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Street Art

March 25, 2011 | Hector Tobar
I went to Valley Village last week as an act of penance. I'd written a column about street art in L.A., celebrating the creativity of some of those who illegally cover our walls with wheat-paste posters and portraits in spray paint. In so doing, I think, I'd neglected to think enough about the people who actually own or live near the walls being decorated. "I wonder? does Mr. Tobar offer his home up to these vandals?" one reader wrote in a letter to the editor. "Would he allow their 'creativity' to remain on his property?"
April 26, 2014 | By Deborah Vankin
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival may have wrapped up last week, but still unfurling in Coachella's Pueblo Viejo District is an ambitious project that has brought together about a dozen muralists and international contemporary artists. "Coachella Walls," which has no formal connection to the Goldenvoice-produced festival, is billed as an "arts-driven community revitalization project. " Its organizers are Coachella-based Date Farmers Art Studios, a.k.a., the artists Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez, who grew up in the area and now show their work at Ace Gallery in Los Angeles.
October 11, 2012 | By David Ng
It has become an art-world axiom that street art is big business. But how much is a piece of wall graffiti by a big-name talent worth exactly? Bonhams has announced that it will hold an auction in Los Angeles featuring more than 80 works by some of the most prominent names in urban art, including Banksy, Blek le Rat, Shepard Fairey, KAWS, Revok, Speedy Graphito, Space Invader, Saber and more.  The auction, set for Oct. 29, is being billed by...
April 11, 2014 | By Deborah Vankin
Some of the most colorful art at Coachella this year will be on view outside the music and arts festival. An ambitious public mural project, the first “Coachella Walls,” is underway in downtown Coachella's Pueblo Viejo District. The project, which brings together about a dozen muralists and contemporary artists internationally, has no formal connection to the concurrent, Goldenvoice-produced Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, happening this and next weekends.  Billed as an “arts driven community revitalization project,” “Coachella Walls” was organized by the Coachella-based Date Farmers Art Studios, a.k.a., the artists Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez, who grew up in the area and now show their work at Ace Gallery in Los Angeles.
December 17, 2009 | By Robyn Dixon
In Kibera, Africa's biggest slum, you can scratch out a living by preaching, begging, frying dough, burning charcoal, selling pirated DVDs or making illicit moonshine. But art? In a place so poor that children have to hustle in the streets? Well, it's not easy. Duck into a shabby alley, climb some rickety steps tiled with faded bottle tops and enter an artists' garret, Kenya style. Under a baking tin roof, paintings on canvas and plywood cover the walls, with others stacked carelessly on the floor.
March 16, 2011
An enduring calm Re "A race against time," March 13 If we cannot learn from the tragedy in Japan how to prepare for a disaster and its horrific aftermath, perhaps we can learn something more human and humanely important: That is the calm resolve of the Japanese people who are waiting for help. Where we would probably be rioting, looting and causing more destruction through our own panic and selfishness, the thousands of humble yet devastated Japanese have displayed to the world the pure and sincere act of patience.
October 31, 2010 | By Leah Ollman, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Reporting from San Diego ? Only a few weeks after Shepard Fairey finished work on a mural covering the side of an Urban Outfitters store here, someone else made his or her mark on top of it, sullying its crisp black, white and red graphics with a sprawling blue tag. The Fairey mural had been commissioned as part of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's exhibition "Viva la Revolución: A Dialogue With the Urban Landscape. " The graffiti response was anonymous and unsolicited. Not exactly the kind of dialogue the museum had in mind, but also not entirely unexpected.
March 11, 2011 | Hector Tobar
The walls on Melrose Avenue say something different every day. Two years ago, Greg Linton came all the way from Florida to be near them. Now, most mornings, he sets out on foot to look ? after the artists of the night have been hard at work. Walking with his dog, Shasta, he snaps pictures of the new art he sees. Most of it is interesting. Some of it is wonderful and transcendent. And just about all of it is illegal. One day, Linton might see a walking peasant woman, rendered in quickly applied yet delicate splashes of paint.
April 20, 2011 | By Andrew Blankstein, Richard Winton and David Ng, Los Angeles Times
The Museum of Contemporary Art expected to make some waves when it launched "Art in the Streets," billed as the first major U.S. museum survey exhibition on graffiti and street art. But the LAPD said the show has also become a target of taggers who want to leave a mark of their own outside the Little Tokyo exhibition space where the show opened Sunday. In a city considered one of the birthplaces of street art, the exhibit at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA has intensified an already fierce debate about whether something that is illegal can also have artistic value.
April 16, 2013 | By Jamie Wetherbe
Shepard Fairey's first acts of street art have spawned a fictional film, “Obey the Giant.” (The film contains strong language and can be viewed  here .) The 20-minute short is based on Fairey's subversive Andre the Giant "Obey" sticker campaign of the early 1990s designed to challenge the Rhode Island mayor and art school powers-that-be. Director Julian Marshall, a recent grad from the Rhode Island School of Design (also Fairey's alma mater), recently raised $65,000 via Kickstarter to fund the project, which seems to have Fairey's blessing.
