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.”
We came across this awesome movers truck decorated with the artwork of artist and musician Luke Pelletier. The truck was parked on 3rd Street in Santa Monica near our Los Angeles HQ. Pelletier’s artwork draws on a colorful illustrative style and array of images reflecting Southern California and its beach culture. The “locals mostly” text painted on one side of the truck is reference to surf culture’s “locals only” cliche and a lettering style that emanated from the SoCal surf and skate scene.
Along Pacific Coast Highway, across from famed Malibu Beach and its iconic pier, is this amusing life-size stencil street art of a cat’s silhouette on a brick wall. The feline is depicted in mid-stride at sidewalk level as if casually padding down the pavement in search of the next meal. Next to the cat is the stenciled message “only fools litter.”
We stumbled upon this “I Take Care of My Beaches” message on a sticker-bombed pole at the Rincon Beach parking lot near Santa Barbara, California. The sticker’s message is positive and encourage visitors to keep the the coast clean. The message itself can be read as a bit of a cheeky pun, playing off hip-hop culture’s lyrical tropes where usually the word “beaches” would be “bitches.”
The work space at the Los Angeles offices of mega-global advertising agency TBWA (a.k.a, TBWA Chiat Day) is epic and includes an indoor, park-like plaza where people can meet, hang out, collaborate, or dine. (Full disclosure, we do work for another, separate ad agency that is related to TBWA.) The space is bathed in natural light from large skylights and is part of a massive warehouse-like former industrial building that was converted into a warren of multi-level interior office structures, bridges and open spaces reconcieved for the agency culture and work style.
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.
We’re not “into cars” nor have we aspired to possess a stylish sports car. That said, we love great design and if somebody wanted to give us a Porsche 912 like the one pictured here, we wouldn’t say “No.” In fact, we would lovingly care for it and fully appreciate its beautiful form. A variant of the iconic 911 — a vehicle dubbed the “car of the century” back in the ’90s — the 912 was manufactured from 1965 to 1969 and originally outsold the 911. From appearances and body, the 912 and 911 would appear to be the same vehicle. But subtle differences exist under the hood that translate into the car performing differently and selling at different basic prices. We don’t know much about cars, but from what we’ve been told by our friends who do is that one fundamental difference between the two models was that the 912 had a 4-cyclinder engine compared to the 6-cyclinder of the 911. What strikes us most though are the aesthetics of the car’s design, a compact, elegant and curvy, if mildly sexy shape that seems to be unburdened by any superfluous volume or form. The one pictured here is in mint condition. We spied it parked overnight in a lot adjacent to some light-industry warehouses in Los Angeles. The next day it was at the same spot and we took a moment to photograph it in the afternoon light.
While we’ve always had a strong distaste for the most basic, utilitarian type of territorial graffiti tag — raw vandalism without taste — there’s an element of that aesthetic employed in this graffiti-inspired street art on a pair of doors on About Kinney Boulevard in Venice, in Los Angeles. The tight spacing of the letter forms and its overlapping composition are rendered in plain white on black. The paint drips to form root-like tendrils below the rectangular block of indecipherable text. The door forms a canvas, and the doorway with its white-painted brick forms a kind of frame. The over all composition is one of cohesion, boldness and abstraction made more mysterious and evocative by the otherwise restrained plainness of the color white. Love this.
One of the distinct features of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art ( SFMoMA ) is its architectural design, which includes an oculus structure that funnels natural light through a massive cylindrical space into the museum’s lobby and mezzanine galleries. A bridge traverses the space near the top. There’s nothing quite like it at any museum or major building we know of in the United States.
We spotted some new street art from artist Shepard Fairey in an unusual spot last week. Along Pacific Coast Highway, under the towering bluffs of north Santa Monica, there’s an abandoned, partially destroyed retaining wall where two new black-and-white graphic posters had been wheat-pasted. One poster is of draped triangle of the American flag. The other is a classic “Andre” Obey poster.
This epic mural on the side of a store deep in San Francisco’s Mission District depicts the iconic and influential Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The Mission District (or simply, “the Mission”) is a fitting home to this artwork, given the area’s history as a hub for generations of Mexican and — more broadly — Central American immigrant communities in San Francisco. It has also been a home to many Latino artists and cultural institutions, though gentrification is gradually eroding some of the district’s Latino character.
We’re fans of German visual artist Gerhard Richter, perhaps best known for his “capitalist realism” and his photo-realistic and “blur” paintings. But Richter has explored several distinct visual styles and themes throughout his career. Among his body of work are his “color” (“farben”) paintings, such as this one titled “Farben 256” we saw recently on view at the San Francisco Museum of Art.
This blown-up black-and-white image is a fitting street-art tribute to the late great actor-comedian Robin Williams. The photo adorns a construction-site hoarding next to a popular book shop in the Mission District of San Francisco, where Williams had lived for many years and where he spent his early career working the local stand-up comedy club scene. In the photo, Williams is young, bearded, almost feral with a poignant, restrained intensity. In context of the city’s visual clutter, the image manages stands out.