West Hollywood just got some serious street cred.
Last night, three gigantic, color-popping murals were unveiled at a chic party in... a parking lot? Street art kings Shepard Fairey, Retna (a.k.a. Marquis Lewis) and Kenny Scharf were commissioned (in partnership with Cadillac, Vanity Fair and MOCA), to each paint a mural on the outside of the brand new West Hollywood Library. And last night, those same sponsors invited guests to view the murals in all their grandeur at an unveiling and outdoor parking lot party complete with food trucks, picnic tables and of course, charming strung lights. The artists themselves were in attendance, as was MOCA's director Jeffrey Deitch. The project is being called “The West Hollywood Library Murals” and is part of MOCA's massively successful Art In The Streets. The exhibit, curated by Deitch, was in Los Angeles until August and chronicled the tradition of street art from the 1970s until now.
Shepard Fairey rose to international artistry fame in 2009 when he produced the iconic "Hope" poster for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. While studying at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Fairey began sticker, stencil and poster art of Andre the Giant that quickly became a street art movement. Before Obama's "Hope" image, he was widely known for the "Obey Giant” face icon.
RETNA, whose name is Marquis Lewis, began with graffiti at a very young age and by the time he was a teenager, he was already part of the graffiti crew LTS (Last to Serve). He is known for breaking down graffiti conventions and especially for incorporating a myriad of mixed media elements, drips and new takes on calligraphy in his work. He has an affinity for old texts, particularly Mayan, Egyptian, Hebrew, Chinese, and Japanese, as well as some of LA's cholo writing -- and that affinity is especially reflected in his West Hollywood Library mural.
Kenny Scharf comes out of the New York street art scene and his work is easily recognized for distorted and often colorful cartoon like characters or lava-like images. He studied at The School of Visual Arts in New York in the 1970s and began with a bang with a solo show at the renowned FUN Gallery in New York. His work is often sprawled across very large spaces and has lent itself to being used for pop music covers, nightclub interiors and even toys.
For a look at the murals themselves, the guests in attendance and the especially radical outfits from last night's fete, click below.