The Venice Beach area of Los Angeles, its fashionable neighborhoods and adjacent districts, is home to a lot of street art, as well a graffiti art. Most street art is representative or symbolic and offers a digestible visual vocabulary – A stencil of Mickey Mouse holding an Uzi (a la Dylan Egon), a larger-than-life and highly Instagrammable pair of butterfly wings (a la Kelsey Montague), a hundred or so colorful hand-painted hearts (a la J Goldcrown), a mural depicting Uncle Pennybags chasing a bag of money (a la Alec Monopoly). And so on. (All artists and artworks we love, by the way.) Rarely is it purely abstract and decorative for decoration sake.
Which brings us to the matter of this set of black-and-white murals on these garage doors along a Venice backstreet a couple of blocks away from the hipster-trendy Abbot Kinney Blvd. nabe and the infamous, touristy beach boardwalk. The murals are abstract. The usual rules and expectations of street art grammar here are confounded and confounding. The artwork is virtually unreadable for some local street art snobs. Its meaning not obvious, and way, way open to interpretation, absent of a point of view on anything other than being public art. Unless your vision of street art extends beyond the literal and representative. (Ours does and so should everybody’s, IMHO.)
These painted garage doors could easily be paintings on massive stretched canvases on view in your metropolis’s massive white-cube like art gallery or just as well fit right in at the MoMA, the Tate Modern, the Pompidou Centre, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo or any number of massive post-modern art collections around the globe. It’s art, man. And it also fits right into the mixed-use light-industrial and hyper-bougie-residential vibe of the district. Not all street art has to be so obvious. Wink.