LA Street Artists
You've Seen 'em Around Town...
Becca Midwood embraces the sometimes lost connection between children drawing on walls and urban artists doing the same. Signed in lower case—becca—her wheat-poster/chalk creations seem the work of a street-art child prodigy.
Responsible for the Venice (Beach Mural) Renaissance, his “Touch of Venice” is an unflinching homage to the neighborhood’s history. Look for his neighborhood-specific murals on a plethora of Floyd’s barbershops.
3. Shepard Fairey
Shepard belongs on this list as much for raising the profile of street art as for his gallery, Subliminal Projects. The clothes there are a bit much, but like he said on The Simpsons: “I’m not about sucking up to posers anymore. I just sell them stuff now.”
There is not a single wheat poster or bumper sticker that this right-wing urban artist has posted that I—even when trying to find parking near a park on a weekend—agree with. But with 99% of all street artists being left of Marx, it’s refreshing that there is at least some percentage of a dissenting voice.
5. Skid Robot
A painted tree grows in Skid Row. This anonymous artist injects a bit of life and dignity into the dinginess by painting thrones around homeless peoples’ deck chairs, Christmas trees during the holiday season, or a Yosemite National Parkesque vista behind a beat-up tent.
6. El Mac
El Mac is the artist of the photorealistic heads often found within a halo of Retna’s work. Their nationalities never quite known, the faces may be the face of Los Angeles.
7. Plastic Jesus
The urban artist known for his Oscar season stunts—like this year’s installation of a glamorous bathroom sink with an Oscar, champagne and two Academy Award tickets tucked in the mirror beside a rusty sink. Above each of the two counters are the signs, respectively, “White” and “Colored.” Barring these, he’d make the list for coining what should be LA’s slogan: “Stop Making Stupid People Famous.”
8. Buff Monster
The pink mohawked Buff Monster left our city years ago, but his cotton candy mammary-headed scrubbers on electrical boxes throughout the city were my first exposures to LA street art. And you never forget your first.
9. Robbie Conal
What Fairey did for Obama, Conal didn’t do for Reagan, Jesse Helms and George W. (“Read my Apocalips”) Bush. His oil portrait caricatures—rendering his subjects as ugly on the outside as they are on the inside—have been (dis)gracing walls for over 24 years. Look for his most recent work: Trump with “Bully Culprit.”
Not Banksy unknown, but those artists who paint, wheat-poster, or chalk a street for love of the illegal game. If street art was borne from tagging—whose motive was to get your name out there—there remains something wholly refreshing about the artists who do it not because they want gallery shows, or Instagram likes, or followers, but just because they want to make the concrete jungle blossom with a spray-painted flower.