British-born artist Jules Muck (a.k.a., “Muckrock“) painted a portrait of recent U.S. Democratic presidential primary candidate Bernie Sanders on the side of a white van, seen in the photos here parked on a residential side street in Venice, Los Angeles. Muckrock’s street art and murals are a fixture of the LA’s westside landscape, especially in the neighborhoods around Venice Beach, where the artist is lives. There’s also a bird painted next to Bernie on the van, but the significance of the small winged creature escapes us. That only head of Sanders was painted and — aside from the bird — the van is like a blank canvas, draws the viewer in and focuses attention on the subject.
UPDATE: A Global Graphica reader pointed out the significance of the bird in this artwork. It’s a reference to “birdie sanders” and an incident in early 2016 when then presidential candidate Sanders was giving a campaign speech and a small bird landed on his podium. We remember the event, but admit we totally missed this reference when we saw this street art!!! This helpful reader also pointed out that the bird depicted in the artwork is a White-crowned Sparrow, not the same type of bird that landed on Bernie’s podium. (Many thanks, Jerry!)
On another note, another reader pointed out that this mural brings another layer to the literal meaning of the word “VANdalism.” Hahaha.
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Pictured here is another mural by the artist Jules Muck (a.k.a., “Muckrock”), who’s street art is associated with Venice Beach and can be found all around this famed Los Angeles beach neighborhood. The mural depicts a dog and a comic-book thought bubble with the statement “I wanna bone,” where the bone is visually represented by a cartoon-style bone.
It seems like on just about every block and around every corner in Venice’s clashed-up grid of narrow streets and alleys, there’s a piece of street art by artist Jules Muck. His awesome corpus of public artwork is both literally and figuratively part of the Venice landscape, as much a part of this confused suburban costal paradise as its famous beach boardwalk. “Muck Saves” is a Christ-like portrait and play on the evangelical bumper-sticker phrase “Jesus Saves.” One could argue that Muck’s art is “saving” Venice. But from what? The tide of gentrification? That urban-renewal process inspired by association with Venice’s edgy patina and legacy of gritty charms. A process that’s simultaneously forever sanding away those gritty edges with the moneyed tastes of the arrivistes? Yes and no. Places change, evolve, grow. It can’t be “saved” any more that it can not be saved. Muck’s work is just a beautiful part of an already beautiful landscape.