August 02, 2011

I'm a Wannabe Street Artist

Well... except for that part about  painting on other people's property without their permission and sometimes getting arrested.  I've always been slightly enamored by spray can art.  Every now and then I get to work with Graffiti artists for sets I design.  Like this piece I designed as an underground Vodoo lounge for the film New World Order.
 But enough about me and my secret art obsessions.  Last week I went to check out the "Art in the Streets" Exhibit and the Moca.  If you are in LA I highly recommend checking it out (I think it closes at the end of this week). 
What is so amazing about it is not just the sheer volume of art, contributors and photographs they have representing all sorts of styles past and present but the amazing retrospect and historical time line documenting the history and evolution of street art. 

One exhibit that blew me away was two walls covered floor to ceiling in photographs of tagged New York City Subway Cars from the 80's.  I was awestruck and amazed by the volume of cars that had been decorated (or defiled - depending on your perspective on the matter).  Sharon Mitzota, from the LA times  says it perfecty, "In the end, the show is not just about showcasing street art but about recovering in some way what has already been lost. Henry Chalfant’s installation of hundreds of photos of graffiti-laden New York subway cars is oddly touching, not just for its nostalgic look at the past but because it’s a testament to the sheer volume of work that has been erased."

And of course I ♥ Banksy's work.  His backdrop and canvas is the streets but he is clearly in his own category and will perhaps one day be remembered as a one of the great artists of the new millennium.  His artistic parodies on culture and politics astound me.  To see them in person brought a smile and sense of awe to my face.
I stared at his painting for a long time.  A comment on the brutal Rodney King beating, painted in a pointillism style to look like a fuzzy video frame.  But he has replaced King with a pinata. The humor and irony struck me first, then the artistry amazed me.  Akin to standing in front of an original Van Gogh, I felt blessed to be able to experience this work of art in person. 

After a humbling day at the museum I went back to my little studio feeling part inspired and part drained.  Next stop -- The Lacma to see the Tim Burton exhibit.


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