A street-art duo consisting of New York transplant Calder Greenwood and an anonymous accomplice have been leaving little paper-mache presents all over downtown L.A.
They started with the now-famous sunbathers, a family of mannequins who pitched their umbrella and sunned their limbs on a dirt plot at First and Broadway, where a federal courthouse has been in the works for over five years. It apparently commented on government-created blight in our crumbling metropolis. (Fast fact from Greenwood's Facebook: The mother was reading “a book of California wines.” Perfection!) Then there was…
… the family of deer, grazing on a neglected patch of Bunker Hill above the subway station; and the silhouette of a tree, propped onto a sad little stump on the sidewalk where a real one had been chopped down.
Every time another project goes up, an L.A. resident named Steven Zeigler says he gets a text message from the artist who is not Greenwood (he calls himself “Wild Life”). Then Zeigler rushes to the scene, takes amazing photos and sends them to the Weekly. To the Los Angeles Times, too, apparently, because the Times' news blog has picked up every single one of his alerts.
(So, yeah. Tip for street artists. If you want insta-coverage of your work, come up with a semi-political theme, act kind of dodgy/ominous about where your next piece will show up — earning you the title “guerrilla” — and have an anonymous-tipster type send big gorgeous exclusive snapshots to hungry news-blogger inboxes. L.A. media is drooling for it.)
That said, we've taken the bait too (!) and fallen in love with Wild Life's latest installment: a surfer stranded in the middle of the Los Angeles River, surrounded by urban runoff and drifts of garbage.
As the joke goes, the L.A. River is less of a river and more a big nasty drainage pipe. It's taken politicians a couple decades to get around to fixing it up — but in recent years, credit is certainly due to to various groups who often hold cleanups and canoe tours in an attempt to revitalize the waterway.
The artists also set up another surfer on the sunbathers' old dirt plot (see above), but Zeigler says that one was confiscated by two street-art responders with an SUV almost immediately.
He noted that “a fallen sign” has been sitting on the same dirt plot “like a pile of trash for god knows how long.”
Awesome surfing mannequins clearly take higher priority.
For some behind-the-scenes action, scope out blight surfer in his cardboard-skeleton phase on Greenwood's Facebook wall. And because he's probably reading this, anybody got any requests for installment No. 4?