Los Angeles Skyscraper Development Covered in Graffiti and Changes the Landscape
It seems insane we are still having this conversation, over 50 years since graffiti art as we know it now began showing up on city streets across America and then the rest of the world. But there is always a tough conversation that civic leaders and residents have about graffiti. But this one instance seems to have created a tipping point. And many people like it.
Recently, the Oceanwide Plaza development in downtown LA was covered, floor to floor, by a bold collective graffiti artist takeover. What we can see is that because of another univerally unwanted residential eyesore skyscraper taking over our cities, two huge towers have taken up space in the city, unused, since 2019, artists are taking the space and making it their own. It's quite a stunning feat, not unlike what we saw in Miami at the end of 2023, but graffiti artists (and artists in general who will start to make use of these empty urban centers) have found a new outlet and collective energy to remind city leaders that these empty, corporate-driven, residential towers that get developed with little care for the city or its residents, are going to start becoming the canvas of these major interventions. And we are here for it.
LA Times columnist Gustavo Arellano wrote this weekend, "I’m no fan of graffiti, but I couldn’t help but admire what the taggers had accomplished. Before us was a monument to the Los Angeles of the moment, highlighting so many issues, consciously or not. Rampant overdevelopment downtown. Civic corruption. Out-of-control graffiti." I don't agree with the latter sentiment, but I do understand perhaps a lack of overall knowledge of the aesthetic, the artists behind these tags and the overall beauty of rebelling against the system. "Out of control graffiti" is always the lazy take, but there is sort of a charm in graffiti still being seen as taboo. But the writer does nail the former in his talk about what is wrong with these developments.. And graffiti artists are the ones who are highlighting these citywide issues. They are taking the streets, and the city's voice, back. —Evan Pricco
The photo thumbnail is from NY Times.