Back in NoHo

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I have absolutely no background information on the artists featured in this week’s post, except that it is on the side of the Rose Theater in North Hollywood, CA.  It reminds me of the work done by Illustrator Miguel Mejia, a.k.a. Nuezz, who has painted many works in Mexico City.  Nuezz’s murals have been classified as “folk graffiti” or “lowbrow chickenmuralism.”  I’m not quite sure I agree with the idea of  lowbrow, however, the folk art aspect of the artwork is apparent. Heavily influenced by his grandfather, Goyo, the artist’s paintings feature folk traditions of masks, a Mesoamerican cultural form that dates back to before 3,000 BCE.

The featured artists have their own unique style, however.  The most noticeable difference is the brilliant color and a more lighthearted theme, which is evident in both.

Take a look at some of Nuezz’s work.  What do you think?

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Las Tres Mujeres

3 ladies

These three famous ladies have been immortalized on the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Echo Park Ave.  Like last week’s feature artwork, this mural was also painted by LA Steez.  Comparisons of this mural with he others really highlight the artist’s range.

the-broken-columnThe first is Frida Kahlo, famed Mexican painter, who was born on July 6, 1907 and died on July 13, 1954.  Her art is generally classed as surrealism.  Kahlo was married to fellow artist, Diego Rivera and is best known for her self portraits.  She is quoted as saying “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”  This painting is entitled The Broken Column and was painted in 1944.

sotomayorThe second is Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was appointed by President Obama and assumed her role as an associate justice on August 8, 2009.  She was born in Bronx, New York on June 25, 1954 and is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School.  The justice has a High School named after her:  Sonia Sotomayor School of History and Dramatic arts, which is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Famous quote: “Yes, someone like me can do this.”

selenaLast we have Selena Quintanilla-Perez, famed singer, a.k.a. the Queen of Tejano.  She was born in Lake Jackson, Texas on April 16, 1971, and tragically she was murdered on March 31, 1995–at just 23 years of age–by Yolanda Saldivar,  a close family associate.  The singer won a Grammy in 1994 for Best Mexican American album for Selena Live!  One of the best know hits from the album is I Could Fall in Love.  “Selena,” a movie base on her life was released in 1997.

Many thanks to this artist for reminding us all of the many contributions and positive influences of Latin American art, culture, (and people!)  in America.

 

Anime Alley

Yugio

The murals featured this week are by LA Steez and are located in the very first alley at Logan St. and Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park.  This piece is proof that, often, you have to get out of the car and walk to find–and appreciate–public artwork.  I spotted a mural on Logan St. while driving down Sunset.  It wasn’t until I got out of the car that I noticed this even better piece.  Walking down the alley a little ways, there was an entire “exhibit” just begging to be viewed.

la lindathe fiddlertea

This one was a little misleading.  I was looking for the “Doom Tea Shop,” however, according to the artist’s Facebook page, this piece is “just some random sh…”  But I like it!

Again, though, these pictures really don’t do the artwork justice.  You have to see it for yourself…

When you do, let me know what you think about it.

The Little Park That Could

muralThis is just one of the murals at the Fox and Laurel Park located on the corner of–you guessed it–Fox Street and Laurel Canyon Boulevard in San Fernando, Ca.  It was painted by Kristy Sandoval and is entitled “Sustainable Dream.”  The mural spans the entire length of the park and is something that can only be appreciated in person.  The meandering pathway that cuts through the flowering bushes, succulents, and ornamental grasses allows the viewer to take in the full scope of the piece.

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This type of park is referred to as a “pocket park“and is created to offer communities pedestrian, green spaces in urban environments that offer visitors a quiet place to sit and be.  Fox and Laurel Park is the result of a collaboration between the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust.  The mural installations were funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Along with the public art, this pocket part also features exercise equipment and community garden plots.  Here’s an idea for the weekend: visit some of the many pocket parks in Los Angeles County.

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NoHo Weekend

Soliloquy

Soliloquy by Levi Ponce. On the the corner of Huston St. and Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood, CA.

The wonderful thing about the NoHo Arts District is there’s so much to do and see.  It is home to contemporary theaters, art galleries, cafes, shops, and really excellent street art that you kind of just stumble onto.  This adds to the NoHo experience.  The public art is generally tucked away on side streets and not always noticeable from the main boulevard. The best way to find and view the art is by walking.  Street ViewThis featured piece is on the side of Al’s Discount Furniture Store and down the street from Sweetie Pie’s.  Consider this idea for a fun and relatively inexpensive weekend activity:  ride the metro to North Hollywood’s art district;  browse some of the unique shops; eat at one of the many eateries on or near Lankershim Boulevard; take a walk to view the many murals and other public artworks in the area.

Side note about the artist, Levi Ponce:  Like two of the other down low Picassos that have been featured, he too is from Pacoima, CA.  It appears there are a lot of very talented street artists coming out of that area who are working together to make a positive impact on their childhood community through art…and fortunately sharing their artistic gifts in other neighborhoods.

