I might need to rename this blog the ‘Chalk Art Blog’ soon. It’s no wonder this video went viral, because Chris Carlson is not only an epic artist but he could easily double as an architect given the meticulous way he diagrams Super Mario before he starts to draw. Watching his process is mesmerizing. I’m thinking Nintendo should hire his artistic services for their next promotional event. This is some serious entertainment!
Can we talk about cultural movements for a hot sec?
A cultural movement is by definition: A change in the way a number of different disciplines approach their work.
Something happened tonight during DTLA art walk that struck a major nerve in me inspiring this long overdue blog post. Over the course of this past month there have been over 10 arrests made on account of people writing on the street with chalk. Last time I checked chalk was made for 1 of 2 things: writing on chalk boards and hopscotch. And, um, I don’t know, the occasional Guinness World Record breaking street art. Street art in the most literal sense.
But tonight, the LAPD sent a message to a few in a peaceful, and somewhat silly protest called the Chalk Walk. Their message was sent in the form of rubber bullets and more arrests. To say I’m confused as to what alternate universe we just stepped into with this scenario is an understatement. I recognize that laws are put in place to protect people from themselves and sometimes from each other, but it is really hard for me to see how people writing on the sidewalk with a water soluble substance could turn ugly? Unless, of course, these protesters somehow learned how to shave their chalk sticks down to shanks.
Yes, some people wrote stupid sh*t like ‘F*ck LAPD’ and other such nonsense, but were rubber bullets really the way to diffuse the situation? It is still questionable whether there was a situation to diffuse in the first place. Now I do not believe in vandalism for the sake of defacing public property, but I do believe that painting or writing with creative intent to relay a message is a perfectly acceptable form of communication. I also believe that paint is paint no matter what form it takes. Back to cultural movements. Can we talk about cave drawings too? Arguably, since the dawn of time, humans have used their outdoor surroundings to communicate messages. In the past they used charcoal, flowers, plants and other pigments to literally write on their walls to express themselves. Today, these modern day messages take the form or advertising, graffiti and various forms of propaganda, political or otherwise.
For me there is no cultural movement that has affected me on a deeper level more than graffiti and street art have. Ironically, tonight’s protest was due in part to the news that today noted artist, John Baldessari resigned from the MOCA’s board of advisors after a 12 year tenure. In an interview with the LA Times, he stated:
“To live with my conscience, I just had to do it.” Baldessari’s said in an interview Thursday after emailing his decision to MOCA. He said his reasons include the recent ouster of respected chief curator Paul Schimmel and news this week that the pop-cultural slant the museum has taken under director Jeffrey Deitch will continue with an exhibition on disco music’s influence on art and culture.
“When I heard about that disco show I had to read it twice. At first I thought ‘this is a joke’ but I realized, no, this is serious. That just reaffirmed my decision,”
In my circle of friends, the momentous work that Jeffrey Deitch has done in a relatively short period of time is something to be admired and respected. There is no doubt that he has ruffled a few feathers, Baldessari among them, but with that he has also brought a much needed breathe of fresh aerosol-laced air into the LA art scene.
I can draw correlations all day long between the old masters and the new, and I have a profound respect for both. In my view, the work of artists like REVOK, SABER and RETNA, is no less important than that of Monet and Renoir who also painted en plein air. Some would be more than happy to argue that with me, but what I know to be undeniably true is that both art forms are fundamentally characteristic of cultural movements. Both capable of stirring up emotions in people, and generating a broader awareness and appreciation of the arts in its many forms. And more than that, inciting progress and change through unique forms of communication.
After all, better to brandish a can of spray paint or street chalk to send a message than a shotgun. Amirite?
Just another example of how art impacts your everyday experience whether you are cognisant of it or not. Artists make positive changes in our lives by making the world a more interesting, beautiful place. Hug or hi-five an artist today!
Last night I went to a good ol’ fashioned house party.
This party had all the elements needed to burn a memory into your skull whether the memory was good or bad: strippers, drunk santa, 7-layer chocolate cake, scantily clad bartenders and Chicago deep dish pizza FedEx’s in from, you got it, Chicago. At this party I ran into the lovely Angelica Oriol and her partner Eriberto. I hadn’t seen the pair in quite some time – to be exact it had been two years – and at that time we discussed a project her and Eriberto were working on. This project involved putting together a collection of Eriberto’s photographs to be displayed on a website, a labor of love and a dream they saw come to fruition this past September. I love it when that happens!
The website is called ‘Forbidden Art’ and if you’re not familiar with Eriberto Oriol’s work, you need to check out the new website for a history lesson in LA graffiti from one of the greatest OG street art photographers that ever was. Forbidden Art LA features some of the walls thrown up by some of LA’s iconic graff writers, some of which were removed almost as soon as they were completed. Much love & respect to Eriberto & Angelica for their commitment to the arts here in Los Angeles and for their contribution to the street art movement.
Once again, taking the old-school and making it new again, one of our very favorite designers, Dr. Romanelli creates this new collection of custom back packs for UNITE! Student or not, this is a back pack anyone would want to carry around. These reconstructed designer satchels are made up of multiple textiles, including reused Japanese denim from 1910, 1960s jean jackets, military tent canvas from the 1970s and flannels from 1980. Definitely something for everyone. Check out the entire collection here.