When you think of street art, you probably think of large scale murals and graffiti. But, there’s more to street art, like wheatpastes (poster-like work pasted onto surfaces) and stencils.
And then there is To Be Determined. TBD combines photography and wheatpaste for wholly unique art that brings photography to the streets.
TBD is a Los Angeles based artist with work spanning from Downtown to the East Side all the way to Santa Monica. Most of the photographs are taken in Los Angeles and the surrounding area, but I’ve spotted one from Nevada and another from New York. The power of these installations is palpable, they momentarily transport you somewhere else as you are walking down the street and allow you to experience that specific moment in time, even if you’ve never been to that place.
One of TBD’s oft used images is an American flag hanging limply in front of the Golden Arches of McDonald’s. Modern Americana. I’ve seen that photo in color, black and white and negative color. One day, I was taking a walk, a walk that I had done hundreds of times, stopped at the right place to cross the street, looked up and saw the flag against the arches and knew that is where TBD took the original photo. It was a little magical American moment.
TBD has also partnered with Beautify Earth, an organization that works with artists and businesses in neglected or depressed areas to beautify their community with public art to uplift the neighborhood and bring back a sense of pride. TBD’s task was to create a mural for Wallpaper City and Flooring for Beautify Lincoln in Santa Monica. Photographs of Santa Monica were pasted onto the exterior of the building to create a mural that captured the energy and essence of the city.
But after unusually heavy rains, the mural was in need of significant repair. I volunteered to help TBD restore the mural. We took down the peeling photos, which were printed on thick paper using a large format printer, and replaced them with fresh prints. TBD added some spray paint accents and I tried to paint some lines. People in cars and pedestrians voiced their support and appreciation of the effort to make their city more interesting and beautiful.
There is art all around us. TBD captures a fleeting moment, whether it is a homeless person on Skid Row, a dog out for a walk, or palm trees against a clear sky, and preserves it for everyone.
Look for TBD on walls, electrical boxes and even dumpsters around Los Angeles. Follow TBD on Instagram for more photographic street art.
This post also appears on the Art Cricket LA Blog. Art Cricket LA connects collectors to local artists. Discover a new artist!