We saw this cool street-artsy mural portrait of the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama in Santa Barbara, California, while visiting there this past Monday. Kusama is a major international art star who has blown up the past few years as blockbuster exhibitions of her artwork and installations have popped up in art museums around the world and collaborations with brands like Louis Vuitton have made her work more visible to a broader, global audience. That said, we were a bit surprised to see her portrait in a town like Santa Barbara. Which got us wondering, in 2018 have we reached “peak” Kusama? The answer is, yes. Maybe. If not this year, then perhaps next.
There’s graffiti art in Santa Barbara, California. Pictured here is evidence in the form of a large graffiti throw-up in the wealthy California coastal town. The graffiti artwork is in the now gentrified warehouse district known as the Funk Zone.
Richard Haase Photo. All rights reserved.
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.”
This billboard in the scenic California beach town of Carpinteria, near Santa Barbara, north of Los Angeles, is actually a commissioned artwork titled “A Climate for Health and Wealth,” but referred to by some locally as “that California billboard.” The work is an acrylic painting by a group of artists (see photo below showing list of artists) and is fashioned like an old-school tourist postcard with a retro-1950s style writ as large billboard advertisement. The painting depicts cliched facets of California’s bountiful prosperity and benefits. Two tear-aways at the lower left corner and top of the painting reveal an otherwise hidden, dark underbelly of paralyzing freeway traffic, below-wage migrant workers, pollution and industrial blight. We recently visited the quaint, laidback Carpinteria on a short surf trip and found it had a lot of small surprises, creative and otherwise.