March 19, 2014 | By Deborah Vankin
The idea seemed crazy at first: More than 500 knitters from 25 countries, hunkered down in their far-flung corners of the world, feverishly crafting granny squares - 14,000 of them altogether. Then, on a bright morning last May, knitters here affixed metal grids of these cushy yarn squares to the exterior of the Craft & Folk Art Museum on Wilshire Boulevard, turning the building into a giant, multicolored tea cozy. The 2013 project, "CAFAM Granny Squared," was an urban installation from the knit graffiti collective Yarn Bombing Los Angeles.
February 15, 2014 | By Hugh Hart
Growing up in a working-class London suburb beset by dull classes and endless winters, Dean Stockton often escaped into a dream vision of California fueled in equal measure by "Back to the Future" and the skateboard bible Thrasher magazine. "When I was 12 or 13," he recalls, "I watched this guy in 'Back to the Future' holding onto the back of a car skateboarding down beautiful-looking streets in the sunshine and I was like: 'That's where I need to be!'" Decades later, Stockton, who signs his work as "D*Face," finally made it to Southern California, bringing with him a cheeky anything-is-fair-game aesthetic.
October 31, 2013 | By David Ng
Banksy officially bade farewell to New York on Thursday after spending the month of October in the city creating random street art at public sites in all five boroughs. The anonymous British artist posted a message on his official website Thursday: "And that's it. Thanks for your patience. It's been fun. Save 5pointz. Bye. " The artist's mention of "5pointz" refers to the street-art and graffiti exhibition space in Long Island City that has been threatened with demolition. Banksy's most recent purported creation in New York is an inflatable throw-up piece spelling out "Banksy!"
September 6, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
Labor Day seemed as good a day as any to track a 10,000-step walk. I didn't want to accumulate steps all day; instead I wanted to see where 10,000 steps would take me. So, sunscreen applied, Fitbit attached to my pants, iPhone and notebook in hand to document my journey, I set out. My Los Angeles is an urban and diverse section of Mid-City. I drive and jog and walk the streets daily, but one of the revelations of my 10,000-step project was how much I could learn and how much charmed me anew when I was paying attention.
August 28, 2013 | By Catherine Saillant
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday lifted a decade-long ban on public murals, marking a decisive victory for artists who argued the law made no sense in a city with such a rich tradition of street art. The decision culminates years of debate over how Los Angeles should regulate murals, which have chronicled generations of the city's history, from the mid-20th century struggles of Latinos on the Eastside to freeway displays celebrating the...
August 14, 2013 | By Jamie Wetherbe
This post has been corrected. See details below. A Banksy mural that adorned a wall of a Los Angeles gas station is headed for auction. Julien's Auctions announced Tuesday that "Flower Girl" would headline the company's “Street Art” auction Dec. 5 in Beverly Hills and that it was expected to fetch as much as $300,000. The piece juxtaposes a silhouette of a girl toting a basket of flowers with a security camera blossoming atop a plant from above. ART: Can you guess the high price?
April 9, 2011 | By Jori Finkel, Los Angeles Times
It's not easy being an aging street artist. It's physically demanding. Young kids are jockeying to take your place, or your spot to paint, anyway. And a night in jail is rougher when you're 55 than at 25. But several artists who were pioneers of graffiti art in L.A. in the 1970s and '80s are still going strong today, if not exactly risking prison. And they are getting credit for their life's work in MOCA's sweeping "Art in the Streets" exhibition, which opens April 17 at the Geffen Contemporary.
May 4, 2012 | By Jamie Wetherbe
The Google Doodle of the day is dedicated to street artist and activist Keith Haring in honor of what would have been his 54th birthday. The search engine's logo has morphed into Haring's signature bold lines, vivid colors and active figures swallowing, wiggling and flying to make Google's lettering. The Pennsylvania-born artist learned to draw at an early age, inspired by his cartoonist father and images of Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney. As a teenager, Haring moved to New York and enrolled in the School of Visual Arts, where he ran with musicians, and performance and graffiti artists -- including Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat -- of the burgeoning alternative art community that existed outside galleries on the city's streets, subways and clubs.
July 5, 2013 | By Reed Johnson
Later this summer, following years of legal skirmishing and politicking, the Los Angeles City Council is expected to vote on whether to lift its decade-old ban on private-property murals. Some questions surrounding the proposed ordinance have been around since at least 1932, when the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros painted his polemical masterpiece "América Tropical" in downtown Los Angeles, which was subsequently whitewashed and finally restored last year. Among them are: What happens when an individual artist or property owner's free-speech rights collide with another group's aesthetic preferences or personal views?
July 5, 2013 | By Deborah Vankin
The competitive, often territorial world of street art has long been male-dominated. Increasingly, however, women artists are adding a distinct sensibility to the street art scene that, in Los Angeles and other cities, includes yarn bombing (or graffiti knitting) and sculptural installations as well as traditional murals. At Daniel Lahoda's downtown LALA Gallery, original paintings, prints and sculptures by more than a dozen women street artists are the focus of a new exhibition opening Aug. 9. Some participants are internationally known, such as Tokyo native Lady Aiko, now living in Brooklyn, and New York-based Swoon, who was part of MOCA's 2011 "Art in the Streets" show.
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