUDDLES PASSERSBY

Street art often provides many unanswered questions, not only about the artwork itself, but also who created it. There’s seldom clear authorship for most street art and usually no contextual information about the artwork or artist in the way there is for in a museum of gallery. That can make it difficult to attribute the artist […]

CONFUSION: “ART-NOT-ART” STREET ART

A funny thing about “art.” Sometimes the happiest of aesthetic accidents happen as a consequence of totally non-artistic impulses. Take as prima facie example the case of the roller-shutter pictured above. It’s on a warehouse-factory building in the rapidly gentrifying Downtown Los Angeles neighborhood dubbed the Arts District. It’s a beautiful building, a grand structure […]

CULT OF KAWAII: WHEN STREET ART “GETS CUTE” WE ALL SUFFER

  Look, savvy reader! Look at the photo above! See that tiny wheat-pasted street artwork of a poodle-like canine waltzing down the pavement seeming to give zero fucks but in a totally oblivious, entitled way? Ahhhhh …. cuuuuuuuuute, right?!?!?  Look again, look carefully. Is that a dollop of poop nonchalantly emanating from the butt of […]

PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE: STENCIL STREET ART ATTEMPTS WRY SOCIAL COMMENTARY ON SMARTPHONE USE

  We were were recently walking down the street in the Arts District near Downtown Los Angeles (a.k.a., DTLA). We were upbeat, bright-eyed, walking with a spring in our step, as one might say, practically skipping along the pavement and doing this all while scrolling through the email inbox on our battered iPhone, firmly en-gripped in […]

KNOWLEDGE: STREET ART EXPLAINS RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FINANCE AND LOVE

Art can do many things. It can provoke, teach, offend, inform, comfort, inspire, scare, stimulate and bond us. Street art, can possibly do even more things. Its public nature — in “the streets” —  gives it more reach and exposure to a much larger, broader audience than most of the art confined to the indoors […]

Here Comes the Neigborhood: Mural of Basquiat Ups Real Estate Values in Hip Gentrifying Hood

There’s a pattern of tell-tale signs that indicate that a once-undesireable neighborhood is undergoing gentrification. One of these signs is the changing nature of street art, and, more tellingly, the arrival of public art. Although street art is kind of constant throughout the gentrification process, it’s usually in abundance in the neighborhood pre-gentrification and continues […]

The Giant Rose in Downtown LA

German artist Isa Genzken’s “Rose III” giant rose sculpture at the Los Angeles outpost of the Hauser & Wirth gallery in the Arts District in Downtown LA. Another version of “Rose” was for a while installed on the exterior of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.