Happy birthday, John Lennon (October 9, 1940). Imagine. Give Peace a Change. War is Over (if you want it).
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!
East Hollywood/Silver Lake
Most of the time, I walk. I notice more art that way, can stop and take pictures and feel more connected to my neighborhood (plus, it’s good for you and the environment!).
But, as I was driving home from the pet store, I noticed this on my old block! How exciting for the old street to get some art. Of course, I just had to stop. I alerted my Morley-hunting friend, and she was delighted with his new work and said she was going to stop on the way home too. We brake for art.
Kai Aspire, West Hollywood
Consumerism is a way life in this country, and in the Western World. With companies and advertisers continually preying upon the masses, it keeps us in want of the new, but also in debt. We are jailed behind bar codes.
Kai Aspire wants people to effect change, whether that be speaking up in a community meeting or writing a blog post. Everyone’s voice matters. Be sure to make yours heard.
He feels the streets are an excellent medium to reach people because that is where the “negativity is playing out.” It is true: we are assaulted by advertisers with billboards, bus adverts, and even advertisements disguised as street art. The street is also accessible to everyone that walks, jogs, drives or rides their bike by. No need to go to gallery when you can be inspired every day by your surroundings.
Free Humanity’s most prevalent works include Audrey Hepburn and the diamond and the lotus, which is keeping with Free Humanity’s mission of “taking back the humanity stolen from our minds by social manipulation and planting seeds of of positivity through art and consciousness.”
The Audrey murals often include a quote, like the one above: “”The best thing to hold on to in life is each other.” You may have seen the huge mural on the side of the Subway downtown with “It’s that wonderful old fashioned idea that others come first and you come second.” As a humanitarian, Audrey has some inspiring words of wisdom, and Free Humanity effectively brings them to the street for all to see.
The diamond and the lotus is a Buddhist symbol of truth and has quite an interesting history (more). I once asked Free Humanity what the symbols said, and he said the, “Lotus Sutra and Diamond Sutra in Chinese.” A sutra is a text, and each of these contain important teachings of Buddhism. For example, “full Buddhahood” is achieved through “exposure to the truths expresses implicitly in the Lotus.”
Not only is the symbolism of the diamond and the lotus beautiful aesthetically, but there is so much more contained in these pieces of art work. With some curiosity, you can learn about the symbolism itself, but also the sutras and Buddhism. That little piece of art packs quite a punch, and anyone can see it and learn more.
Free Humanity isn’t always so light. You may have also seen more socially conscious works, like Alice in GMO Land and Winnie the Pooh in GMO Land, along with Yoda warning that “wars not make one great.”
unfuk yourself, Silver Lake
Padhia Avocado is behind unfuk yourself and the “love me anyways” movement. I first noticed her short-lived billboard near Sunset Junction and then the stencils began to pop up around the neighborhood. Her message of love and overcoming depression is surely relatable to many that pass her work on the street. More about Padhia and unfuk yourself on her website.
Sand’s large eyed female characters are a favorite. Her work is all over Los Angeles’ walls and even trucks. Sand has been featured on Ovation’s “Art of Graffiti” along with other well known artists, like Man One. She has a growing number of collectors and is featured in galleries regularly. It is great to see a female artist with so much success in a field dominated by men. Now, to decide which shirt I want- Stacks or Bag Lady?
Photography by Robert Capa, Hollywood and Gramercy, taken July 10, 2014
Top: “What gave the drug free the right to declare a ‘drug’ war against the children, relatives and descendants of the people who fought and worked to win World War Two?”
Below: “(Above) The first assault wave was to hit fairly evenly along Omaha Beach, and then work inland through four exits. Heavy seas, the current and the heat of battle thew the landing off-kilter. (Insets, below and opposite) Famed combat photographer Robert Capa stumbled ashore with the 16th Infantry at the Easy Red/Fox Green section of Omaha Beach. Under fire, he snapped four rolls of ‘history in the making.’ Just eleven shots survived- including these three. (Opposite) Beach obstacles at Fox Green today, perhaps the very ones Capa snapped sheltering American soldiers.”
I stopped to take a picture of mural and a few feet away, this caught my eye. Actual photographs mounted and hung behind plexiglass, like a piece from a museum, it hung on a temporary wall with the above question and captions. Most people probably did not notice this piece of history and think about what it is asking or the photographs of D Day.
With the number of children seeking refuge in the US, we need to think about the War on Drugs, what it means for our citizens, the for profit prison system and the effects it has on people outside of our borders. To turn away children that are fleeing for their lives, due to our failed policies, is inhumane. Also, continually jailing our fellow citizens, many who fought for their country, for non-violent offenses, must end now.
Sunset Triangle, taken May 21, 2014
Sunset and Lucile, taken March 25, 2014
The way people treat animals shows their true character. Kindness and compassion to animals is lacking in the modern food industry which utilizes factory farming. Free range, cage free, natural…look into what these conditions actually entail. It should be truly sickening to anyone that values other beings. Just because humans see themselves as superior and higher on the food chain doesn’t mean our perception is correct and should not be changed. Try going animal free. It isn’t as difficult as you think.
Love for all.