On Tuesday, we spied this beautiful work-in-progress graffiti art on the side of the Davy Jones Liquor Locker, a famously no-frills liquor store in Venice, Los Angeles. We’ll go back to see the completed work in a few days and post pix here, but judging from what we see, there’s a local beach theme with palm trees and summery, sunny colors on the “wild style” lettering. Even in its half-finished state, the artwork is beautiful. This spot has been a canvas for a lot of other commisioned graffit art and street art over the years.
This beautiful old-school graffiti art is on a corrugated metal fence next to the Venice Beach offices of an advertising agency called Cold Open. Check out this short time-lapse video documenting the painting of this graffiti artwork.
We were driving through Leucadia, California recently on a weekend surf trip when this freight train decorated with lots of graffiti rolled by. Nearly every car in this train had either massive artwork like in the above photo or colorful graffiti tags painted on it. Where and when this graffiti was painted is anybody’s guess, but it wasn’t in Encinitas. The train brings the artwork to audiences far away from where it was painted. It’s an example of what outer-borough subway graffiti writers back in 1970s New York City used to refer to as “getting up and getting out.”
This crudely painted “Screamface”graffiti is on a sign behind a gas station at the intersection of Lincoln and Venice boulevards in Venice. It cries for attention, but without any visually relevant context or messaging its meaning is a mystery and can only be speculated. In other words: Who the fuck is Screamface? (Is it even a “someone”?) Why do we care? Graffiti, even as plain as this, and with relative anonymity has a history. In New York City, this style could be seen often. The graffiti writers and artists “Rambo” and “Neckface” scrawled their names in large crude letters on massive billboards around the city and around the world for years. Only a few knew what it meant and who was behind it. It’s just a moniker. But the word “scream” and “face” apart or combined conjure evocative, emotional notions for the viewer, perhaps, an idea of rage. But the Why is a mystery.
When we saw this graffiti truck in Los Angeles a couple of days ago, we were for a hot sec transported back to downtown New York City, where such trucks are everywhere. The elaborate artwork on this truck reminds us of the classic “wild style” graffiti art that emerged alongside early hip-hop culture in NYC. While seeing graffiti art like this in LA is not unusual at all, it’s not as common as it is New York, where this blog was founded and where we lived for 15 years. The sight of this truck parked off fashionable Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice gave us a moment of cognitive dissonance.