Tag Archives: signage

“Cold Open”

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.

“But First, Coffee” Curb … Silver Lake, Los Angeles

The curb in front of the Alfred Coffee in Silver Lake, Los Angeles has been cheekily employed as signage, and as such a clever branding device that bears the cafe’s slogan in stenciled white-on-black paint: “But First, Coffee.” Whether this guerrilla marketing tactic is legal is unknown. (We suspect it isn’t legal and they didn’t ask the city for permission.) In the extreme car culture of L.A., where people are especially attuned to the meanings of the city’s various color-coded curb markings, finding free, legal street parking can be frustrating. Alfred Coffee brings a welcomed touch of levity to the experience, as well as a reminder of our caffeinated priorities.

One more note … On the sidewalk is a purple stencil street art that riffs on graphic designer Milton Glaser’s iconic “I Heart NY” logo concept, but the graphical quality with this street stencil is muddled and it isn’t clear what the message is. But the “heart” part of the visual trope looks a lot like the face of legendary film actor Jack Nicholson as he appeared in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.”

“Screamface” Graffiti …Venice, Los Angeles

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.

“Water is the Most Essential Element of Life Because …”

This signage made our day. It’s in front of the Jolly Goat, a tiny espresso bar in Hell’s Kitchen, in New York City, and reads: “Water is the Most Essential Element of Life Because w/out water you can’t make coffee.” True.

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On the Street … Drive-Thru Coffee Mural at Zebra Coffee

Zebra House Coffee is probably the best place to get an espresso coffee in the surf-mecca Southern California town of San Clemente. It’s a laidback cafe and a fine space to sip on an iced Americano while flipping through back issues of Surfer magazine. In fitting SoCal fashion, Zebra offers a drive-thru service, and it has this cool graffiti-style, street-artsy mural painting for signage pointing customers in the right direction.

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“Welcome to ______” by Mike Kelley at MoMA P.S.1

The late American artist Mike Kelley created a huge body of influential artwork — more than enough to fill all the galleries of MoMA’s P.S.1 museum in Queens, New York City, which has just finished playing host to a massive retrospective exhibition of his work. We’d been hearing great things about the show and stopped by on the last day this past weekend. Much of the artwork we had seen at a similar though smaller Kelley exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam last year. But there were a lot of outstanding pieces at P.S.1 that we had never seen before, including this signage piece of small-town Americana in the museum foyer. The signage is a take on the “Welcome” signs you see as you enter the city limits of small cities and towns across the United States, with circular, Foursquare badge-like logos of various local community organizations, except here Kelly and produced a sign with part of the town’s name painted over.

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