The Magnet Wall. The Organic Wall. Street Art is drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Even if a city officially prohibits any form of uncommissioned Street Art, it probably has a few spots where artists can reliably put their wheat-pastes, stencils, stickers, even sculptures – a community nerve center that quickly gives an overview of the players in the local scene. Usually the art is covered instantly by more art and if it lasts a few days intact it has had a good run. Since Street Art is an ephemeral scene, the artists know this and they are not particularly bothered by the rapid turnover, knowing that their piece will be seen by their peers and the public at large.
Leba’s cartoon illustration influenced work on this wall echos directly some sentiments of the Occupy Wall Street movement. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
We always think of the streets as an outdoor gallery, and recently in Los Angeles we checked out this magnet wall in the Arts District where it could not have been a more apt description. Hanging out for a little while on this block, we saw a group of four teens taking a casual walk on a sunny day pivoting to the wall to check out the new additions, to point, comment, joke, and pose with each other in front of their favorites – making faces and giving each other the rabbit ears in photos. Minutes later a European tourist family, urban hikers with cameras and fannypacks, carefully scanned the patterns, textures and layers, taking photos and discussing their discoveries. Even a bulky fella crossing the street to get into a van emblazoned with a plumbing company logo – paused for a second to snap a cellphone pic before rumbling down the street.
This LA wall is a bit of a community billboard; an outlet and a showcase, where Street Artists try out new stuff and sometimes express personal or political sentiments. It’s never the same, and usually interesting.