Here in LA, need, hope, heartbreak, defiance, and exuberance have all been captured on the walls of overpasses and grocery stores, playgrounds and abandoned lots. Taking form in color and line, LA’s murals piece together a story about a city thirsty for equity and visibility. Everyone here wants to be noticed, in Hollywood and on the street.
The murals here detail the dynamic history of a young city. Like all young things, LA is eager and tempestuous, too willing to move too fast. Some of these beautiful murals faded before they had a chance to reach their prime. Even in their youth, conservation efforts are already underway to keep the crumbling murals from crumbling further. No one wants memories to fade, good or bad.
I admire the bravery of these artists, their willingness to expose their messages to the elements, knowing a public cry for conservation will eventually follow, hopefully not in their lifetimes. I didn’t notice these murals during my last visit in 2008, but I’m exploring the city on foot more and we’ve been venturing about the downtown area instead of fleeing to the suburbs in a car, as so many do here. Mural hunting by foot, subway or car is a cheap and a less-beaten path way to enjoy LA. There are as many murals as there are burger and donut joints. All worth savoring.
My favorite mural so far are these chickens, found along Beverly Place. They’re so cheery and one of the few that are not pitching a sale or depicting social upheaval. I wish I knew the artist’s name, for these chickens appear in a few places around downtown. Some are just squawking or looking up to the sun. Some are playing ball or riding a bike. I wasn’t able to get my camera out in time for that one. Here, I love how the chickens move into the scene of the next mural. You won’t find that in an art museum with its controlled light and hushed sounds. Picasso’s figures would never share a frame with Matisse’s.
The escalator ride into Union Station offered fantastic views, too.
And finally, here on North Fairfax Avenue, digesting my dinner of Texas caviar while watching the moon stare back at me from behind a palm tree.