All the World is a Museum

As a writer who has for many years focused primarily on writing artist profiles, and also a curator who has produced probably close to 70 art gallery exhibits spanning over a decade, I have never really focused on street art. Until a few years ago, I didn’t think too much about it, or the people behind it – I just enjoyed the whole “outdoor museum” and often stopped to take an occasional photo to remember it, as street art is ephemeral by nature. However, the lifting of LA’s Mural Moratorium in late 2013 (accomplished in great part by the efforts of the LA Mural Conservancy) caused a noteworthy proliferation of amazing contemporary street art that has forever changed the landscape of Los Angeles – and the life of this art-centric lady!

The urban art panorama of LA has seen a proliferation of high quality street murals in the past few years, as local and international artists vie for outdoor real estate on which to spray paint, wheat paste or brush on their street eye candy. Many international artists are represented in our local outdoor museum, including major names from Belgium, Portugal, Berlin, France, London, and Amsterdam. People’s perception of this expansive modern art form has shifted, beginning perhaps as long ago as the MOCA show Art in the Streets of 2011. No longer are the artists painting under fear of police interference, or landlord retaliation. Most murals in LA are now sanctioned or commissioned, and artists are compensated for their time, talent and materials. There are even tours conducted in various neighborhoods, such as the one offered by Cartwheel Art, focused on the densely decorated Art District, where over 120 noteworthy murals in close proximity can be admired.

A drive through almost any neighborhood in Los Angeles will prove the point that street art has not only beautified, but also unified portions of the city, as public art at it’s best is meant to do. Much of modern street art is created to raise awareness of environmental, social, and political issues. LA’s renowned street artist Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster for Obama, anti-gun message, and campaign for political reform are legendary. Large scale murals by Andre Miripolsky promote healthier eating in lower –income neighborhoods, Wrdsmth’s typography work is inspirational and uplifting, Lydia Emily promotes racial harmony and medical research, and graffiti artist Padhia (aka unfukyourself)’s “Love me Anyways “ message speaks to countless victims of depression. The list is endless, but you get my drift…

But who are some of the local artists that are causing us to veer off the road due to their eye-popping contemporary street art? Among these emerging artists is Matt Gondek, whose quirky murals of deconstructed pop art icons Mickey Mouse and the Simpsons may cause traffic jams! With three murals in six months – he is taking LA by storm. Another is female artist Allison “Hueman” Torneros, whose beautiful abstract / figurative compositions are as dramatic as they are breathtaking. Both of these artists have made the transition from renegade street art to successful gallery shows and significant commissions. It’s only a matter of time before museums take notice. And lucky us – in LA, we don’t have to pay admission to see their work!

For more info on the murals, tours and some exceptional art, please visit these sites:

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