After a few months of technical difficulties (read: Blog Block), I’m happy to post my inaugural entry to CultureShock. The choice of content for this first post was quite vexing. There are so many ideas and concepts I want to express on this site, so I thought I’d reserve my first foray into the blogosphere by musing about something I know very well.
I’m in traffic a lot, and my commute frequently takes me through the L.A. neighborhood of Echo Park. Echo Park is a lot like Lake Merrit in Oakland. To those who live there, it’s a beautiful place with a manmade lake as its crowned jewel. To those who don’t know the area, Echo Park is a gentrified hood, but to me it possesses a treasure trove of artistic Easter Eggs. Every once and a while you’ll catch a glimpse of something very special beyond the standard tagging , graffiti, murals, billboards and temporary movie ads plastered to walls.
On Glendale Bl, near the lake I once spotted a screen printed picture of Angela Davis by Shepard Fairey, the controversial grafitti artist behind the Andre the Giant “Obey” Posters and the Obama “Hope” posters in 2008. Passing the screen print plastered on a weathered concrete staircase, her presence“ gave me the strong mental fortitude to attack my anything but militant corporate existence. This is an identical copy of the print in Boston (the one I saw in Echo Park was unceremoniously tagged before I could take a picture of it.)
One piece of graffiti that has stood the test of time is a single spray painted red balloon hovering high above the street on a historic footbridge. No one touches that balloon, and looking up at it I’m transported to fond childhood memories of the iconic French film The Red Balloon. That’s why I refer to them as Easter Eggs, they are these little cultural gems that bring a smile to my face.
For a year now, someone has blessed me with putting a smile on my face on a daily basis with these large painted bears that are randomly plastered across a number of buildings along Glendale Bl.
Determined to find out who is responsible for these bears, I went on a cyber quest to track down the artist responsible for these beacons of civility in the concrete jungle. My quest led me to an unassuming gallery in Echo Park and a popular mural in Downtown Los Angeles…In my next post I’ll formally introduce you to the artist behind some awesome bears.