Love is a recurring theme of a lot of street art. And often it’sin its simplest, plainest, most straightforward expressions that resonates with viewers. JGoldcrown’s widely Instagrammed “Lovewall” comes to mind, as does Casey Kulig’s globally-spread “Love Me” meme. “Love Me Anyways” is painted on sidewalks and walls in a handwritten-style of lettering that exposes some personality in the artist. The example pictured above was found in the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles.
The ever-gentrifying Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles is home to lots of large-scale street art, including this classic Shepard Fairey politically-tinged mural on Alameda Street behind the Angel City Brewery. The artwork depicts the late U.S. president Ronald Reagan holding a sign that says “Legislative influence for sale.” Its message — and politically expressive art in general — strongly resonates in the current American political climate.
The artwork on these beautiful vintage 1970s-era surfboards is surprisingly well-preserved even though the boards themselves show some of the wear and tear that comes with use and age, bearing scars of repaired dings and discoloration. The boards evoke a time when surf culture was evolving and surfing was largely seen in the U.S. as a past time for rebels, outsiders and underground creative types. These are among hundreds of boards on view at the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center in San Clemente, California, which is worth a visit if you’re ever passing through the area.
The branding of coffee roaster and cafe Common Room in Costa Mesa, California is a simple two-dimensional, flat icon of a coffee cup and saucer. It appears repeated in a diagonal pattern across the cafe’s exterior, a gray single-story brick warehouse-type building in a light-industrial business park devoid of shops and the hustle-and-bustle street traffic that comes with it. The windows are darkly shaded. Both its location and secretive minimalist architectural design give it an air of mystique.
This 2007 sculptural object by artist Jimmie Durham is a bold assemblage of red oil drums, canvas, acrylic, PVC and an old wooden boat the artist found in Lisbon, Portugal. The title “L’essence” is the French word for gasoline. The boat seems to be afloat atop the metal oil barrels. The artwork is currently on view at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, part of a retrospective of Durham’s work.
For years we would see the wheat-pasted artwork of artist Spazmat posted around downtown New York City. His posters were unmissable. His street art was comprised of an iconic image: An illustrated portrait of a skeleton with a cell phone in its bony hand held up to the skull as if talking on the phone. The posters were usually rendered in a stark white on black. Informally dubbed as “Skull Phone,” the image suggested many things, among these the dangers of technology. We hadn’t seen Spazmat’s artwork in many years until we recently spotted one of his skull phone wheaties on a utility box along Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles. This one was printed in blue and white with a striped design, almost nautical in style and fitting for its location a few meters across the road from the ocean.