Bringing Public Art Back: Askew One's New Mural for Los Angeles & Sister Cities Program

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April 30, 2012
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Bringing Public Art Back: Askew One's New Mural for Los Angeles & Sister Cities Program

On April 21st, a new mural was unveiled at "LA Freewalls Inside" at LALA Gallery. Why is this noteworthy? Unbeknownst to me and likely to the majority of the population, in 2002 Los Angeles prohibited the creation of mural work (on public or private buildings). The Los Angeles Freewalls project hopes to change that.

design, la, mural

In the video below, Daniel Lahoda of the LALA Gallery in Los Angeles describes the Los Angeles Freewalls project and the current state of public art in the city. As he talks about the recent history of public art in LA, we get to see shots of impressive and inspirational existing and in-progress mural art. Both iconic and "unknown" creations get face time, and we see how art and design can breathe life into to what could be dull and complacent facades, structures and planes.

Their ultimate goal? It's not to plaster the city with graffiti and "art" for the sake of it but to foster creative expression, beautify and add uniqueness to a richly colorful city, and "to create a positive, cultural influence here in downtown Los Angeles and to do it in a responsible way"

On the 21st, The Sister Cities of Los Angeles honored multi-disciplinary artist Askew One with an official city proclamation, which will be part of the unveiling for Askew’s mural created under the LA Freewalls Project and coincide with the inaugural exhibition for contemporary art space LALA Gallery.

design, la, mural

World renowned public artist and graffiti writer Askew One (Elliot O’Donnell) hails from Auckland, New Zealand. According to LALA Gallery, "The proclamation by the City of Los Angeles will officially name O’Donnell as a Cultural Stewardship Ambassador to the historic Sister Cities program. LA City Planner, Tanner Blackman, who spearheaded the efforts to ultimately reinstate a mural ordinance for LA, will present the proclamation to O’Donnell. Blackman and LA Freewalls founder Daniel Lahoda have been the chief proponents of creating responsible legislation that recognizes both the value and history of public art in Los Angeles."

"Los Angeles has one the nation’s largest historic catalogs of mural art, with over a thousand murals citywide. Kamilla Blanche, Senior Deputy for Arts and Culture Director for Sister Cities, is excited about the possibilities to expand Los Angeles’ place as the national epicenter of public art now that the mural moratorium will be lifted." See previews of artist murals below:

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How & Nosm

design, la, mural
Anthony Lister

design, la, mural
ZES

design, la, mural
Insa

design, la, mural
Shepard Fairey

It's amazing that a city that was so prolific in public arts and embraced that reputation could turn actively seek to dismantle such a mindset. The opening of LALA Gallery is a step in the right direction, and the gallery is intended to serve as a hub and catalyst for the "Los Angeles street art movement by bringing world-class murals and art to the downtown Los Angeles environ, and thus contributing viscerally to the perception of the community from down-and-out to up-and-coming." LALA Gallery will provide a space for established and new street artists to show their studio work and connect with their street-art audience.

Some other hand-picked posts you might enjoy on our Design Blog:

Modern and Minimal and Street Art?
Bliss N Eso Graffiti Stop Motion Music Video
Miniature Street Buildings by Evol

Ward Andrews

Ward Andrews

Hi, I'm Ward Andrews. I started Design.org in 2009, you can read about why here. Thanks for participating in the Design.org Community. I also run an interactive agency called Drawbackwards. I love basketball, electronic music and creating experiences that improve daily life. You can follow me on Twitter @wardandrews.

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