Look up in the sky! It’s … it’s a … it’s a hashtag! Yes, right there, in the air, under the scorching mid-day sun, in our view, it’s a gosh-darn hashtag — skywriting of #AMERICA — letters fading and floating apart, ephemeral, as we walk the back streets of Venice in Los Angeles on July Fourth, America’s Independence Day holiday.
The original location of the iconic and legendary bodybuilding mecca Gold’s Gym is a block away from the sands of Venice Beach in Los Angeles. The painted logotype signage on its facade is faded, and that, coupled with the simple architecture of the building, suggests the gym’s vintage and no-nonsense austerity. This is where Arnold Schwarzenegger trained as a bodybuilder in the 1970s and ’80s before launching his action-film career. A few blocks away stands a much larger and modern Gold’s Gym where the bodybuilding tradition continues.
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 have a hunch that the message in this typographic garage-door mural by artist Adam Mars may be an accurate description of the person residing in this Venice Beach home. Using our powers of imagination, we picture this “highly successful beach bum” as a man in his early forties, with tousled, shoulder-length hair, perhaps with bleached-out blonde streaks (from spending all that time at the beach), a thin unkempt beard, feet clad in either Havaianas flip-flops or lace-up Van’s and a natural, medium-bronze tan. In his garage is either a vintage Porsche 912b in need of maintenance or a beat-up Land Rover Defender in need of a wash.
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.