 

 

Public Art is a Public Service

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This was painted by  Rah Azul and is on Bradley Ave. in Pacoima, CA between Van Nuys Blvd. and Filmore.

Not that long ago, the area where this mural is located was lined with gang tags and what has historically (and incorrectly) been referred to as graffiti.  I say incorrectly because, generally speaking, gang tagging is NOT art.  It’s destruction of private and public property. (But that’s a subject for another post).  It would appear to me, an outsider, that the street art has elevated the community.  I could feel the respect that the residents have for these public art displays when I was taking the photo.  I was so involved in the art, I didn’t realize that I was actually holding up traffic.  It wasn’t until my husband yelled for me to “get out of the street,” that I noticed the five vehicles that were patiently allowing me to take in and ponder what they appreciate daily.  It felt to me that the people in those cars believed that I should have been there doing exactly what I was doing: honoring the talent of amazing artists and acknowledging their history and culture.

Just as the murals of artists such as  Rivera, Orozco, and Guayasamin inspired the people in the past, so do these public art pieces.  Perhaps it reminds them of their rich cultural heritage and dignity before God, at a time when political puppets and individuals filled with jealous hatred and fear strive to strip them of it.

 

 

DALeast… in Newhall?

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This awesome work of art is located on the side of Newhall Paint Store at the corner of 9th and Main Street in, of all places, Newhall, California in the Santa Clarita Valley.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not knocking Newhall or the SCV for that matter; I’ve lived here in Awesometown for years.  You just don’t think of the area as one that would attract a noted public artist who has painted murals in South Africa, France, Denmark, Tahiti, Australia, and other countries around the world.  After all, Newhall is home of the Annual Cowboy Festival!

When I heard about this mural I immediately went to view it.  It looked authentic, but I just couldn’t believe DALeast was in Newhall!  I called the store and the person who answered the phone confirmed the mural was legit, but I wasn’t truly convinced until it was added to the artist’s official website.

So to all the haters, “Suck it!”  Santa Clarita is Awesometown!  We have Magic Mountain, a world-class shopping mall, and a DALeast original.  So next time you’re wondering, “What should we do this weekend?”  Head north on Interstate 5 or Highway 14 to SCV.  But, don’t go too far north.  You could end up in Bakersfield or Lancaster!  Those towns are not awesome!

 

Happy Hour!

Happy Hour

This photo was taken in Santa Barbara, California.  I think it’s genius.  I would agree that it may not be the type of thing that comes to mind when thinking about public art, but I think it qualifies.  After all, it is art…and it is for public view.

The point of this is to advertise the restaurant’s happy hour and hopefully draw in customers; however, more than that was actually accomplished.  Think about it.  The ad aspect could have been accomplished by writing/drawing the same information on a large chalkboard near the front of the business like every other bar and restaurant on the street.  The colors and design layout here is entertaining and made me happy just to look at it.  An “artist” decided to create something beautiful for the public to view, not simply advertise the $5 beers…although I did enjoy a couple of those beers.

Chalk Flower

It’s really inspiring.  I can imagine doing something similar on a patio.  Imagine drawing brightly colored flowers like this all over a boring cement (or as in this case, a brick) slab. Or, even on a bedroom wall.  Instead of a headboard, a beautiful freehand flower could be drawn.  Imagine how striking a black chalk sketch on a basic apartment-white wall would be! Spectacular!

Hey Sistah, Soul Sistah…

flower child

Painted by Muralist, Kristy Sandoval

This mural is on the side of Stylesville Barbershop in Pacoima, CA at the corner of Van Nuys Boulevard and Pala Avenue. The photo is beautiful, but in person, it is breathtaking. Most importantly though, it is thought-provoking, soul stirring…but isn’t that the point of art?  It’s about more than just hanging something up on the wall that matches a room’s décor.

It should move us and cause us to ponder.  It should bring pleasure every time we gaze upon it.  It should give rise to some kind of emotion:  happiness, joy, anger, sadness, something to remind us that we are, and we can, and we will…It should be accessible.  Public art, street art, graffiti (whatever you want to call it), does that for everyone.  Rich or poor, we can all enjoy it.

In this particular piece you see the pretty flowers, but look closer.  At first you may think “Wow, I love the relief-work with the flowers.  They give the mural so much dimension and the colors are so brilliant.”  But then, you notice the writing: “A Womyn’s Place is in the Struggle.”  Womyn? Is that a typo?  And then you remember that Women’s Movement thing, or that ERA thing from back in the day.  Look a little closer and you see a shout-out to Assata Shakur.  Who?  Well, those are all the things that ran through my mind.

And then things went a little deeper for me…Malala…sex slaves right hear in our own front yard!…male politicians debating the choices a woman should not be able to make about her own body. The struggle is more real than ever, ladies…and gentlemen–who “truly” love the women in their lives–and our place is in that struggle.

 

Hey Sistah, Soul Sistah…