Museum Description: The theme of my museum is Los Angeles Street Art. Street art in Los Angeles has become a growing phenomenon as talented artists display their thoughts and emotions on buildings and walls of the great city of L.A. In addition to the brilliant images and colors, these artworks convey profound experiences and inspirational quotes. Street Art has been a way for Angeloneans to express themselves in an otherwise oppressive environment where the poor and foreign aren't given a voice. Its important for the next generation to be uplifted and motivated to pursue their passion. This topic is important to me because my family and I grew up in Los Angeles and experienced first hand how the lack of money means the lack of resources and ultimately, the lack of success. This disadvantage is passed down from generation to generation in the hope that one person will break the cycle and live a better life. Many youths are finding their outlet in art, specifically street art. This type of art can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, regardless of your family life, background, or financial situation. Fortunately, Los Angeles has evolved over the years. it remains a refuge for the poor but it has also become home to aspiring actors, artists and the growing population of "hipsters." Los Angeles has become home to many trendy food and coffee shops and more and more people are choosing to live in areas of Los Angeles that were once considered unsafe and dangerous. More buildings are being constructed and this emphasis on consumerism has helped to improve the lives and safety of those living in the area.
Impact Statement: Street Art has played a major role in this transformation of Los Angeles. People are taking pride in their city and are working to beautify it and to give it meaning through their artwork. Once our way of thinking about ourselves has changed, we can transform. If we can change the way we think, we can change our circumstances and our future. This museum may begin in Los Angeles but the movement shouldn't stop their. I want visitors to be inspired by the way these artists have overcome their situations and have made something beautiful out of darkness. These artists begin with a cold, broken down wall and turn it into something hopeful and inspiring, this is how we should approach our daily lives.
Room One: Words of Wisdom
Andrea Casey, Untitled September 10, 2012
This piece of socially conscious art send a powerful message to society. The sign the man is holding states "Keep your coins I want change." The artist, Andrea Casey is sending this message of reformation by highlighting the problem of poverty and homelessness. This man depicted, perhaps homeless, is refusing money and instead asking for a social change almost to say that reform is more important than food or shelter to him. This painting reminds us of the haunting issues of poverty and how little help there really is for those in need. The man is painted in all black, with some white highlighting but the sign he is holding is white with blue wording. This brings the focus of the painting to the sign and the message it contains.
Morley Street Art, Untitled August 13, 2016
Content: This painting is one of many in a series of quotes by Morley street art. This series emphasizes our perspective of any given situation and how we control our attitude towards it. Some of his other famous quotes are "Forget how much it hurts and try again" as well as "You are exactly where you need to be." Morley also reflects some comic relief in his street art with sayings such as "I love you because we hate the same stuff" and "I like the real you more than the Instagram you." Morley always includes a painting of himself spray painting the quote. He never titles his work and he never strays from his standard quote technique.
Hijack Art, "Dream Big" April 25, 2015
Form: In this piece, a young child in spray painting the words "From the Dirt a Flower Much Grow" This powerful message is written with trailing paint running down from each word perhaps to symbolize the "dirt" or the difficult journey. The flower at the end is painted differently from the wording, with cleaner lines maybe to symbolize the positive results of perseverance and strength. The entire quote and image are done in a stark white which I feel represents hope.
Mr. Brainwash, "Mantra: Never, Never Give up" 2011
Content: The elusive Mr. Brainwash has painted this scene of two young boys spray painting "never give up" several times in different areas. The boys are always depicted stacked on top of each other as if helping each other to succeed. I think the message the artist is trying to convey is that we need to lean on each other to get ahead instead of bringing each other down. This is a fitting mantra for the city of Los Angeles because there is so much hardship, poverty and crime and it takes an extraordinary amount of effort to overcome those circumstances.
Room Two: Women in Street Art
Kristy Sandoval "Decolonized" 2013
Form: This piece of art by Kristy Sandoval was painted using the pieces of the wall itself to create a 3D image. Sandoval uses a barred window to create a cage where beautiful birds and butterflies are flying out of, which the artists says represent immigration reform. She also uses a burgundy awning as a skirt for the subject of her mural, a tattooed and blue-haired woman. This woman is standing in a field of bright colored California poppies which once covered the hills of California. The way Sandoval used the existing pieces on her backdrop really bring this image to life and eliminate the distance between the artists image and reality
Levi Ponce "Pacoima Kahlo" January 1, 2012
Context: This piece of art by the popular Levi Ponce is on Van Nuys Blvd in Pacoima California. It is a 10'X12' portrait of Frida Khalo which Ponce notes is a tribute to Hispanic artists and the art movement in general. Ponce said he painted this as a signal for his mission for a revolution in the street art of Pacoima that year. He also noted that he vibrant red of Khalo's shirt and hair piece represented street art being in full bloom.
