Graffiti and murals.

We left the Brewery and headed towards Chinatown.P1140031This cat seemed a little surprised to see a large group of people walking outside his window. I love looking at details, here it’s the dried old putty that holds the glass in the frame.P1140032This is the front of the building, industrial Art Deco. Notice the symbol of work/live art space.P1140034We walked into Big Yard Art Lab, also an artist space. Big Yard makes the big installations for events like Cochella or the old Lallapallooza. We never think about who or where things are made. Clearly Los Angeles is the place and these old industrial yards are perfect. This mural was painted by the duo Herakut. They have been creating murals all over the world, this has a very fantasy feel to it. Clearly these two have an art education. The mural is 5 years old and who knows how long it will stay here.P1140035I like how one figure is dancing on the wires.P1140036Another figure on the corner of the buildings, don’t know who painted this.P1140039We crossed the Los Angeles River, at this point Steve Grody was our guide.  He has written a book about graffiti in Los Angeles, for me it was a little overkill on all the details. But that is often the fun when walking with an expert.PicMonkey CollageInteresting city lights on the bridge. Facing different directions changes the exposure on my camera!  I’m not good enough to know how to compensate, and there is only so much I can correct later. I found this very interesting that this memorial is to an officer who was killed in 1942, the LAPD must replace these memorial signs from time to time.P1140043There was quite an explanation about this graffiti, about the lettering, the style. Either the owner of the building doesn’t care, or it is empty.  We went on to the Naud Graffiti yard, which today is fenced in and at one point had vicious guard dogs, the whole area is completely tagged. Clearly the owner had enough, sold the land and the new owners have other plans for the place. P1140048We are at the very northern edge of Chinatown and property is gaining in value again. We saw new businesses, since many of the buildings are massive warehouses, the owners are commissioning artists to paint. Actually, I don’t know if they are paying them or just giving them the walls. I know the likes of Kiptoe have been paid to paint murals, but then he himself went to Murphy’s ranch to add his own tagging.P1140046This has to be a very old street. While others are looking at the walls, I’m looking down at the ground, some of the original brick road is still visible.

P1140050As well as a beautiful old building on Broadway.P1140052This is just a small section of the mural, this is a mural, not graffiti, even if it celebrates graffiti.P1140053What happens when the muralist gets tagged?  Notice on the low wall someone tagged the image, at just the right angle it would have blended in with the larger image on the wall.  Art school students, who else could figure out these perspectives?P1140063 Having the people in for scale.P1140054This building is a huge warehouse made of cinderblocks. P1140058 Unlike this old building that is made of bricks. Probably a large warehouse in it’s day. The textures here are great, the brick, the plywood, the roofline, the weeds and yes, even the mural.P1140062This old bus gets the mural treatment as well.
P1140057Looking towards the Broadway bridge over the river, looks like they are working on retrofitting it, something they couldn’t do with the 6th St. bridge.  This is once again graffiti. I do like the surprise of the reflection in the puddle. Ah what rain does for us.P1140061This wall was the interior wall of some kind of building that was torn down.P1140059The old railroad ties and debris that are used to shore up the railroad. Yes, this one is very much in use today. Union Station is just down the road.P1140065Walking back to my car, a very different kind of mural – one that advertises the San Antonio winery 2 blocks down.

The side of the building was rather plain and I’m guessing the owners don’t mind some income from renting it out as a ‘sign’.P1140037The front is much lovelier, more industrial Art Deco.

And that’s it, all I can say is get out and explore, there is so much to see, even in the industrial parts of town.


The big clown in the Valley

One of the icons of North Hollywood is Circus liquor, or to be more exact, this:Circus LiquorThe 32 foot tall neon clown.

The liquor store has been at the corner of Burbank Blvd and Vineland Ave. for 50 years.P1090928The scary clown is both on the sides of the building as well as front and center in the parking lot.P1090921If it weren’t for the massive programatic ‘billboard’, this would simply be another corner liquor store.P1090900This being part of Los Angeles, you have to go big and outrageous.P1090926As in, double sided 32 foot neon clown – perfect to turn anyone into a coulropohbic – someone who has fear of clowns.  I need to drive by at night to get an image of him all lit up. This used to be a very sketchy neighborhood, but things are changing, nearby on a side street there are a number of small businesses, most of them related to the film industry. But I did notice Brite-Lite Neon Corp is right around the corner, a neon company that has been in business since the mid 1950s.  They have some pretty impressive clients now, they also have a picture of this clown, but no where can I find any information about who actually built this.P1090918Just for size comparison, notice the keg.P1090920The back side of the store, that faces an alley has a very interesting mural. I was a few months  late, any earlier I would have seen the artist  Kiptoe  painting this.  At least he has video showing him at work – fascinating.

Explore your neighborhoods!  Some people feel that have to travel far and wide to see interesting things, not so, so much is happening right in your own backyard. It may be very different from what is happening in mine, but is worth paying attention to.



DTLA off the beaten track

I finished my Downtown Renaissance tour and I was looking down 5th st, there was a lot of activity there, so I headed on east.

I recently heard someone say, the best camera is the one you have on you, I had my phone and the pictures are not bad.IMG_0017Two years ago the King Edward Hotel was bought, cleaned up and now is low income housing.  Low income in America is not like anywhere else in the world. Notice an air conditioner and a cable TV satellite.

As to the store ONSOMESHIT, interesting name, check the link, this is BMX clothing. You know skateboarders? I guess BMX is doing crazy stuff on bicycles. IMG_0018Oldest dive bar in the area King Eddy Saloon has new owners, but is still a dive. No I didn’t check it out inside.IMG_0019Engine 23 of course is no longer a fire station, it also appears to no longer be in use. I hope someone saves the building, meanwhile a cat.IMG_0023This is what Broadway looked like 10 years ago. Now there is a whole movement to bring back Broadway, so all of these kind of vendors have moved east, into what was skid row. IMG_0026Los Angeles street was the edge of Skid row, there were always businesses here,  mostly garment businesses.  One place I have to visit is B.Black and Sons, Best purveyor of wools and tailoring supplies around. It is just beyond this photo. Today many of the businesses are these kind, and the shoppers are here in drove.IMG_0032I don’t think this is still a viable business, I do love the sign.IMG_0028I don’t know when this mural was painted, although this area is still sketchy, Skid row has moved a little further east to San Julian St.  and San Pedro St. where the missions and other homeless services are located. Notice how advertising and businesses are now crowding out the mural.IMG_0027This looks like someone had to get everything in on one building, from Buddha, Wicked, Andre the Giant, Day of the Dead and even some Native American messages.IMG_0022City Hall peeking out behind this interesting mural.Two Japanese women mural, Los Angeles St. DTLAA closer look. I’m trying to find information about this but can’t find anything yet. This is clearly about the old and new generation of Japanese women. (the mural is not far from little Tokyo). I love the dialogue between the two.IMG_0029Then there are the murals that simply remind me of a quilt, I wonder if the artist is aware of the block, Trip around the world.IMG_0036One more cat, this green one just popped up in Pershing Square, don’t know if it’s just temporary.