Category Archives: Street Art

RELATIONSHIPS: WHEN STREET ART GETS TOO SEXY

This street artwork of two rabbits in flagrante leaves nothing to the imagination. The relationship between the creatures is raw and natural and strictly an instinctive biological transaction between animals. Rabbits are often depicted as cute and innocent in popular culture. But here they’re engaged in sex, an uncute physical act. It’s rude, but it’s also terribly funny. The indelible graphical image and comic-book style the bunnies are depicted in is in stark contrast to the otherwise utterly forgettable graffiti tags on either side. Find this on a wall next to a vacant lot along Lincoln Blvd. in Venice, Los Angeles. 

VEHICULAR: THE COBRA SNAKE VAN

Wait … what? The Cobra Snake van is parked on ultra-luxe Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, in Los Angeles? Actually we’ve seen the van parked here for the past year. ( Our HQ is a few blocks away in the NOT ultra-luxe part of Santa Monica.) Who knew the Cobra Snake was so bougie?

STREETSY: ELECTRICAL UTILITY BOX AS CANVAS

The electrical utility box is a feature of the built-up urban landscape in many U.S. cities. These boxes tend to be rectangular gray objects standing upright on sidewalks and are mostly featureless, neutral occupants of public space. What better a blank canvas is there for street artists to showcase their work, illicit or commissioned. In parts of Los Angeles, especially in the westside neighborhoods of Venice and Mar Vista, it appears almost every utility box is covered with street art or graffiti. The art is often colorful and inoffensive, adding a dash of color to the gray and black hues of the city streets and pavement.

 

DIVINE KIM KARDASHIAN AND SAINT / NORTH

This simple photographic wheat-paste street art in Venice, Los Angeles, depicts Kim Kardashian with, we assume, one of her two children (Saint or North West-Kardashian). In this image, she appears saintly, head wrapped in a manner like the late Mother Teresa. Kardashian may have once seemed an unlikely celebrity and pop-cultural phenom. The reality-TV star initially rose to notoriety on the heels of a leaked homemade sex tape back in the 2000s. Since then she has transcended from her role as TV celeb of dubious talent to an international beauty and fashion icon. She married hip-hop megastar Kanye West and bore her children with him. Recently she has become a vocal advocate for prison reform going so far as to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump to make the case for issuing a pardon on behalf of a convicted drug offender. Her profile is slowly changing. Perhaps motherhood, success, experience and a relentless media presence have led to an awareness of how to wield her influence, her megaphone, for a greater cause.

ALL THE FEELS WRIT LARGE

This poignant street art, if it can be called that (we think it qualifies), is essentially poetry painted in black, handwritten cursive style on an back-alley gate in Venice, Los Angeles.

STREETSY : STENCIL STREET ART NOT DEAD, APPARENTLY

Stencil street art seems like it’s everywhere these days. It wasn’t always so. There was a time when mere graffiti art was put up either using cans of aerosol spray paint or for early graphical street art as poster sheets stuck on to walls using buckets of wheat paste and a brush.

The first use of stencils to create artwork allowed creators to much more quickly put up spray-painted works with more detail and graphical realism. Banksy was not the first to use stencils but much of his body of artwork uses elaborate stencils and the stenciled image is associated with his style. Using stencils made it so that he (he, she, they, whoever Banksy really is) could put art on walls in mere minutes if not seconds, thereby minimizing risk of detection by authorities.

The stencil may seem played-out now. Though the means of creation is not the artwork itself, stenciled street art has a distinct aesthetic quality. But unless the street artwork is super compelling, we’re a little jaded when it comes to seeing a stenciled work. The look is old, but the possibilities of its aesthetic potency remain undiminished.

Stencil street art is not dead, apparently.

The wheat-pasted stenciled artwork pictured here is rendered in red paint and shows a hand clasping a flower, possibly a rose. It’s in Venice, in Los Angeles, and it’s simple and poignant. What does it mean? You tell us.

THE CUTENESS! STENCIL STREET ART APPEALS TO BASE EMOTIONS

Ah, so cuuuuuuuuuuuuute! This street art in Venice, Los Angeles, depicts an almost life-sized, stenciled, spray-painted image of a man hunched over as he pours water (or is it milk) from a kettle into a bowl where black cats sip. It’s so … Banksy-esque, but it’s not by Banksy. It’s faux-Banksy, though it was never intended nor pretended to be a Banksy painting in the first place. Stencil street art pre-dates Banksy. The stencil artwork sure is cute and puts smiles on our faces. But what does it say? What does it mean? Nothing. Sure, it doesn’t have to mean anything. But if it doesn’t say anything is it then really no more than mere decoration. And if it’s artwork as just decoration can it really be even called “art”? 

SO EXTRA! SUPER STREETSY ALL-STAR STREET ART

Talk about piling on. We snapped this pic in the back alley (are there other kinds?) than runs behind row of fashionable shops on Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, Los Angeles. It shows mostly wheat-paste street art (a.k.a., “wheaties”) by what appears different artists.