Kristy Sandoval, "Assata Shakur" Approx. 2012
Context: This mural by Kristy Sandoval is Assata Shakur, an African American freedom fighter and political activist. Sandoval studied Interactive Media Design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She is a mom and artist that tackles women empowerment in her murals. She has rallied to launch mural design programs for teens and has been commissioned by organizations to teach art to the next generation. Her experience working with young women influenced her to paint murals that elevated women and taught them that they had no limits. Sandoval chose Assata Shakur to portray a strong female figure that could inspire young girls to learn about their history.
Levi Ponce "Pacoima Mona Lisa" February 2013
Content: Levi Ponce painted this twist on Mona Lisa against a craft shop wall. He illustrated Mona Lisa with a dagger, sombrero and what appears to be a rifle slung behind her back. This image is said to represent La Adelita, a warrior from a Mexican Folk tale. Adelita represented the female soldier and was symbol of action and inspiration. Other sources say she represents patriotism and sexuality as she seduced a sergeant in the army. There are many interpretations of La Adelita but it is one of the most famous ballots during the Mexican Revolution. I think Ponce depicted La Adelita as Mona Lisa because they are both mysterious women who were made incredibly famous, perhaps to say that Adelita was the Mexican Mona Lisa. Adelita was famously shown in a sombrero with some type of weapon or gun ammo. This imagery of a female warrior could be used to illustrate the struggle of Hispanic women in the community.
Room 3: Murals of Historic Figures
Levi Ponce "Luminaries of Pantheism" April 2015
Context: This very large (25'X25') mural was painted by the famous Levi Ponce. It displays portraits of Albert Einstein, Alan Watts, Baruch Spinoza, Terence McKenna, Carl jung, Carl Sagan, Emily Dickinson, Nikola Tesla, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ralph Waldo Emerson, WEB Du Bois, Henry David Thoreau, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Rumi, Adi Shankara and Lao Tzu. All of these people were famous in different ways, some for making life changing technological discoveries, others for their works in literature. This mural was created to spread awareness and celebrate pantheism which is the idea that "everything is God and God is everything, all of these figures illustrated are pantheists according to Ponce. It is notable that only the heads of each person is shown, perhaps to emphasize the importance of the person and to show the face in great size and detail. The faces are bright and painted on a darker background to bring the focus to each face. There are three background images of outer space, light and earth from a satellite perspective perhaps to show how the individuals shown had such a large influence worldwide.
Cryptik "Ghandi" September 29, 2011
Form: This larger than life mural of Ghandi is beautifully painted in black and white with a very colorful background. It may have been purposeful that the background colors are red and blue which could be symbolic for patriotism. Ghandi's face is covered mostly in a dark shadow of black with only highlights of white. This may be to illustrate how different his ideals were for his time or how people didn't largely accept him until after his death. Ghandi is clearly the focus in this mural as his head is almost larger than the background. The wavy lines across his face could represent the struggle he faced and the lifestyle he lived. It could also represent his age and wisdom.
Edurado Kobra "Whose Eyes are Watching Us?" September 21, 2013
Form: This mural by Eduardo Kobra where he depicts prominent figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Theresa, is done in his famous kaleidoscope technique. He uses bright colors and bold lines which creates a stark contrast from the murals surrounding city. Kobra also uses shapes such as squares and triangles throughout his painting. The use of shapes almost creates a 3D effect which really brings the figures to life while the bright colors add beauty to a painful past, highlighting their accomplishments instead of their cruel deaths.
Eduardo Kobra "Einstein" September 2013
Content: This is another kaleidoscope technique portrait of Albert Einstein done by the famous Eduardo Kobra. This mural was completed on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles and is painted on top of another painting Kobra had done previously, so the setting was familiar to him. This mural is 86 feet by 26 feet and is rainbow colored, true to Kobra's original technique.