Category Archives: Street Art

THE ANTHONY BOURDAIN MURAL

The much-beloved American writer, television show presenter, foodie and former chef Anthony Bourdain passed away in June last year in a an apparent suicide. Bourdain was in France at the time. The news shocking. We were fans of his books, as well of his food and travel TV series “No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown.” The latter was still in production for CNN when Bourdain died. Within days a mural of Bourdain was painted in tribute to him by artist Jonas Never.

The artwork is on an exterior wall of the Gramercy, a restaurant in Santa Monica, in Los Angeles, and it has become a local landmark. You can find it on 25th Street near the southwest corner at Wilshire Boulevard.

Murals of homage and tribute are not new. Portraits of movie stars and rock stars as well as grass-roots political leaders have often been painted in remembrance of their talents and greatness after their deaths. But a celebrity chef? Rare.

Granted Bourdain’s celebrity was attained near the tail end of his hands-on culinary career. He wrote his bestselling memoir “Kitchen Confidential” while still in the employ at the New York City restaurant Les Halles. The book made him a small “c” celebrity in the world of food and foodies.

He wrote several more successful books and became a fixture on cable-TV cooking shows a la the Food Network. Later, his own TV shows transcended the cooking genre and became more about travel albeit with food at its center. These were travelogues. Each episode was in essence a mini-documentary about a country, its culture and cuisine, its history and society.

We lived vicariously as Bourdain shuttled by plane, boat, train, car, horseback, etc., from one destination to another, from one cultural landmark to the other, sampling both the sublime and the touristy, while also sampling an incredible array of local restaurant fare. As a result of CNN’s “Parts Unknown” popularity, Bourdain had practically become a household name.

WE ALL SCREAM …

… FOR ICE CREAM! Well, we didn’t want any ice cream before we saw this mural on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. (We think it was Melrose, but our memory is a bit distorted since we’ve been seriously distracted by this terrible L.A.summer heatwave.) Then we saw this beautiful mural  in front of an ice cream shop, the name of which escapes our memory (again … we blame the heatwave). Maybe it was a gelato shop. In any case, the mural got us thinking about ice cream. The colors of the artwork reminded us of savory ice cream flavors like salted caramel, chocolate and sorbet. Yummy. The mural is delight of symmetry and color and looks cool and delicious. The opposite of hot, dry, sweaty and crazy from the heat. Now we want ice cream. Let’s start screaming.

CLAW IN LA LA LAND

The story may be apocryphal, but if true — and we believe it is — it’s a telling anecdote about the graffiti artist Claw, a.k.a., Claw Money., a.k.a., Claudia Gold. Back in the day, in the 1990s, a friend of ours and Claw dated briefly. As he recalled, one time they were together, she suddenly left in the wee hours of morning to “fix” or repair one of her graffiti a tags in New York’s East Village. Claw had got word that somebody had written graffiti over her tag and went out as soon as she could to surreptiously restore her tag to its former glory. That’s commitment. Coincidentally  many years later, we worked briefly with an advertising agency in New York whose offices were next to the office of Claw’s growing fashion business. We hadn’t seen much of Claw in recent years in terms of graffiti art. So it was a welcome surprise to see her signature claw graffiti tag at the Beyond the Streets exhibition in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. Given her influence and the iconic style of her distinct graffiti tag, it shouldn’t be a surprise at all.

CURRENT EVENTS: “BENEDICT DONALD”

Given the news in the past 24 hours about U.S. President Donald Trump and his meeting in Helsinki with Russian president Vladimir Putin, this funny wheatepaste street art  in Los Feliz, Los Angeles is even more resonant and  an apt example of clever political humor.

INVADER WAS HERE

The French street artist known as Invader (a.k.a., “Space Invader”) occupies a distinct place in the street art world. He has worked in a medium that few others have. His artwork is in the form pre-arranged mosaic-tile pieces affixed to walls all over the world. The mosaic tiles give his images a pixelated look consistent with the aesthetic of old-school video game interfaces like 1980s arcade game Space Invader, to which his name alludes. The images in his mosaics have mostly been of the iconic alien invaders from that classic game. For the blockbuster Beyond the Streets exhibition in Los Angeles, Invader created the site specific work pictured here that declares “Invader was here.” The official title of this artwork is “LA 172,” which denotes that this is the 172nd such mosaic artwork he has put up in Los Angeles throughout his career.

STARSTRUCK: ALEC’S INEVITABLE MARILYN MONROE MURAL

The artist ALEC has made a career of street art and massive murals with images of pop-culture icons and celebrities from New York City to far-flung corners like Bali, Indonesia. It’s fitting — and perhaps inevitable — that in the heart of Hollywood he would paint a mural of legendary film actress Marilyn Monroe, a cinematic icons who best represents the spectrum of Hollywood fame, glitz and glamour, and ultimately tragedy.