by SERGIO GARCIA
This mural has been in my neighborhood for many years. So many in fact, that I don’t remember the mural ever not being there. And to me, it’s become a perennial aspect of my surroundings. Unfortunately, I have no concrete evidence as to who the artist might be. Based on street artists I’m familiar with, my best guess is Mr. Brainwash. After thorough inspection of his official Instagram page, he has a few pieces that bear striking similarities to the mural in question. Despite having reached out to his people, as of the writing of this article, I have not received a response. If I do get an answer, this post will definitely be updated. In an effort to get to the bottom of this matter I even went into the liquor store to see if they knew who had put up the mural. This proved to be fruitless. However, in a way, not knowing who the artist is adds a bit of intrigue to this piece.
This mural depicts various pop culture icons sporting aviator sunglasses. Starting on the left, Marilyn Monroe is easily identifiable. Her signature hair gives her away and she’s the only one placed against a black backdrop. Next to her, and the only one not wearing aviator sunglasses, is Ray Charles. Instead, Charles is wearing his usual glasses and throwing up the peace sign while flashing his iconic grin. In the middle, Lou Reed gives us an apathetic look while Bob Marley, to his right, looks off into the distance. This next person was a bit difficult for me to distinguish. The first celebrity that came to mind was W.C. Fields, and a quick Google search confirmed this even though I couldn't find any instances of W.C. Fields in a pinstripe suit. For a moment, I thought it could have also been Winston Churchill, but he wouldn't make sense beside these other celebrities. Therefore, W.C. Fields seems to be the most likely candidate. Lastly, on the far right, Alfred Hitchcock strikes his classic pose with an uninterested look plastered on his face while holding his director clapboard.
The inclusion of such disparate pop culture icons and the way that they overlap and run into one another is captivating and amusing. Here, musicians, directors, actors, and comedians all occupy the same space. The use of stencils to create this piece is one of my favorite aspects and the lack of color (except black and the beige color of the wall) make this piece incredibly simple and the faces easy to discern. Despite the fact that each individual is their own person and known for their own accomplishments, they still share this space with others who have made great contributions to pop culture. And like me, I'm sure that everyone who comes across this mural can identify their favorite mogul.
Where can I find it?
This mural is located in Mid-City. On the corner of Meadowbrook Avenue and Pico Boulevard If you enter the parking lot to Pincher’s Liquor, you can’t miss it. Also nearby is Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles.
Tommy Jarrell is a poet, writer, and artist who lives in Los Angeles. He has previously written for Bleacher Report and Throwback. His poems have appeared in The Squaw Valley Review and 805.