It’s a real mix of content and subject matter and visual styles. There’s a half-ripped yellow poster of a lone eye looking out at you. There’s a wheatie image of a man wearing a tie  — a “businessman,” perhaps — with his hand on his forehead as if weeping or experiencing a massive migraine headache. Perhaps he’s a day trader who has just lost everything.

There’s a small cut-out of a silhouetted person riding a bicycle through the sky with a loaded basket — the iconic image from the film “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.” There’s a poster of some comically drawn sketchy dude wearing a beanie and smoking something, maybe a spliff.

These paste-ups are across a set of doors to a storage cabinets covered in painted graffiti that appears as weathered abstract lines. We love stuff like this, when a spot gets bombed with a lot of different piece or artwork

STREETSY: IS NEW BLACK-AND-WHITE PHOTO STREET ART BY JR OR JR WANNABE?

Hey, you know JR, right? The French street artist who has become something of a worldwide phenom over the past decade?

Yes, that JR. The one who takes black-and-white photos of people, their faces, close-ups of their eyes and mouths, and then prints them up at massive, mega-blown-up scale and wheat-pastes them on the sides of entire buildings, on the roofs of houses and on the sides of trains.

Yes, that’s the JR we’re talking about.

Well, that JR is the subject of some local speculation with regards to a recent work of street art that appeared on fashionable Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice Beach. See pic above.

Or, rather, the speculation is about who put up this street art. It has all the makings of “a JR.” But is it? Is it some other artist? Is it a JR wannabe? A copycat?

And who is the subject of this artwork? Is it, as one commenter on our Instagram feed asked, a photo of octagenarian French filmmaker Agnes Varda?  The face, the eyes and the haircut — especially the haircut — have all the makings of Varda.

These are questions we want answers to, savvy reader. And we have answers! 

The art was put there by JR (or by his assistants / minions / 3rd-party contractor). The image is of Agnes Varda. It’s placement and timing are not an accident.

As some of you savvy readers may already well be aware, JR and Varda collaborated on a documentary film project called “Faces Places.” The film was a critical success and garnered a 2018 Academy Award nomination. The street artwork appeared around the time of the Awards ceremonies in March, which, of course, are held each year in Los Angeles. Varda herself was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy last year.

So there you have it.

(Uh, BTW, follow us on Instagram! We’re @globalgraphica )

NEEDS: A PALM TREE WEARING SUNGLASSES, RIDING A SKATEBOARD

Needs. We all have them. And who doesn’t need a “shady palm.” That is, a palm that just doesn’t provide shade, but wears shades. A palm tree that sports sunglasses. 

What more could one want? Well, sun-protection eyewear aside, we need a palm tree that can handle a skateboard. A palm that can shred the boardwalk and the skate park.

This small, cartoony wheat-paste street art is a cute visual pun. The artist is New York City-based artist Raddington Falls, a.k.a., “RAD.” Find “Shady Palm” on Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, Los Angeles.

Check out more of RAD’s work on this website.

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 espresso. Over the past three or four years we’ve visited the cafes, coffee roasteries, and espresso bars of almost every significant purveyor of freshly brewed third-wave coffee in Los Angeles, New York, Amsterdam, and Tokyo. 

In Los Angeles, one of the relatively newer players in the local coffee situation is Alfred Coffee. From its beginnings in L.A.’s fashionable Silver Lake neighborhood a few years ago, it has sprouted several branches.

The most recent outpost is in Beverly Hills and like the Silver Lake cafe, it’s decorated with a mural by British artist JGoldcrown and one of his “Lovewall” (a.k.a., “Bleeding Hearts”) murals. Goldcrown’s street art pieces have popped up all around the City of Angels in the past couple of years.

Goldcrown’s heart-filled street artworks can be found on buildings from Santa Monica and Venice on the the city’s beachy far west  side, to the Valley, to Silver Lake and the Downtown Arts District on the east, and now in between, in one of the poshest neighborhoods in the world.

Each “Lovewall” is a rectangle of cartoony, roughly-drawn heart shapes in various colors. Some are outlines of hearts, others filled in. The effect is like that of a casual array of doodles scrawled out of boredom on a high-school student’s notebook.

These hearts are often on a white background, but recently the artist has created versions on a black background or with words written into the field of hearts. The new mural at the new Alfred Coffee in Beverly Hills is yet another variation. It’s on a pink background, which is the most evocative — and our favorite — color yet.

Goldcrown’s “Lovewall” murals are on the road to becoming iconic landmarks. In Beverly HIlls, it will make it easier to spot the new Alfred Coffee as you navigate Santa Monica Blvd. traffic in search of a stylish flat white with almond milk and an extra shot of espresso. Like we need that extra shot. (We do.)